Don't get a Dog
I’m usually the first person to discuss all the positives of dog ownership but not today. Today is about why you shouldn’t get one. If you get through this blog and still feel up to the task you might be ready for a dog but you probably don’t need one.
Both dogs and puppies take a lot of patience. Puppies need potty trained and will rely on you solely to teach them how to be in the world. That is a large responsibility, even more so if you bring home a breed that is widely discriminated against. There are no bad dogs, only bad parents. Just like children each dog is going to have its own sets of challenges. You have to understand both the dog’s needs and how people are going to react to the dog out in the world. Research is key here. Do not just bring home a random puppy because it’s cute. If you are going to bring home a dog you need to know what you can reasonably expect from the breed based on age. To be fair, there are always outliers who are nothing like what was expected. If you are looking for a running partner and get a Great Dane or a Bulldog, you’re likely going to be disappointed. If you’re looking for something mellow and bring home a Border Collie or Australian Cattle Dog you’re going to be in trouble. If you bring home a high energy dog and don’t properly stimulate it, both of you will suffer. Under stimulated dogs chew furniture, walls, dig up yards, and go for solo runs. This won’t change whether you bring home a puppy or adult dog. With puppies come house breaking which takes a lot of patience. You have to go into it knowing it’s going to chew on your furniture, scratch some things, and go potty in the house. Some dogs learn quicker than others and this applies to potty and crate training.
Don’t think bringing home an adult dog will solve all these issues. If you go to a shelter you are usually going in blind and don’t know what sort of issues the dog may have. I brought home an extremely friendly Maltese/terrier/mutt and I was excited at the possibility of using him as a psychiatric service dog. I found out within a few hours that he was incredibly afraid of everything from a paper towel roll to men. I tried to crate him while I attended a two hour college course and when I came back he had scratched the crate so hard his paws bled. The next day I cleared any harmful objects from my room and shut him in thinking this would be better. Nope. He scratched the wooden floor so hard it had somehow splattered a crossed the wall. I have heard first hand accounts ranging from dogs literally eating home siding, the steering wheel of a car, and walls inside the home. When dogs are passed around family to family, even if you obtain them from the original owner, it can make them anxious. Dog anxiety can be very hard to cope with and can cost a lot of money in vet bills, training, and home improvement. So many people give up on the dog at this point and rehome them or take them back. Doing this causes further damage to the dog and contributes to increased anxiety.
We also have to remember how people behave outside the home. I worked at a pet store and the amount of people who came in afraid of dogs was astonishing. There are also people who if they assume your dog is a pit (even if it’s clearly not…) they will begin screaming at you. Even if your dog isn’t aggressive other people will bring around their aggressive dogs out, both on and off of a leash. Kids and adults alike will come up and try to touch your dog without asking. So puppy or adult we have to take this into consideration. These seemingly small moments can impact the rest of a dog’s life. We brought home a baby Chihuahua named Rex. We were very excited to take him out to family gathering and introduce him. At separate family events, people stomped at him, thinking it was a fun game. A giant being stomping towards a 2lb puppy traumatized him. Now he bites at shoes. In a literal blink of an eye, a good puppy was ruined.
Dogs grow old just like humans do, and the vet bills get higher as they get older. Even when they’re young they can have health issues. Allergies can lead to more expensive food costs. Did you know some dogs get yearly bronchitis and need an inhaler? I didn’t until I got a dog that needs one. Dogs can have ridiculously high vet bills for equally ridiculous issues. For example a broken toe. It’s not guaranteed but it is something to remember when bringing home a dog. What will happen if you move or lose your job? It’s something to plan for before you bring home the dog and something happens.
Do not get a dog if…
Do not get a dog if you’re going to get rid of it when it gets old.
Do not get a dog if you’re going to dump it at a shelter so you can take a vacation.
Do not get a dog if you’re going to keep rehoming them when you get bored.
Do not get a dog to leave it outside. It is not okay to buy a dog and leave them outside with no shelter. If you’re going to leave them out they need proper houses to do so but really no dog should be left outside.
Research! Research! Research! Just know even after all that there will still be unexpected things.
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