The ONLY Valid Reason for Having a Dog
What is your primary reason for wanting a dog?
- as company for another pet?
- because your child wants a dog?
There are many much less valid reasons which people come up with for wanting a dog, but for reasonable people, these are the most usual reasons for wanting a dog. And all are, to a greater or lesser extent, valid reasons for getting a dog, and all of them played some part in my reasoning when I decided to get my two dogs.
Of course, the best reason is for companionship, and if that doesn’t factor into your decision as your main reason for wanting a dog, then maybe you shouldn’t be getting a dog.
An alarm system is a much better option than a dog if your primary reason for wanting a dog is for protection. Of course, to choose a particular breed over another breed because of its “protection” characteristics is okay, so long as you want the dog for companionship as well.
I myself chose breeds of dogs which were likely to deter intruders to my property. An intruder would think twice about breaking into my house with a Rottweiler there to greet them! – even though my Rottie would probably wag her tail and let them in!
But this was a secondary consideration – after I’d decided that I wanted dogs for companionship.
Again, one of the reasons I got two dogs was so they’d have each other for company when I wasn’t there.
But when I’m at home, my dogs are in the house with me.
If you want two pets so you can leave them both outside without regular ongoing interaction with you, then you really don’t want a dog for the right reason.
Lastly, getting a dog for the kids … of itself, a very poor reason indeed for getting a dog. It’s a reason I’ve heard given time and time again. But it’s faulty reasoning.
How many kids do you know who take full responsibility for their pets all the time? I thought so. I don’t know any. Or wait, I did know one, and I’ll come to that, because it’s a pretty sad story.
Most kids are very keen to have a pet. They think they’ll love looking after it. And pets are good for children – IF the parents of the children also want a pet for themselves.
Let me ask you this – who looks after the pets in your household? Or if you don’t have a pet yet, who do you really think will end up looking after it?
Children are very fickle, and very selfish. This is not to downgrade kids – being selfish is in their very nature, and that’s the main reason why they need parents – to look after all their wants and needs – including looking after their pets! And children need to be watched at all times with pets – especially dogs. They have a tendency to torment and tease pets, whether intentionally or not. And children’s priorities and interests change much more often than is the case with adults.
Certainly, one reason I wanted dogs was for my son’s benefit (who was 6 when I got both my dogs, and is now 15). But I also wanted them for myself, and I suspected that my son would never take any real responsibility with them. And I was right! He loves them to bits, and cares for them when it suits him, or when he has the time, or … (you get the picture!)
And now back to that story about the boy I knew who DID actually look after his dog and whose mother had no responsibility for the dog at all (apart, I suppose, from buying the dog’s food). Well, the boy’s parents were divorced. He lived with his mother and the time came when his father moved far away, so visitation had to be for a one-month block each year. The first time he came back from visiting his Dad, his dog was gone. Mum couldn’t be bothered looking after it even for four weeks, and had “given it away”. The boy was devastated.
So if you’re not prepared to look after a dog and have it as your companion for the next 12 to 15 years (average), then don’t get a dog. If you’re not ready to feed, walk, play with and spend time every day with your dog for all those years, then don’t get a dog. If you can’t put up with the odd chewed shoe or furniture, and the odd soiling of the carpet, then definitely don’t get a puppy. If you’re not prepared to take over the dog full-time when your child loses interest after the first few weeks or months, then don’t get a dog. And if you’re not prepared to spend time and money on keeping your dog healthy, then don’t get a dog.
If on the other hand you want a loyal, longterm companion who never answers you back and is always there waiting excitedly to greet you whenever you come home, and who you’ll love spending time with and caring for, then a dog is the very best choice you can make. They’re not called “man’s best friend” for nothing.
Whether you choose to get a puppy, or an older dog, and what breed, size, or temperament of dog you think would best fit your lifestyle, is of course the next very important question …