Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get a Puppy
One of the best experiences on the planet is adopting that cute little puppy at the shelter and bringing him or her home to your family! They are loads of fun and adorable as can be. Puppies are mischievous, loyal, and full of life! In fact, each puppy has its own personality that you get to learn about and connect with for years and years to come!
Puppies, however, are not all fun and games. They take hard work, patience, a firm voice on occasion, time, and, of course, lots of love and attention. Puppies are to be seen as a family member. Liken it to bringing a new baby into the home. You wouldn't leave your baby tied up outside all day would you?
Any baby, animal or human, should be treated with love and attention. Other wise, you will get a poorly behaved grown baby or puppy on your hands! I have compiled this list as a way to show you just how much puppies require from you. If you relate to any of my points below, please reconsider adopting a puppy (or any baby animal for that matter).
Number 10: You Are Never Home During the Day
One thing you will quickly learn about having a puppy is that they require all of your attention. Just like a human baby, puppies can get into trouble pretty quickly if you aren't watching them. Leaving them alone for even a minute can be disastrous!
Also, much like children, puppies need your affection. If you're getting a puppy for the same reason you get a painting, then you aren't in it for the right reasons and probably shouldn't get one at all. If your job requires you to be away from your home all day, and you have no other family members to watch your puppy, you should reconsider adopting one. If no one is there to play with your pup, he will become anxious or bored and destroy that lovely living room you carefully designed!
Think of it as if the puppy were your own baby (which he is). Would you ever leave your baby alone at home with no one to watch him? Probably not!
(If you said yes to the above question please do not have children!)
If you're one of those people that think, Well, if i lock him up in the cage/crate he'll be fine and my house won't be a mess! It's a win/win. I also recommend you do not get a puppy. They need exercise and freedom. Locking them up in a cage for ten hours a day (or more) is not only unfair to the poor thing, but it can make for some behavioral issues.
My dog Xena had to be locked up every day because she would use the bathroom in the house while we were gone and chew up everything. She absolutely hated when we would leave her. The horrible part was that she had to hold her pee and poop the entire time we were gone. That's around six or seven hours a day. She continued to go in the house constantly, especially in my dad's room, and chewed everything she could find. We weren't helping ourselves or Xena by locking her up everyday, but we had no choice.
Learn from me. If you have school, work, or anything that requires you to leave home for hours at a time, do not get a puppy or dog.
Number 9: You Haven't Done Research on the Breed
A very important factor people tend to forget about is the breed of the puppy or dog you are looking at. That cute little puppy will grow into a big problem if you don't do some research. Different breeds have different temperaments and specific needs. Some come with health issues because of breeding. Others grow up to be very large dogs that will be too hard for your kids to walk. Taking the proper precaution is extremely important.
Here's an example. Say you see an ad for adorable little puppies a family is selling. You know how much your kids love fluffy little dogs and you think to yourself 'I'd love to have a little guy around'. You go ahead and buy the pup. What you didn't know is that this adorable little puppy is a mixed breed dog and about a year and a half later you realize that one of the breeds mixed in is a very big dog your kids cannot walk. He eats more food than you thought and he requires constant grooming for his long fur. You're now dishing out hundreds of dollars on this dog and have to walk him every few hours because the kids can't.
My sister was browsing craigslist and came across this adorable puppy. The ad said pitbull, which should raise some flags seeing as pits, no matter the size, are extremely strong. My sister and I would not be able to walk a dog that can pull thousands of pounds in a competition. My dad didn't consider this, and my sister really wanted her. Thankfully, we couldn't keep her because we were moving shortly after. With some convincing, my mom, who is more capable of taking proper care of the puppy than we were at the time, took her in. This could have been a real problem because my dad didn't do his research!
Would you ever buy a car without doing research about it? What about a house? Treat a living breathing dog (or any animal for that matter) with the same consideration. You don't want to end up with an uncontrollable monster dog that has anxiety issues and becomes unfriendly. Be a smart consumer and do your research!
Number 8: You Move Around a Lot
If you are a family that moves constantly, like mine is, having a pet can be hard. Finding a place in the new area you are moving to that accepts pets is incredibly hard sometimes. Take it from someone who has moved around every two or three years my entire life. Finding apartments that accept dogs and cats can be difficult, even in 2016.
Once you do find one, the cost to keep your family friend there is incredibly high! Depending on the landlord and the breed of dog, you could be paying $300 or more per month, on top of your rent, utilities, and other services. Also, if you have more than one dog, or a dog and a cat, you pay more. The more pets you have, a lot of the time you have to pay for each pet you bring. The places that don't do this are incredibly rare, if they exist at all.
Number 7: You're Adopting Because the Puppy is Cute
I completely understand this one. Every time I see cute puppies and kittens available for adoption, I want to scoop them up and keep them all to myself. The problem with this is many people who impulse adopt animals end up putting them in a pound later on because they find out the puppy or dog is too much to handle.
Having a puppy, as I've said before, is exactly like having a baby. You must tend to them 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. There are no breaks raising a puppy. Do yourself a favor and don't adopt based exclusively on how cute he is.
This is not to say ignore the cute factor all together! Just don't let that be the only reason you adopt your new family pet. The decision to adopt a dog, or any pet for that matter, should be discussed in depth with family members. It takes a financial toll, hard work, and time from everyone. The cute factor should be the final thing you look into. Even that "ugly mutt" can be a lovable family member if you let him!
Number 6: You Want to Give One as a Christmas/Birthday Present
Ask any shelter around the country and they will tell you one of the top reasons people bring a puppy to the shelter is because their kids received him as a Christmas present but didn't want to take care of him. Puppies grow up and have needs their whole lives. In the heat of the moment, people tend to forget that.
Another issue is that the holidays are already a stressful time for everyone. Planning dinners and activities can be hard, so having a puppy to watch and care for on top of this can make the cute gift a very unpleasant problem that the adults must deal with. Let's be honest, even the most responsible kids on the planet eventually get bored with the puppy and the parent ends up the caretaker.
If you still want to give your kids that adorable puppy, do so when things have settled down in the home. Perhaps after the holidays have passed. Puppies need time to get accustomed to their new home, so the calmer the better.
Puppies are destructive. Just like human babies, puppies get into everything and tear up whatever is in their reach. Will you still be thinking how great a present he is when your puppy is using the bathroom everywhere and eating your favorite shoes? Probably not.
Just be careful when deciding to purchase a puppy for your family as a present. Also, never give one to your children! Teach them that puppies are family members as much as they are, not Christmas toys they can ignore in two weeks in favor of something new. The children should know they are responsible for feeding him and making sure he has water. Obviously, kids will forget or get distracted, so ultimately it will be the parent's responsibility, but as my family does, we all make sure the cats and dogs are fed and watered.
The kids are told daily to check the water and food. They clean up any messes the dogs make in the house and play with them. It is the responsibility of every member of the family! Teaching your kids the same will be invaluable to them and make life easier for you in the long run.
Number 5: You Are on a Tight Budget
Oddly enough, something people tend to overlook when adopting a puppy is just how much it will cost to care for him. Puppies need food, visits to the vet, toys, flea medicine, groomers if the dog is long haired, a pet-sitter for when you need to leave him home longer than an hour, etc. If your puppy gets hurt, he'll need to go to the vet. Dogs with sensitive skin need creams or medicine. Also, many places charge you to keep a dog in your home. All of these add up to one expensive problem.
While the costs may not be so high at first, puppies do grow up into larger dogs with more needs. I've repeated this many times throughout this article because it is so important people understand this: having a puppy is exactly like having a kid. This includes the costs.
While they aren't the same all the time, the puppy will always need food. He will always need a collar with his name, your name, your phone number, and address in the case that he escapes from the home. The vet visits are important, as are doctor visits for your family. Dogs should be spayed/neutered to avoid unwanted puppies. Studies also show that dogs who are neutered are much less aggressive than dogs who aren't.
If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck every month, you probably aren't capable of taking proper care of a puppy.
Number 4: You Have a Baby/Young Child Already
Having a puppy is just like having a baby.
I know I've said it a million times already, but this is because it's true! Having a baby and a puppy at the same time will be like having two babies in your care. They both need your attention at all times. Puppies need to be trained early how not to go to the bathroom in the house. If you have a baby, having a puppy will only add stress to an already stressful situation.
Young children are not old enough to be left alone around dogs. Just like when they pull your hair or accidentally scratch you too hard, they pull on the dog's fur and ears. While some dogs are totally fine with this, it's still extremely important you teach your child to respect the dog. Children should not be allowed to get up in the dog's face, hug the dog (especially a dog they do not know!), poke/prod the dog while they are laying down or sleeping, or kiss the dog in the face. All of these are potentially dangerous situations.
My dog Charlotte was sleeping the other day on the couch when my mom came up to her and gently touched her back over the back of the couch. She woke up with a start and looked very alarmed. Had this been a different kind of dog my mom would have been bitten, so imagine if a child had done it.
A few years ago, a dog we had named Chino was sleeping peacefully on the floor when my younger cousin started messing with him. She was pulling his front leg up and poking his armpit when all of a sudden he woke up and went after her! Thankfully he fully woke up and realized who she was before he actually hurt her.
Also, I would like to talk about all those pictures of babies and puppies. This should never be allowed. Dogs react to things we might never think would set them off, such as a person coughing or you play fighting with someone. Dogs do not understand everything people do just like we do not always understand what dogs do. They are animals, and while they are family members, should still be treated with understanding and respect.
A story was recently on the news of a dog killing a newborn baby in bed with the mother. The family were laying in bed watching the television when the mom sneezed. This startled the dog, causing him to attack the child. He probably thought the baby was hurting her! The dog only bit the baby, but the wounds unfortunately killed the infant.
Long story short, never allow a dog near a baby. Teach your children to respect the dog. Never run up on a dog you don't know. Always be watchful when children and dogs play together. Learn the signs that a dog is uncomfortable. You can save lives if you take precaution.
Number 3: You Don't Have the Time or Patience to Train Him
Along with the love and affection all puppies need, they need training. If you are getting a very young puppy, you must be prepared for extensive training. It isn't fair to your dog if you never bother teaching him he's supposed to use the bathroom outside, but then you get mad when he goes inside his house. He does not know any better. Like children, he must be taught.
Taking your puppy for frequent visits outside is important. Much like babies, puppies have very small bladders. They should be taken outside every few hours. When he does go outside, make sure to praise him so that he learns going outside is a good thing and that he will be rewarded.
When your puppy does go in the house (which he will), you must punish him. You do not have to scare the poor thing to death with a too firm hand to his little thigh. In the early days, he needs a small pop and a firm voice, followed by taking him outside to show him that is where he should go.
A trick for older dogs that my mom and dad use is taking them to where they went to the bathroom and pushing their face into it, followed by a smack to the thigh muscle and a firm "No! Bad dog!" Taking them out afterwards is a good idea to drive it home that outside is where he goes.
House breaking a dog, much like a kid, takes time, patience, and rewards. You must also stay on top of his walks, Do not let the puppy go too long without taking him out. If you make him wait six hours, you can't be too mad when he goes in the house. He's only a baby and can't hold it. Older dogs should be walked every few hours as well.
Also be vigilant. If your dog is sniffing around a lot, looking at you frequently, maybe even trying to lead you towards the door, he probably has to go for a walk. Like people, dogs will a lot of the time tell you when they need to go to the bathroom. They do not want to upset you, so if you teach him to go outside, he will try to tell you.
If you do not think you will have the time (or patience) for all of this, it's probably not good for you to adopt a puppy right now. They need all of your attention and they want to make you happy. If you ignore them constantly and scream at them because you are too frustrated with them using the bathroom in the house, they will become very unhappy.
Evaluate your lifestyle and personality to see if a dog will fit in.
Number 2: If You Have Other Pets
I know the subtitle can be misleading, so I will say this now: I am not saying you cannot have more than one pet. In fact, many times in my life we have had more than two or three pets at once. For me, the more the merrier. Currently in my house are two cats and two dogs.
This section is more about introducing pets to the family than simply saying you can't have two dogs. Animals can be unpredictable if you don't know much about their behaviors. Introducing a new puppy or kitten can be extremely dangerous if you do not know how.
My mother had a grown dog and cat when she took Charlotte from us. We had been talking back and forth, discussing how old and how big Char was because my mom knew if the puppy was young enough and small enough, her current dog, Sage, would take her as her own puppy. Since Sage had puppies prior, this was a solid theory to go on. My mom was extremely cautious about Char, making us take dozens of pictures to ensure she wasn't too big. It all worked out in the end, thankfully.
Our most recent addition was my kitten Colby. We were all extremely nervous about introducing him to the family since Charlotte had never been exposed to small animals like him. Surprisingly, the two dogs took to him easily. It was our cat, Jake, who had the bad reaction.
We never let the dogs get too close to the small kitten, yelling at them or smacking them once with something hard (my mom said she used a vacuum tube to smack Sage when Charlotte first came).
The same applies to babies. Do not allow the animals, cats or dogs, too close to the child. Never closer than three feet away is best. Allow them to observe you with the baby, but never let them touch or sniff. As I said in the last section, allowing your dog or cat too close is life threatening to the infant. Don't take the chance that they might attack simply because you dog is well trained.
With persistance and care, introducing a new family member can be very rewarding. You just have to know what you are doing and take it very slow. We didn't allow Colby to run around the dogs for at least two weeks after his arrival. You can never be too careful. Animals are dangerous.
Number 1: If you Have No Prior Experience With Dogs
This one is the most important one. If you have never owned a dog in your entire life, or are trying to give one to someone you know has never had a dog before, please do some research. Read all the books you can about properly caring for and training a dog. Ask for help from someone you know is knowledgeable about caring for dogs. Poor training can result in a poorly behaved dog you cannot control. This is not only dangerous to you, but to everyone that your dog come in contact with.
If you've never adopted a dog before, tell that to the person you are buying the dog from. Get all the information you can about the puppy before you take him home. Also, as I said earlier, research the breed you will get. This is doubly important if you are a first time dog owner.
Getting a puppy for the first time can be extremely exciting! As long as you take the time to learn what it takes to care for a dog, things will be easier for everyone!
Family Friendly Breeds Vs. Popular Breeds
The release of movies such as 101 Dalmatians spiked the adoption of dogs such as Dalmatians, Chihuahuas, and other breeds that are actually not children-friendly. Research is vital in discovering which breeds are best to bring into a home with children.
Breed Vs Lifestyle
Looking for a dog to go on long hikes with? A small or short-legged furry friend may not be the best choice! Dogs are bred for certain job and lifestyles. Some are strictly bred to work and should only be used as such (German Shepherds and Border Collies are two examples), while other dogs are bred for pulling heavy loads and therefore need lots of exercise t avoid bad behaviors (Akitas and Bullmastiffs are two examples).
Make sure your new family member will fit into your lifestyle easily to avoid any problems!