I will probably be making more posts on the subject of being a responsible dog or puppy owner/potential owner because this is a cause that is so important to me. I’m honestly so angry that so many great pets,such as dogs end up in shelters and meet horrible ends which could have been prevented if we were all just more responsible. I’m not here to sugar coat my message as I want to hold people accountable for their actions and to teach them to be more responsible with dogs and their lives. I know what it’s like to be fortunate to have a dog in my life and the joy they can bring to you. I’ve adopted two dogs in my lifetime, one was my first dog who my parents adopted for me from Happy Paws Farm in Arlington Washington when I was 14. She was a dog who loved affection and would often demand belly rubs or fight you for dry garlic spare ribs from Chinese takeaway, she was also my best friend. While my second fur baby, who happens to be my Fiancé’s first ever dog, (and the dog you see all over this blog) is Bear. We adopted Bear while living in Sint Marteen from the organization SXM Paws . Bear travels all over the world with us, and we can’t help but spoil him with quality food, playtime and a lot of love. Whenever I hear horror stories including ones of abuse and neglect/ shelter stories I always hug Bear because I couldn’t imagine how someone could be so cruel or irresponsible to a dog just like him.
I know that not every person is lucky enough to have a dog, while others aren’t lucky enough to even comprehend that dogs are in fact a living creature with feelings. I want to my blog to be able to promote a message that benefits these lovable creatures, and to teach people that a dog in your life means you must be committed and responsible to them for life. I also want to make sure that dogs can have a life that they deserve with humans who ACTUALLY deserve them. That’s why this post is intended for first time possible dog owners, with helpful questions that you should consider or ask yourself before you even make this great commitment. As a society we have a problem with allowing dogs to end up in shelters. Now if people were a little bit more considerate, or even took the time to fully understand what it means to even have a dog, I think we’d have far less dogs ending up in shelters. That’s why I decided to make a post with questions you should ask yourself and consider before bringing home a canine companion.
- Do I have enough patience?
Patience is one of the most important things you as a person will need if you’re going to be a dog owner. If you want to train your dog, you’ll need the patience to do so or else training will not be a productive experience for you, or your dog and you will end up frustrating each other. You also need this patience to help you understand your pet, they cannot communicate the way we do but it is your responsibility to learn what their body language means, to their various tones of barks and soon you will be able to understand what your dog is trying to tell you, or what they want to what they like or even understand what scares them. You also need to be patient with dogs who have been newly introduced into your home as they need to adapt and learn (with positive reinforcement) what is acceptable behaviour from them and show them by rewarding them frequently for being well behaved. Remember the rewards and praise should always outweigh the word use of “no”. Patience is always the key to most things in life.
Do I have enough time?
Time is something you will need if you want a dog because they aren’t like us who can just entertain or take care of themselves. You’ll never see a dog putting on an episode of Riverdale on Netflix, instead they’ll bring you their favourite toy and demand playtime from you. Dogs also cannot be neglected for long periods of time and deserve stimulation especially mental and physical. ( Mental activities include: Sniff work, training, new experiences, Physical” exercise) And, you’ll also need the time to walk them which will contribute to a calm, and well behaved dog in your home. Those are just a few examples.
- Will I provide my pet with adequate exercise and playtime?
This fits in with time! Our dogs were originally bred to do “work” and “jobs” alongside humans and now our pets have become family members. Our dogs deserve exercise whether that is taking them to a local dog park or finding a secluded and safe spot for them to run around, to walking them a few hours each day in addition to playtime, this is a big commitment that benefits your dogs mentally and physically. Never look at long walks with your dog as grueling but as a way for you to both be healthy and enjoy each others company outside, or while hiking. You’ll also see that a lot of our dog’s behaviour problems will stem from having too much energy and our dogs will then find ways to entertain themselves that may come across as them being destructive. But once again our dogs cannot occupy themselves with Netflix, or by settling in with a good book. And that’s why walking our dogs are important, it also combats obesity. Anyways, walks are everything to our dogs, and playtime brings them joy, you have to be committed to this everyday.
- Will I be able to afford all the toys and good quality food?
Anything pet related is actually quite costly, and dogs deserve to eat good quality food, and to have toys to play with. There are ways to save money on dog toys (which I’ll discuss in future posts) but you have to make sure you’re able to afford your pets leisure expenses as well as feeding costs.
- Can I afford vet bills
When our pets get sick, or need vaccinations or paperwork etc, it is expensive to take them to the vet. A lot of individuals end up discarding their pets when they fall sick, or are old and this is something that always angers me. Our pets deserve to be taken care of, and that’s why you also have to consider health costs and once again understand that you as a human being are responsible for your pets health and you cannot just toss them aside when they are ill because that makes you a horrible person, who does not deserve a dog!
- Do I fully understand this dog breed?
So many people like to pick out a dog based on their childhood dreams of owning a lassie, or the littlest hobo. But if you’re someone who is a couch potato do you really think a German Shepherd is the right breed for you? NO, use your brain. This dog was meant to work, to run and has so much energy they need to be with someone who is on par with their activity level. So please before you even pick a dog to bring home take the time to learn about their breed, or even learn more about the dog and whether you can be fully committed to them for life, especially towards their needs.
- Will I be able to commit to them for life.
Once again, a dog in sickness or in health is a lifetime commitment! Please be considerate before making a choice.
- Can I commit to training them
This is something that will help you and your dog understand each other in the long run, and teach them how you’d like them to behave. Training is not an overnight success story (same goes for getting that six pack of abs) and takes months to years.
- Can I blame myself if my dog chews my favourite pair of shoes?
Once again recognizing unwanted behavioural causes/ habits is important if you’re going to be a responsible pet owner. You will also have to accept blame if your dog chews something you love, especially if your dog is a puppy who is chewing. You need to be more responsible, don’t let them get access to things that are off limits, and reward them for chewing dog approved items, and if they aren’t a pup try to see if your dog didn’t get enough exercise that day- maybe that’s why they are behaving badly, and who’s fault is that? Yours because you’re supposed to walk your dog, and that is your responsibility.
- Can I make sure my pet has optimal health? (groom them and inspect them often)
You must also commit to grooming expenses whether you cut their nails, wash them or brush their teeth all on your own. You also have to be committed to doing this often for optimal health of your pet. And, don’t forget to inspect them often for any suspicious growths/ bites or injuries.
- Am I a responsible person?
Are you responsible? Talk to your damn self about this, or those close to you to determine if you are responsible. If in doubt.
- Do you understand that dogs are a lifetime commitment?
Can you be responsible for these lovely creatures for life, ask yourself that please as this can save so many dogs lives in the long run.
M & Bear