Okay, seriously … do you REALLY want a dog?
This may sounds like a stupid question, but it’s still worth asking. If you’ve ever decided to create a search for the word ‘dog’ on twitter, you’ll see a tons of people, ranging from teenagers to lonely bachelors and bored housewives declare to the world “I want a dog!!!”
Sure, the thought of rescuing a bright eyed, long tailed, innocent looking pooch can melt even Medusa’s heart…assuming she was real and even had one. And who couldn’t benefit from the constant adoration and companionship of the only animal worthy enough to be titled Man’s Best Friend?
But there’s a completely different side to dog ownership that most people forget to consider before they bring home the new member of the family. So, before you take the plunge into dog ownership, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I really want to come home to stains in the carpet after a long day at work?
- Am I ready to lay chicken wire by my fence so that my dog can’t dig under it to escape?
- Am I ready to entrust my backyard to a creature who loves to dig and chew?
- Do I want to spend a few moments every day picking up pieces of trash that’s torn and scattered all over the house?
- Am I ready to put my stuff away or at least keep it out of reach so that the dog can’t chew on it or otherwise destroy it?
- Do I want a dog that jumps up on me the moment I walk through the door?
- Do I want to get up in the middle of the night to let the dog outside if he needs to pee?
- Do I want to hear the sound of loud barking in conjunction with the doorbell?
- Am I ready for my couch, recliner and even my bed to become giant chew toys?
- Do I sincerely want to dragged around the neighborhood like a bad guy in an old western whenever my dog is ready to go for a walk?
If you have answered NO to any of these questions, then you are in good company. But the fact remains that people continually purchase or adopt dogs and run into these exact same issues. In fact, this is why so many dogs are re-homed or surrendered to the animal shelter.
So, before you adopt a dog and force him into the same terrible fate that many family dogs end up facing, you need to be able to plan for it’s arrival and it’s future.
It’s imperative that you ask yourself if you have the time and money to:
- train the dog.
- prepare for the dog. This means dog-proofing your house and yards so the new dog can do as little damage as possible.
- exercise the dog properly (a tired dog is a happy dog) and
- put the dog on a GOOD diet. And by good diet, I don’t mean the cheapest 50 lb bag at the grocery store. What your dog eats is just as important as how he is trained, because both have a profound effect on his health, attitude and overall well being.
If you realize that you don’t have the time and money for the factors mentioned above, then this is not the right time for you to have a dog. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have one in the near future, nor does it mean that you shouldn’t consider a lower maintenance pet, like a cat, lizard or goldfish.
It’s easy to give into the impulse of rescuing a dog, but if you don’t have the resources for it, then don’t. You’ll quickly go from “YAY! I got a new puppy!” to “How the hell can I get rid of this dog?!”
Trust me, I see it all the time. And if you can’t afford to hire a dog trainer (aka: ME) to fix your dog’s issue, then you can’t afford to have a dog either.