10 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.
Any baby, animal or human, should be treated with love, discipline, 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 their owners. If you relate to any of my points below, please reconsider adopting a puppy!
10. You Are Never Home During the Day
One thing people quickly learn about having a puppy is that they require all of their attention. Just like a human baby, puppies can get into trouble pretty quickly if they aren't being watched. Leaving them alone for even a minute can be disastrous!
Also, much like children, puppies need a lot of affection. A puppy and a painting are drastically different after all. If work keeps someone from being home during the day, and the rest of the family has school or other activities that require their time, adopting a puppy should be reconsidered. If no one is there to play with and watch after the puppy, he will become anxious and/or bored and destroy different things in the house.
Think of it as if the puppy were your own baby (which he is, in a way). Babies should never be left unattended, and neither should dogs!
Locking up the puppy to avoid them messing up the house and using the bathroom while the family is away, ends up being counterproductive. Many puppies' behavior worsens because of the lack of exercise and attention leaving them locked up hours a day causes. Puppies of any breed have a lot of energy and keeping that energy pent up can lead to chewing, running in the house, chasing the other animals, and other bad behaviors no owner wants to deal with after working during the day.
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 they are looking at when adopting. A cute little puppy can grow into a big problem if some research isn't done beforehand. Different breeds have different temperaments and some even have very specific needs.
Many breeds also come with health issues, ranging from significant but treatable to life-threatening and severe, that need to be taken into consideration. For example, pugs are notorious for having respiratory problems because they lack the longer snout most dogs have. Larger dog breeds, such as the German Shepherd, can have hip dysplasia, which leads to problems walking later on in life. Toy breeds (smaller dogs such as the Shih Tzu) can have issues with their kneecaps that may result in corrective surgeries. Many dogs breeds also have skin problems and allergies, such as the golden retriever.
Many puppies don't seem so big, but without checking into what breed or breeds the puppy is, a small dog can quickly become too much for the family to handle. Small yet powerful breeds, like the pit bull terrier, can be difficult to walk because of their pulling power. Mixed breed dogs (also called mutts) can grow to surprising sizes because of a large-sized dog in the mix.
Doing research on the dog in consideration, from size to possible health concerns, can save the family a lot of work, money, and disappointment if the dog cannot stay.
8. The Family Moves Around a Lot
Having a pet in a family that moves constantly can be hard. The main concern is often finding a place in the new area that will accept any pet(s). Many places are incredibly restrictive on the size and even breed of dog they will accept living in the home. Some don't allow dogs, or other pets, at all. This leads to trying to find another place, rehoming him, or placing him in the shelter because there is nowhere for him to go.
A place that may accept a dog or two will often charge a large amount of money per month for the dog to live there. Depending on their regulations and the size of the dog, the pet fee can be $300 or more.
Puppies are destructive and messy, and many rental places won't take kindly to them ripping up or ruining the doors or carpets. The resulting fees can be extremely costly.
This is not necessarily a deal breaker in terms of adoption, but it is definitely a lifestyle choice that needs to be considered before bringing a puppy into the home.
7. You're Adopting Because the Puppy Is Really Cute
This one is understandable but dangerous. Impulsively adopting a cute puppy can lead to abandonment later on when the person realizes dogs take a large amount of work and time to care for. There needs to be an understanding and respect for the animal being brought into the home, not just an appreciation for how cute it is. Cute grows up.
There are no breaks when caring for a puppy or dog. They need constant work and attention, even in adulthood.
This is, of course, not to say that the 'cute factor' should be ignored altogether. There is nothing wrong with loving and wanting a dog because they are cute and the kids all want to cuddle him. Just remember that the dog will become the family dog, that he will be everyone's responsibility.
Dogs are a lot of work. The cute won't last forever. Especially when he's chewing up shoes and other valuables!
6. You Want to Give One as a Christmas/Birthday Present
Ask any shelter around the country and they will say 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. People in the moment tend to forget that. So when considering getting someone a puppy, or if the kids have been asking everyone and their uncle for a puppy, decide if it is really the best time for such a lofty responsibility. Because too many unwanted puppies and dogs end up in shelters.
Another issue that comes into play during the holidays is that things are already stressful. People are often planning dinners and activities, hosting their family for a few days, chasing after children, and constantly cleaning. A new puppy added to the mix makes for a lot more stress and frustration, which isn't good for anyone involved.
Plus, in all honesty, even the most responsible kids on the planet eventually get bored with a puppy and the parents end up as caretaker. (Though it should be assumed the parents would be the overseeing caretakers anyway. Kids have to learn how to care for a living being.) A puppy for a child is really a puppy for the parents.
Puppies also can be affected by the high-stress atmosphere as well. They can become anxious, leading to bad behaviors such as going to the bathroom in the house, nipping, barking, and ripping up or chewing things. They can become frightened as well, and this is no good for anyone.
The best time to give kids that adorable puppy, if the intent to surprise them for Christmas or a birthday is still there, is doing so when things have settled down in the home would be the best option. Perhaps a time after the holidays have passed, when the chaos is gone along with the extended family. Puppies need time to get accustomed to their new home, so the calmer it is for them, the better.
Puppies are often very destructive. Just like human children, puppies get into everything.
Always exercise caution when deciding to adopt a puppy for the family as a present.
One important thing to note here is that when giving a puppy as a gift, this is essentially equating a puppy to the toys and clothes children receive during the holidays. Teaching children that the new puppy is a part of the family and not the gifts they were given. The children must understand and know they are responsible for feeding him and making sure he has water, though of course, the adults have to be on top of this as well as children become distracted and may forget.
Teaching the children that the puppy is the responsibility of the family teaches them responsibility, gives them a sense of purpose, and makes things easier for the family in the long-run.
Number 5: You Are on a Tight Budget
Oddly enough, one major aspect people tend to overlook when adopting a puppy is just how much it will cost. Puppies require quite a bit of food, visits to the vet (both routine and in an emergency), toys (to keep them from making their own toys out of various household items), flea medicine, groomers if the dog is long-haired, a pet-sitter in the instance he needs to be left home alone for long periods of time, and so on. Dogs with sensitive skin will need creams or medicine, maybe even a special diet. As mentioned previously, many places will charge extra each month to keep a dog in the home. All of these little things add up to one expensive problem.
While costs can vary depending on the breed and health of the dog, he will always need food. He will always need a collar with his name, his owner's name, and a phone number or address to contact in the case that he escapes from the home. Dogs should be spayed/neutered as early as possible (6 months) to avoid unwanted puppies in the home.
Studies also show that dogs who are neutered when they are younger are much less aggressive than dogs who aren't.
If money is tight, then properly caring for a puppy, let alone an adult dog, probably isn't possible for the time being.
4. You Have a Baby/Young Child Already
Having a baby and a puppy at the same time will be like having two babies in the home, only one is far more mobile and doesn't wear a diaper. They both need copious amounts of attention at all times. Puppies have to be trained early how not to go to the bathroom in the house and how to behave, which requires time and energy. If a baby already lives in the home, especially one with multiple children, having a puppy will only add stress to an already stressful situation.
Having a puppy is just like having a baby.
Another important note on children and dogs is that young children are not old enough to be left alone around dogs. Just like when they pull their parent's hair or accidentally scratch too hard, they will pull on the dog's fur and ears, or smack him too hard. While some dogs are totally fine with this, it's still crucial to teach children to respect the dog and his feelings. Children should not be allowed to get up in the dog's face (this can lead to growling, snapping, and biting), hug the dog or lay all over him, or poke/prod the dog while they are laying down or sleeping (this might startle them into a defense reflex). They should be taught to pet him nicely, to leave him alone while he is eating, and they should never be allowed to jump on the dog while he is resting. Or at all as this can hurt him. All of these are dangerous and potentially deadly situations.
It is extremely important to mention all the adorable pictures of babies and puppies online. While they seem innocent, these scenarios should never be allowed. Dogs react to things we might not understand, such as a person coughing or play fighting with someone. Dogs do not understand everything a person does just like we do not always understand a dog's behavior. They are still animals, and while they are family members, they should still be treated with understanding and respect.
Dogs are dangerous as much as they are wonderful companions. There are many news reports of dogs attacking their owners, kids in the home, random people walking by, kids playing outside, other animals around the home, and anyone else they deem a threat. A 6-month old baby was killed in Salisbury, North Carolina on March 6th of this year. The babysitter left the child alone with the dog and returned to find the dog had bitten the child and killed him. In another tragic incident involving a much older child, a four-year-old boy was killed by the family's ten dogs while playing outside in Texas back in 2017.
Children aren't the only ones in danger either, nor are large dogs the only culprits. A woman in Oklahoma back in 2018 was mauled and killed by her seven dogs, all under 40 pounds each. There are plenty more stories about the dangers of having a dog in the home, especially once the number exceeds three adult dogs. They are pack animals and, once they have a pack of actual dogs, they can become uncontrollable and dangerous to everyone involved, especially children.
Dogs are loving, loyal, and great to have around, but it shouldn't be forgotten that they are still animals with instincts and behaviors we do not understand. They need our respect as much as they want our love. Children should be kept away from them (and the dog should not be allowed near them either) until they can understand this themselves.
This section has undergone thorough editing and research. It is important to me that what is shared in this article remains true to what I believe is true and correct.
3. You Don't Have the Time or Patience to Train Him
Along with all the love and affection puppies need, they also need proper house training. Training very young puppies especially can be a tedious and time-consuming venture because they have to adjust to going outside and then going on walks. It isn't fair to the dog if he is not taught that he is supposed to use the bathroom outside and is then punished when he goes to the bathroom inside the house. He does not know any better. Like children, he must be taught.
Puppies have smaller bladders than their adult counterparts, and far faster metabolisms, which means they will need to be taken out more frequently. It is suggested older puppies be taken out every two or three hours, while younger puppies should go out every hour at the longest. Puppies not only need to go outside often, but they also need to go outside right after they eat and as soon as they wake up from a nap as they will need to use the bathroom right away. According to one dog trainer, 15 minutes is the recommended time a puppy has after any activity that would lead to using the bathroom before they must be taken out.
Older dogs should still be walked every three to five hours (maximum), depending on their size, though the more often they are walked, the happier they will probably be. The length of the walks should be increased over time as well.
Other tips for helping house train a puppy include feeding them on a schedule and removing the food once they are done (again, taking them out right after), praising them when they do go outside, taking them to the same area they have already gone to the bathroom in so they are not so intimidated by unknown scents, and waking with them in the night to take them out.
Accidents will often happen, even for the best puppy, and should be handled with care. According to the same trainer, punishing the puppy harshly will only teach him to fear using the bathroom at all when humans are around (vetstreet.com). When the puppy goes to the bathroom in the house, he should be taken outside immediately so he learns the place he is supposed to go to. Catching him in the act should come with a firm voice, and then praise when he is taken outside and successfully uses the bathroom there.
A schedule needs to be developed for them, which will cover the entire day. Puppies need to go out first thing in the morning, every hour or so after that, after they eat or nap, before they go to bed, and sometimes during the night. That's a lot of time and work! If there is no space in the schedule, or if people in the family don't want to commit to the schedule, then perhaps bringing a puppy into the mix is not a good idea.
Rewards for House-Training Puppies
- A walk around the neighborhood
- A good rubbing
- A treat such as biscuits or something more homemade
- A new toy
- A bone to chew on
Note: If deciding on using treats, remember that any added foods to the diet can disrupt it and lead to weight-gain and using the bathroom more often.
2. You Have Other Pets
This section is not saying more than one pet cannot live in a house at the same time. Oftentimes, having more than one pet in the house makes not only the humans more happy, but the dogs themselves enjoy the company. There are, however, risks when more than one dog or pet lives in the home, such as fighting between them, attacking other animals in the home, and even ganging up and attacking their humans. It is imperative for everyone to know the risks that comes with bringing a new family member into the home.
Dogs are pack animals by nature so their relationships with their humans and other animals follow the order of a pack. There is the alpha, or leader, and then the others in the pack organize themselves under that leader. Usually, there is also an omega, or bottom of the pack. A pack can be dangerous, especially if there are more than three dogs because they become impossible to control should a fight break out between them.
Dogs are not only dangerous with other dogs, but they can pose a potential threat to other pets in the house. Introducing pets to the family can be tricky and should be done carefully. Animals can be unpredictable and may react differently than one would predict.
The same also applies to babies. Animals, cats or dogs, should not be allowed too close to the child until they are old enough to approach the dog, and then the dog should be taught not to stay near the baby. As shared in a previous section, dogs can be dangerous to babies and children, and this danger only increases with the more dogs there are in the home.
Having multiple animals in the home can be a wonderful experience, but there should always be attentiveness to how the dogs behave with each other and with the other animals and people in the home.
Any bad behaviors, such as chasing, biting, leaning, and anything else that seems inappropriate or is unwanted should be corrected as quickly as possible. In general, it is suggested no more than two or three dogs live in a home at the same time. This keeps the dogs safe and happy, as well as the people living in the home.
1. You Have No Prior Experience With Dogs
Adopting a puppy is a huge, oftentimes life-altering event that needs to be taken as seriously as having a baby or moving somewhere new. Proper research into caring for them should be done to prepare for what is to come. Puppies need attention, work, and patience on the part of their new owner. Someone with no experience with dogs, especially puppies, needs to do everything they can to prepare.
Asking friends who have had dogs and who have raised puppies can help a lot as they can give real life advice articles and books may not be able to give. They can also help in taking care of the dog while the owner is learning. Friends can give helpful tips and suggestions on the best foods or vets to see. If the puppy seems ill or is acting odd, a veteran dog owner could help determine if a vet visit is needed or, if in their experience, they've seen it's nothing major, maybe suggest waiting a day or two. Sometimes dogs can get colds or sniffles and be fine in a few hours.
While a dog owner with puppy-raising experience would be able to give plenty of advice, a vet should still be sought out if there is any uncertainty as puppies are susceptible to many illnesses that are dangerous and sometimes life-threatening.
The home should be prepared for the coming puppy. A place for him to sleep, eat, and run around should be planned out. Anything the puppy might chew that is of value (puppies will almost always chew everything in their path!) should be put up out of reach. Shoes, hats, clothes, wires, bags, tools, anything rubber, and trash should be moved out of their reach until they are much older (and some dogs still dig into the trash and chew shoes even in their adult years).
There is a lot that goes into taking care of puppies and dogs, and being inexperienced can make it all the more difficult. Taking the time to do a little research and preparation can make things go all the more smoothly.
- Fox News
- USA Today
- Vet Street
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Caitlyn Booth