I have been a proud Jack Russell Westie Mix mom for 5 years now and have experienced the responsibilities of having a dog.
Do Not Be "That Person"
There are a lot of people out there that get their dog on an impulse without fully recognizing the responsibility they are about to have. They fall in love with a small, cute, and fluffy dog, only to neglect them when the dog gets bigger and older. This is one of the reasons why there are strays and so many dogs and other pets at the animal shelter. Do not be that person who neglects their dog. Think before you get one.
Getting a dog, especially a young one, is like having a baby. It requires you to give them your full attention as much as you can throughout the day. Without that special time with them, you will not grow a bond. A bond between a dog and its owner is important in the training process. The more time you spend with them, the more likely they will respect you and listen to you. Having a demanding job working 60 hours a week or always traveling is not fair to your dog. Think about this: would you want to be locked in a cage or constricted to the walls of your home for more than 10 hours a day every day?
2. Exercise and Play Time
We are all tired when we get back from work, but your dog is overjoyed when you step through the door of your home. They have just been home by themselves all day long. They want to hang out with you, and they want to play with you. If you do not think you can give them that time of the day to go for a run or play in the yard, it is not the right time for you to get a dog.
Be prepared to spend money on your dog. It is not just the dog food you have to pay for. You will have vet bills to pay for too. If you get a dog when it is a puppy, the vet bill can be a little more than $500. You have to set an appointment for a check up and to get all of their vaccinations done. It is outrageous, but totally worth it in the end if you are willing to be fully committed to your dog.
Those are not the only bills though. Unexpected things happen. One year, my husband and I had to take our dog to the vet office four times. Each visit killed us a little on the inside as we had a wedding and a honeymoon to pay for that year. The vet visits consisted of a dental check up, dental cleaning, infected cut on the tail, and allergies. Do not get a dog hoping that your income will get better in the future. You never know what life will throw your way in the least expected times.
You can train your dog all you want, but accidents happen sometimes. They may eat something that does not agree with their stomachs, and they can end up puking or having diarrhea in the house. During the puppy phase when they are still learning, they can chew up and destroy things that you love. If you are not willing to accept this going into getting a dog, you may want to rethink your decision.
5. Love and Attention
We do not deserve dogs. They are truly a man's best friend. They will show unconditional love towards you, and do anything to make you happy. You need to do the same for your dog! Show your dog that you love them every day by doing the little things: playing, snuggling, giving them kisses, and buying them endless toys only for them to tear them up within hours. Get a dog to be your friend, not some animal that is going to sit in your house all day ignored.
Still Not Sure if You are Ready?
Remember that a lot of dogs in animal shelters are there because their owners have neglected them and put them out on the streets. Hundreds of dogs and other animals around the country are being euthanized each day because no one has adopted them. The following list are ways that can help you see if you are ready for a dog.
- Rent a pup or borrow a dog for the day.
- Offer your services to walk shelter dogs for free.
- Make money by taking other people's dogs for a walk.
- Offer to dog sit for friends or family when they go on vacation.
© 2019 Jackie Zelko
Liz Westwood from UK on June 18, 2019:
The arrival of a puppy into our son-in-law and daughter's household nearly 3 years ago was an interesting experience. I can relate to many of the points you make. Now that he is a valuable member of the family and my grandson's best friend, those early days seem a distant memory.