You Think You're Ready for a Dog?
Bringing a new dog or puppy into the family is a big responsibility and something you
should think carefully about. You need to realize that the average dog's lifespan is 10-15 yrs or more and
just like a child, they need the proper care and love and companionship. Never get a dog or puppy on a whim!!
Far too many dogs wind up in shelters because people don't realize exactly what they are getting into.
If any of the following 5 statements ring true, you should re-examine your reasons for wanting a dog and your
ability to properly care for one.
1. You're Always Really Busy with Work and Don't Have Much Downtime
In order for your new dog or puppy to bond with you and properly acclimate to its new
surroundings, you'll need to set a lot of time aside just for him. You can't just pick out a puppy, bring it
home, play with it for a while and then forget it. You need to spend quality time with your new family member.
This means lots of playtime (especially for puppies), two or more walks outside every day and obedience
training. If you don't spend time with your pet, you're just asking for trouble. Often, neglected pets will
act out by engaging in destructive behavior. Furthermore, if your pet is alone too much, he will not be
properly socialized. This may result in his being unduly fearful of strangers and other animals which, in
turn, may cause him to become aggressively defensive towards them. If you are too busy to spend quality time
with a pet, then wait until your life is a little less hectic before you adopt one.
2. You Live on a Very Strict Budget and Can Barely Afford to Pay All of Your Bills Every Month
Dogs are never really free, even if you are given one as a gift. First, you have to pay
for a good quality dog food. If your dog is a very small breed, this may not be a big concern. If your dog is
a large breed, however, food can cost over $100 a month. Second, you'll need to provide your dog with routine
medical care like spaying or neutering, annual vaccinations and exams and dental care. You also have to be
prepared to pay for any emergency medical services. Third, depending on the breed of dog, you may need to have
it professionally groomed and this can cost a lot of money. Even if you groom the dog yourself, you'll still
have to pay for the grooming supplies. Fourth, you'll need to be able to afford miscellaneous items like dog
dishes, toys and other goodies. If you can't afford to take care of your dog in an appropriate way, then you
should put your puppy adoption plans on hold until you are in a better financial position.
3. You Only Want a Dog for Protection Purposes
A dog, even one that has been specially trained to guard your home, is more than just a
security device. It is a living creature who deserves to be loved by the people who adopt him. He should be
treated as a part of the family and should be treated respectfully. Guard dogs need consistent and caring
interaction with their owners. Otherwise, those same qualities that make them great at guarding their
territory (alertness, aggressiveness and possessiveness) can turn them into 'bad dogs' if left on their own.
If you are not prepared to accept a dog as part of your family for the long haul and socialize it
appropriately, then you should not adopt one. If security is truly a concern, you should have a security
system installed in your home.
4. Your Kids Need Something to Play With
If your kids are bored and need something to entertain them, then buy them more toys.
Don't buy your kids a dog unless they really want one and can see it as a living creature instead of as a toy;
and, certainly don't buy your kids a dog unless you want one too. Let's face it. You may say that the dog
belongs to the kids, but the adults in the household will ultimately be responsible for its care, feeding and
medical expenses. Don't bring a dog into your home unless both you and your kids understand that adopting a
dog makes him a part of your family for life.
5. You Want a Dog Because You Want to Breed It and Make Lots of Money
First, successful and reputable dog breeders are in the business because they
love the dogs they work with. Often, someone develops a breeding business only after years of having had many
dogs of a particular breed as pets. Good breeders have years of experience with the breed and know everything
there is to know about its traits, history and physical characteristics. They also love to educate others
about the breed. Second, the bills associated with the feeding and care of the dog far surpasses any income he
will generate, especially for the first few years. Buy a dog because you love the breed and cherish him as a
part of your family. Maybe a business will come from it later on. And please keep in mind, there are so many
dogs out there that desperately need homes, adding to the population is not something that should be done on a
whim. Breeding takes a great deal of knowledge, education, dedication, patience and love for the
by Deanna Raeke -