So, You Are Thinking Of Getting A Dog....
Owning a dog is a life-long commitment. Most dogs can live to about 10 or more years so you will have to be able to provide the following for that amount of time:
Dogs are social animals and really need for you to spend lots of time with them. Dogs also need to be trained, walked and played with. They need to be taken to the vet for check ups and if there is something wrong with them, they have to be nursed back to health. They need to be fed. They need you to clean up after them when they poop or pee. Dogs need you to bathe them and groom them. Grooming includes, brushing, clipping fur, clipping nails, cleaning ears and eyes. For breeds that shed, you will have to keep sweeping or vacuuming. Dogs and specially puppies may need to be taken to training or obedience classes. Puppies need to be socialized as well so that they are used to other people, kids and other doggies. You will also need to spend some time doing research in order to be able to make a good decision regarding what breed of dog will best suit your lifestyle and personality.
Dogs cost money. They need it for food, health care, dental care, grooming, training, petsitting, parasite prevention, etc. And of course, unless someone gives you a dog for free, you will have to pay for the dog itself. Here is a list of stuff my Mommie had to pay for when she adopted me:
- Dog food
- Dog treats and biscuits
- Vet visit
- Heartworm test
- Medication for fleas and heartworm
- Dental cleaning
- Dog toys
- Dog bed
- Dog house
- Id tag
- City license
- Water and food bowls
- Professional grooming
- Ear cleaner
- Tear stain remover
- Nail clipper
- Stuff to pick up my poop
- Training pee pads
- Cleaning supplies
- Pet sitter
- Pet Boarding
- Baby gates
- Lint Remover
Other dogs may also need training classes, obedience classes, anti-barking devices, dog doors, clothes, shoes, carry bags, pet insurance, neutering/spaying, play pens, deworming, etc. And visits to the vet can become really expensive specially if your dog is sick or injured. Plus, as Mom has discovered, she is somehow compelled to keep buying stuff for me whenever she is at the store so that she has something to give me when she gets home. Haha!
Some dogs are fine living in an apartment. Others need to have a backyard where they can exercise. Dogs need either a park or yard to poop or pee in unless you don’t mind him doing so inside your home. If that is not the case, be ready to take the dog out for walks to relieve himself. The yard should be fenced in to make sure the dog cannot get out and that nobody can come in to hurt the dog or dognap it. If your dog is a barker, be prepared to figure out a way to keep your neighbors from complaining or, in extreme cases, harming your dog.
You should be willing to let the dog invade your space. This will mean you will not have total control of your home and stuff. Dogs may mess up your home, scratch or chew on your house, furniture and other belongings, poop and pee on things. Be prepared to find dog fur on all your belongings. Even your food. Specially if your dog sheds like me. Also, dogs do not think the same way humans do. And dogs cannot talk to you to tell you what they are thinking or what they want. You will need to have a lot of patience to deal with dogs. Sometimes it will be hard especially since you are unable to explain your actions to a dog or to explain to them why you want them to do certain things. You will need to have patience to train a dog. Dogs learn through repetition and consistency. You will need to have patience in order to deal with any behavioral problems that the dog may have. You will also need to be flexible. Dogs may not follow your schedule so be prepared to get around that. You will also need to be the type of person who will not give up at the first sign of trouble. It is also a good idea not to be too much of a worrier otherwise all you will do is worry. You will worry if your dog is alone, if he is sick, if he is not eating, if he is scratching, etc.
Dogs need to have companionship. It will be very difficult if you travel a lot or have to leave the dog on its own for long periods of time. This may lead to behavioral issues that you will have to deal with later on. Also you will have to make arrangements for someone to take care of the dog while you are gone. Petsitting and pet boarding expenses can really add up! You will also need to think about the future. Since this is a really long relationship, you will need to take some stuff into consideration like taking care of babies or elderly family members, marriage, divorce, job uncertainties, etc.
Owning a dog not just affects you but everyone else in your household. The people who live with you should be willing to accommodate a dog. Hopefully they will be willing to help out specially if you are sick or away. A dog learns by consistency and repetition so if others in the household will not follow the rules, the dog will not be able to learn what you are teaching him.
Making sure you have all these and being prepared, will make owning a dog much easier and more enjoyable. Some dogs may require more care than others but it is important to be aware of what owning a dog entails and be willing to deal with it prior to getting one. A lot of dogs are abandoned or given up because the owner was not prepared for taking care of it or was blinded by the dog’s cuteness to think things through. Dogs that were not trained or socialized properly could develop problems like excessive barking or biting.
In my case, Mommie was able to provide everything right off the bat. Well, except for some personality stuff. She did have to work on her patience and the need to keep her house clean and having her schedule met at first but she has since adjusted quite nicely. She believes I am worth it to make those changes. She still needs to work on her worrying though, but that just shows she really cares.