If you have never had a dog before, you may think it’s a piece of cake. And it is, really, but it’s a piece of cake that will keep surprising you, so here are 10 points to consider.
They cost money
Whether you bought your dog from a breeder or got them free from an animal shelter, took them over from a friend who couldn’t cope or found an abandoned puppy in your yard one morning and took them in, there are going to be costs involved. There’s food and dog food may not be fancy, but it is a regular addition to your grocery shopping bill. Then there’s the bowls for food and water, and some bedding or a kennel. They will need to see a veterinarian from time to time, and that costs money too.
As well-behaved as your dog may be, they are still animals who don’t wipe their feet when they come in, and if you let them get up on the sofa or even the bed, they will be bringing matter and insects from the great outdoors into your clean, tidy house. This bothers some people more than others, so you will have to make your own assessment and act accordingly.
When there are toddlers in the house, many people put child-proof locks on low cupboards and drawers – just simple plastic devices that click shut and have to be squeezed to open them. While dogs don’t have hands that can open your kitchen cupboards, they do have powerful jaws, great agility and just as importantly they are inquisitive and determined. So if they think there is something interesting in the shut-off space, they will find a way of getting in there. You need to rethink what you keep in such easily accessible places, for the safety of the dog and your belongings.
Bring a dog into your life and suddenly you are responsible for the health of a living creature. They will need treatment occasionally, for routine matters as well as acquired ailments, so you will need to find a good veterinarian.
Dogs need to stretch their legs regularly, and that means you will too. This can be good or bad, depending on your own physical condition. One person’s bracing walk around the park can be another person’s stressful ordeal.
Going for that walk is going to involve keeping out of trouble, so you’re going to have to train your dog to be aware but not afraid when there are vehicles roaring past or appearing out of nowhere. On a related matter, not everybody feels comfortable with dogs, so even when you’re in the safety of a park or an open area, you can’t let your dog off the lead to race over to people and jump up on them. You’ll be all, “He won’t hurt you”, but that’s no comfort to a frightened child or an alarmed adult.
The effect on your free time
With this animal’s needs to consider, there are going to be demands on your time, and if you can see time with your dog as relaxing and restorative, that’s great, but it can also be a chore.
Out of the blue, you get invited to visit a friend out of town. Fine, jump in the car or on a plane and have a few days away. But what’s going to happen to the dog? Can you take them with you, or will you have to get someone to look after them? Suddenly there’s this restriction on your freedom.
Not everyone welcomes dogs
You want to go into this café or pub, but they don’t allow dogs, so what are you going to do? Tie yours up outside like a cowboy leaving a horse outside the saloon? Or find somewhere else with a more enlightened attitude?
Love, affection and mutual respect
There is no accounting for the love and affection that can develop between a dog and its owner or family. Not for nothing are they called “man’s best friend”. Dogs and humans have complementary attributes: We can do things they can’t, so we are very helpful in some ways, but they, in turn, have abilities we don’t and they can protect and comfort us. Some say, “I trust a dog when it doesn’t like somebody, but I never trust a human who doesn’t like dogs”. Whether you subscribe to that or not, you will find your dog senses things you may miss, and a dog can’t overthink things like we sometimes do.