Dogs are a lot of work. It’s easy to walk into your nearest animal rescue or breeder’s office and lock eyes with a cute, pudgy dachshund that makes your heart melt. The instant infatuation with their small legs and giant ears may be all it takes to bring a new best friend home.
But this breed, and many others, are a lot of hard work – trust me (I have a little dachshund sitting next to me).
The dog’s eyes didn’t tell you that 1 in 4 dachshunds get intervertebral disc disease (link: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/dogs/dachshund-intervertebral-disc-disease). Some go fully paralyzed and others need 6 – 8 weeks of cage rest in hopes that they’ll regain function. You’re not a bad person if you’re thinking this is too much risk for a furry friend – it’s just that some breeds need a lot more attention than others.
There’s also a chance (even slightly) that you’re just not made to have a dog. It’s kind of like babysitting your niece and nephew. You may love the time you spend together, but when their parents come home, you’re relieved you can give them back.
There are signs that a person shouldn’t have a dog:
1. You’re Not Financially Stable
Dogs cost a lot of money. Sure, it may seem like $30 a month for food is an expensive you’re willing to endure for a dog, but the expenses don’t end there. US News reported that dog care can cost $4,620 - $32,990 over a 12-year span (link: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/01/14/is-your-new-dog-a-money-pit).
That’s a lot of money. At the high-end, these are costs for expensive kennels, training and doggy daycare, so don’t expect to spend this much.
But going back to our previous example of a dachshund. Surgery to repair a disc (with a high chance of recurrence) is $3,000 - $8,000+, depending on the city and state. Add in routine vet visits, therapy after surgery and lifetime costs, and you can easily see how the expenses can mount up quickly.
If you barely have enough money to put food on the table, you may want to think twice about adopting Fido.
2. You Live at Work
Life’s hard as an adult. We’re all trying to make enough money to pay the bills, go on a dream vacation, and we work too much. If you’re at work for 60 hours a week, have kids and want to have a social life on top of it all, a dog may not be the best choice for you.
Dogs are pack animals by nature, and if their leader is only there for a brief moment with just enough time for a short walk in the morning and an hour at night, your best friend (Fido) will be lonely.
Ask yourself this one question: will my dog be alone most of the time?
If the answer is “yes,” you might be too busy for a dog right now. No one is expecting you to reduce your hours at work or send your son to boarding school to take care of a dog, but if you honestly don’t have the time to spend with a pup, hold off on getting one.
3. You Don’t Have the Patience to Train a Dog
Some dogs are smart – really smart. German shepherds and golden retrievers are very intelligent, but even these breeds need to be trained properly. If you get a dog that is a little more of a free spirit, like a Siberian husky, you’ll have to dedicate a lot of time to training them.
The Mirror Method works well (link: http://bestdogcratesandbeds.com/mirror-method-dog-training/), but even the utmost in positive reinforcement won’t work if it’s not consistent.
And some dogs simply don’t get it. A lot of dogs will need to go to a dog trainer to learn the basics. There are even environmental factors that can play a role in a dog not listening to even basic commands.
Introducing a new baby into the home can be a difficult task.
Maybe Fido has food aggression. If little Jeffrey crawls near his food bowl, will the dog lash out? It takes a split second for an accident to occur, and if your dog isn’t properly trained, it can have dire consequences.
Cesar Millan wrote the 5 rules for choosing a dog trainer (link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cesar-millan/cesar-millans-5-rules-for-choosing-a-dog-trainer_b_8972172.html) that can help in your journey to find the right trainer for your dog.
Maybe your dog’s temperament is fine, but he isn’t house trained. He may even run out of the door when you walk in the house. Maybe he constantly chews on table legs, shoes or any item he can wrap his teeth around.
Can you handle this behavior and work to correct it? Do you have a temperament problem? These are questions people forget to ask themselves when they get a new dog.
Patience is a necessity when getting a new dog, and if you don’t have patience, maybe it’s time to get a goldfish.
If you can relate to these points, it may not be the right time for you to get a dog. Reevaluate how you feel in a few months and see if anything changes. Don’t let literal puppy love cause you to take on a responsibility you can’t handle.
This article was written and provided by Joe Hughes of Best Dog Crates and Beds(link: http://bestdogcratesandbeds.com), a leading resource in dog training tips and advice. You can reach him at Joe@BestDogCratesAndBeds.com
This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.
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