Becoming a dog owner requires responsibility and commitment. Sadly, many dogs are abandoned or mistreated because many people take dog ownership lightly; forgetting that caring for a living creature has economical, as well as emotional implications. A pet is not only there to make you and your family happy, they also have needs that have to be taken into consideration. Before you bring a dog to your home, you need to be prepared to be a good owner. These are some of the most common mistakes that people make when getting a dog. If you are a true animal lover, you will avoid making a rushed decision that could have a negative impact for you and the dog.
Getting a dog just to please a child
This mostly happens when parents, willing to please their kids’ every wish, buy a puppy as a present. Holidays, birthdays, reward for good grades, whatever the reason, some people, use dogs are as treat to indulge their children. Quite often, puppies end up being regarded as the latest toy and when children get bored, the problems start. A dog can be a great way to teach your children about responsibility, but if you are not willing to deal with it yourself, the dog will suffer the consequences.
In some cases, due to economical difficulties, dogs are abandoned, sent to a shelter or euthanized, simply because the owners don’t have the means to keep them. If you made the decision to bring a dog into your family, you need to make sure that you are going to be able to maintain them. Remember that just as any other family member, they need to be fed and their health has to be checked regularly.
It doesn’t mean necessarily that if you get a dog because your child is begging you for one, you are bound to be a bad dog owner. As long as your decision is not only based on your child’s joy, but also in the careful consideration of all the factors involved, a dog will be a wonderful addition to your family as a member for life.
Getting a dog as a fashion statement
This one may seem far-fetched but unfortunately, there are people out there that want to have a dog just because “it looks cute”. For a while, having a small dog became a trend amongst certain celebrities. It should go without saying that dogs are not fashion accessories. If for you being a dog owner is a novelty, you are definitely not the right person to look after a dog’s welfare.
Getting a dog when you have a busy schedule
Some people get a dog to have company or to mind their place while they are away. While dogs are great companions and can be excellent guards, keep in mind that you also need to have time to dedicate to them. A dog also needs good training and if your schedule is too hectic, you won’t be able to achieve this. Leaving your dog alone for extended
periods of time can lead to behavioural problems. They may end up chewing on your furniture, destroying clothes and using the living room as their toilet. Dogs also need exercise and if after a long day in work, all you have in mind is sleep, you will not be able to bring them for their much needed walk.
The responsibility that comes with having a dog cannot be stressed enough. You may love them but if you don’t have the time or energy to give them, you won’t be a good dog owner.
Getting the wrong dog for you
The dog’s welfare should be a primary concern but you also need to think about the type of dog that would suit you and your family best. If you have children, you are better off opting for a patient, yet energetic breed that will be able to cope with the play demands and occasional recklessness of a child. Of course, you need to be prepared to teach your kids to treat the dog with love and respect but while they are in the learning process, why add extra concern with a breed that is not exactly known to be child-friendly. Short- tempered dogs such as Chihuahuas, Toy poodles and Dobermans are not the best choice for a household with small children.
You also need to keep in mind your lifestyle. An energetic breed that is easy to train would be ideal if you are an active person that loves the great outdoors. Golden retriever, Irish setter and Cocker spaniel are some of the breeds whose nature makes them eager to exercise.
When you take into consideration all the other factors such as space (house or apartment), activity (are you looking for a dog for a specific task, e.g. a guard dog) and environment (country or urban life), you should be able to make a good decision. Just remember that being a dog owner calls for leadership, responsibility, patience and most of all, love. If you open your life to a dog, you have to be willing to give your best and you can be sure that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences.
Jessica Thomas is a Dog Lover and writes for http://care4mydog.com