Being a dog parent is great, but it is also a lot of hard work. The decision to bring a dog into your home should not be made on impulse. Dogs are thinking, feeling and loving individuals, all with their own personality. They don’t have on/off, stop/go buttons. Training takes a lot of time and patience. They have their own thoughts and make their own decisions. We just have to help them know which ones we would like from them and that there is reward for doing so!
The realities of being a dog parent:
- Early mornings
- Walking in all weather
- Coming home on your lunch break or paying a dog sitter/walker
- Coming home straight after work
- Finding someone to look after them when you go away and most likely having to pay for this service
- Extra cleaning, mainly vacuuming depending on the breed of dog
- Standing outside in all weather before bed time to make sure they go to the toilet
- Paying for: yearly vaccinations, monthly flea and worm treatment, insurance, food, supplements, medical treatment and operations
- Having your freedom restricted
- Taking the time to train, play and exercise
- A 10-15 year commitment
Dogs bark to communicate. Of course some breeds are more vocal than others as they were specifically bred for their ability to bark, but all dogs bark at some point. Some breeds shed their coat all over your sofa, carpet, clothes and car. Puppies and dogs who have not been taught different, go to the toilet inside or chew your favourite pair of shoes. Redirection and positive reinforcement can help stop this but it is not always something they will learn over night.
A dog is not a bit of fun for a few years until you get bored. The reality of owning a dog is time consuming, expensive and hard work. A dog is a luxury, not a right. They can suffer from grief and depression and being passed from one home to another impacts this. They form bonds with their caretakers and become confused when removed from them and placed into a new home or kennel. They have no choice in where they go, who cares for them and are completely reliant on humans to care for them.
For me, nothing compares to spending time with my dogs and I am dedicated to them. However, that doesn’t stop me from sometimes wishing I had more free time and less restrictions. In my opinion the benefits of owning dogs outweighs the negatives. However, and understandably, for some the negatives outweigh the positives and this should be considered before brining a dog into your home.
Owning a dog means making personal sacrifices and unfortunately, the welfare of many dogs is compromised because caretakers are unwilling or cannot do so. The decisions we make directly impacts them. So before buying a puppy or dog, please consider if you are willing to do all this, for the next 10-15 years?
A dog is for life.