Are you sure you want a dog?
They are fun and cute but they come with some strings attached
Archie after an accidental fall into a muddy puddle. Photo Credit: Jane Sigsworth
"Wait. What? A dog trainer telling us not to get a dog? Doesn't he have two high-energy breed dogs himself?"
Yes. Yes. And Yes.
I love our dogs. I'm committed to helping families love their dogs. But dogs aren't always easy and they aren't for everyone. Here are some things to consider...
- Dogs take up a lot of time. They need to be exercised (whether walking, trips to the dog park, dog sports, etc.). They need to be trained, groomed, fed, played with, and cuddled (some of those things are more fun than others - but they all take time).
- They can tie you down. When you get a puppy, you'll have to take it outside a LOT. So, no long romantic dinners at nice restaurants. No more movie dates for a while. You'll need to get home to feed the dog. Impromptu trips to Vegas become complicated - who'll watch the pup? Do you trust them? Are they available at the last minute?
- They can be expensive. Even if you get a great deal on the dog itself (shelters and rescues often have "free adoption" events), there are other costs. Food, toys, and vets can easily run into the thousands of dollars every year. While I recommend pet insurance to limit your potential costs, even that can be pricey.
- They can be noisy. Some dogs are more talkative than others. Some dogs bark very loudly. This can be a real consideration if you live in an apartment or condo with shared walls. Sure, we can reduce the barking through training - but I don't think it's reasonable to expect NO barking (though sometimes you get lucky and get a dog who just doesn't bark much).
- They shed. Some breeds shed a LOT. If you are used to a spotless house, this could be an issue. Of course, hairless dogs don't shed!
- They can be destructive if not properly trained and given legal outlets for chewing. If you don't provide dogs with things to chew, they'll find something. The leg of that expensive dining may look like a good option from the dog's perspective. Or those throw pillows on the couch. Or even the couch!
- They require some maintenance. Grooming can be time consuming and messy - or expensive if you decide to have a professional handle it. Of course, some breeds require less grooming than others. But they'll all need some (nail trims and baths, for instance).
Even "perfect" dogs are still animals. We should expect them to be animals. That means they might sometimes growl. Or bark. Or even show teeth to demonstrate they are unhappy or scared.
Now, if after reading all that, you still want a dog - congratulations! You sound like the type of person who's going into this with your eyes open. I'm more than happy to chat with you about getting ready for your new dog. Let me know if you have questions.
p.s. When I asked friends if any of them had pictures of their dirty dogs (literally, covered in mud and such), I got too many to pick from. Here are some of the other funny ones I got. Enjoy!