This is the third article in the series about educating yourself about DOG OWNERSHIP
Part 2.2 – Considering the Needs of Your Family and Your Family Dog.
Question #5: Lifestyle and Scheduling
Do the daily needs of a dog fit into your lifestyle? If you have a high-powered job, a full schedule at school, commitments to other family members, etc. will you really have the time to walk and play with your dog each day? YES …. I said each day; that is the commitment every dog owner should have.
Many people don’t commit to their doggie responsibilities I know, but you are reading this so you can be an A1 student in dog ownership aren’t you(??)
Who would tend to your dog’s needs during the day if you or other family dog carers are away from home for 12 hours a day?
What if you decide to start a family? Will you and your spouse be able to care for your dog even after you’ve got your hands full with newborn babies?
Worse still (in my opinion) are the owners who go from A1 dog owners to F6 (dud) dog owners when a new human arrives in their house. I’m not suggesting that the new human is not THE more important thing in their lives when it arrives but I am saying that that child will grow up in a richer human in a much calmer and happier family unit when their lovable four legged “child” continues to be an integral part of that unit as there is no “richer” experience for that child than to grow up loving and bonding to animals. (“Living life divorced from nature is destructive” – Sir Lauren Van Der Post)
Do you travel frequently? Who will take care of your dog when you’re out of town?
Do you even spend enough times at home between trips to maintain a bond with your dog? If you think you can still have and believe you definitely need a doggie relationship despite some extensive traveling you need to make sure you have someone else on hand to care for your dog. It could be a reputable boarding establishment where they get special treatment or a live in “dog-minder”.
Dogs can come to expect this as routine in their lives and thrive on the additional socialization that this brings into their lives. But it IS a big additional cost that needs to be factored in to your decision about dog ownership.
Question #6: Home Environment
Is the atmosphere in your home casual and relaxed, or is it fraught with tension? Dogs pick up on people’s emotions. Disruptions in family relationships affect your dog as much as you. Fights and screaming will scare your dog and lead to new behavioral problems; in some breeds more than others, but NOT GOOD for any domestic pet, let alone any human victim in the family.
Also consider how you feel about cleanliness and order. Dogs need a clean, healthy environment, but not one in which they are prohibited from acting like dogs. Some dogs smell more than others as they have a double coat and the dead hair has an odour. Brushing helps …. a LOT of brushing, but you will still have hair on the floor unless this is considered at the “chose what breed” stage.
Some breeds don’t smell at all, some don’t molt out their coat …. you get the picture.
You need to think about this … really!
Then there is the breed personality and demeanor …. hyper active, rough and tumble, delicate and fragile, a bit aloof, attention seeking, lounge potatoes …. these can often be VERY breed related traits.
But that’s not all. Some breeds dribble, some breeds pant heavily, some breeds bark excessively … and there are a lot of other “natural” considerations that could be regarded as unpleasant, like some breeds seem to have more “wind” than others, (but this may be diet related).
AND …. have you ever been to the Zoo and caught a glimpse of an elephant’s #2? Well some dogs can leave similar size “deposits” around your back yard daily.
AGAIN .. this can be considered at the “chose what breed” stage.
Accidents and messes are inevitable. Are you going to go ballistic on your dog if he knocks over a $1,000 vase? Do you have a sick or elderly person living with you who could be injured or disturbed by a dog’s barking or rough behavior? You have to have your house “dog safe” or you could be in for more than you expected.
AGAIN …. this can be considered at the “chose what breed” stage. Some breeds are quieter and more docile than others; some are less territorial than others and won’t keep leaving a wet patch to define their territory.
If any of the above apply, now is time for you to (maybe) re-consider your decision on what dog breed you fancy OR it is not the time for you to bring a dog into the home at all.
So are you still here ?? so you can honestly say that you’ve answered all the above questions in favor of getting a dog?
SO YOU WANT A DOG! …… O.K. then keep on reading ….. in Part 4 “COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT DOG BEHAVIOR – PART 1” we will now answer some common questions about dog instincts and behavior.