I get asked all the time why I don’t want a puppy. It’s not that I don’t necessarily want a puppy it’s that most everyone wants a puppy. Unfortunately, there are many people who go out and get a puppy and it’s their whole life. They take a million photos of it but then the novelty wears off and the puppy turns into a dog, and the animal that was once their whole life is now cast to the side and become an inconvenience. <p>
Dogs are a commitment. I have always wanted a Corgi…BUT I am well aware of the breeds needs and know that I cannot provide that for them how they fully need it. I do not want or need a high energy dog. I get very sad when people take on high energy dogs and don’t exercise them, only to get mad that the dog got bored and destroyed things. That is not the dog’s fault that is the owners fault. It’s even worse when you have a breed that is high energy and intelligent like a Border Collie or a German Shepard…these are animals that need physical and mental exercise DAILY. If you are not willing to do that, do not get a dog.
Mickey being a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does not require a ton of exercise, but he sincerely enjoys walks and so he gets one 6-7 time a week. We walk at least a mile and usually more like 3 to help get his weight down. The only time we don’t walk is if he is having a bad health day due to a Syringomyelia flare up, though even on those days he likes to get out for a short walk. He doesn’t mind when it’s raining and we bought him the cutest little rain coat so we even trek out in the rain. Granted we try and find the driest time or if there is a thunderstorm that’s different, but we try every day to do it. Do I want to take him for a walk most days? No. I’ve already usually been to the gym and had a workout but again, as a responsible dog owner I do it. If you own a dog you should too. A side benefit is that my husband comes with me and so we get an hour to ourselves each day to just talk (with no electronics to distract) and relax while getting a little extra exercise.
Dogs also benefit from training and not just the sit and lay down kind. We play a hand target game with Mickey every day for just a few minutes, but he enjoys it. If you have a breed that is highly intelligent you will need to take training classes with them as well as find time each day to reinforce what they learned at those classes. So many times people take an 8-week class and figure their dog is good to go. Remember all the chemistry you took in high school? Spanish class? How much of that do you remember? If you don’t practice it every day it’s probably long gone from your head…same goes for your dog and his training.
So when you come home and your dog has dragged the trash out everywhere, eaten your couch, eaten your headphones, etc… do not call your dog a bad dog. Go find a mirror and say, bad owner. He/She wasn’t bad they were bored. You would be too.
Sadly the other reason that owners give up their dogs is because of age. As dogs age often their vet bills increase and people don’t want to pay the cost to keep the dog healthy. Often people bring in a dog to be put down because the dog is starting to have accidents in the house. Vets, of course, do not put down dogs for this so then the owner usually just dumps them at the shelter. More often than not the dog has a medical condition causing the accidents and can be fixed. Dogs can get UTI’s and things like that just like humans. Please understand that a dog is a LIFETIME commitment, not an until it’s not convenient for me commitment.
So when getting a dog ask yourself:
Do you know about the breed you are getting? What is the breed personality and needs and does that honestly work for the lifestyle you live?
Can you take care of this animal for 15-18 years of your life?
Are you getting this animal because you want kids but aren’t having them just yet? This is a big one as many pets are surrendered because people have kids and decide they don’t have time for the dog anymore. If you don’t have young kids anymore, but you have older kids who might have grandkids soon (that will be coming around a lot) you may want to ask are you getting a breed that is good for being around little kids?
Can you afford the pet? Not just the cost to buy or adopt the pet but to feed them high-quality food, routine, and emergency vet visits, and any medication or supplements they need. Now not all cost are foreseeable. My cocker spaniel went to the vet 14 years of her life for teeth cleaning and shots, that was it. I used to think how lucky. Then her last year she developed allergies…really bad ones, MRSA (yep, MRSA), and finally cancer. I never in my life imagined spending how much I spent on her in the last year of her life (well into the 5 digit mark). Sadly we have quite a bit of debt from that but we don’t regret a single penny spent. Not all dogs, of course, are going to cost that. Some go their whole lives without needing many veterinary visits. It’s best just to be prepared, which is why more and more people are getting pet health insurance.
Will you be able to spend quality time together? Of course people work but if you are only going to spend 30 minutes a day with the dog you might want to rethink.
Is your place suitable for a dog? If you live in an apartment then something like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is good as where say a Bullmastiff might not be the way to go.
Are ALL the people in the household on board with you having a dog? This is one that often gets looked over. Since all members of your family will end up having to help with the dog at some point you want to make sure that having the dog works for everyone. If it doesn’t then it will cause issues, trust me.
So I don’t get a puppy because I know I will eventually end up with someone else’s puppy. Just some food for thought before you run out and get a dog. I don’t want to discourage you as having a dog as a family member is one of the great things in life but want you to take an honest look at your life before you do.