Deciding to buy or adopt a pet brings with it certain responsibilities, not unlike having a child. You should choose a pet that will match the amount of attention and time you have available to give it. Luckily, different pets have different needs and you have a wide choice.
Dogs are very sociable animals and need to live in a pack. Leaving a dog on its own for long periods of time will result in behavioral problems such as destructive behavior, howling/whining, dominant behavior or excessive urination.
Many dogs are returned to dog pounds or kicked out of the house because they have chewed shoes, carpets, doors; or they have started to bark excessively or whine; or perhaps they urinate indoors even though they are housebroken. All these problems can usually be solved by a change in the owner’s behavior.
Take time to exercise and groom your dog. Engage with him at feeding time. This will reinforce your position as pack leader and he will grow to respect you.
Although cats do not need to be exercised like dogs, they still need your love and attention. Cats like to be stroked each day and will love to hear the sound of your voice as you potter around with them by your side. They like to sit at your feet or in your lap while you read or watch TV.
Grooming is very important is long-haired cats. Many cats end up with skin infections or painful matting because the owner failed to take into account the grooming time needed.
Birds too need different degrees of attention. Some birds, like canaries, want very little attention, but other breeds such as parrots need a lot if interaction to be happy. Some breeds of parrots will mimic your voice and words. They will listen intently when you speak close to them and will come to you if you reward them with treats such as nuts or seeds.
While not known as affectionate creatures, if you plan on keeping reptiles it is a good idea to get them used to human handling during feeding and cleaning time. The only way to familiarize them with the human touch is to do so often. You will also find that handling your pet will be more enriching as an experience, always within the limits of safety.