Dog Ownership: 8 Factors to Consider

While I’d be among the first to claim the pluses of dog ownership outweigh the minuses, there are some inconveniences.

Make that, nuisances.

If you’re considering adding a fur-kid to your household, you might want to factor in the following:

1) Picking up poop. Of course you’ll need to scoop your dog’s waste during his walks, but you might also have to in your yard. Especially if your dog, like mine, has a propensity toward eating his own waste. Nasty habit. Nasty doggie-breath, too!

2) Walking in inclement weather. Dogs are like that ad the U.S. Postal Service used to run: ‘Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.’ Sadly, few of them read the word “swiftly.” Nope, they saunter along, sniffing every blade of grass and trying to leave evidence they passed by. And they don’t care if it’s 90 degrees outside or if it’s 25 with snow on the ground.

3) Chewing. Puppies chew. They’re teething, and their gums hurt, so they try to ease the pain by chewing. If you don’t provide acceptable things for them to gnaw (like toys and bones), and if you don’t train them NOT to, you’ll find them chewing furniture, staircases, your good shoes, whatever they can get their jaws around.

4) Jumping. Perhaps it’s just a dog’s nature, but most breeds seem to want to get right in a person’s face and they rise to their back legs to do so. People who are jumped on — whether they know or don’t know your dog — can be frightened, especially if the dog is large. Responsible owners will train their pets not to jump on people.

5) Separation anxiety. Some dogs get so tethered to their family that they “unwind” when they’re left behind. The family leaves for town, and these poor creatures cry, bark, race around the house and up and down stairs. They take their frustrations out on furniture, magazines, etc.; some even “forget” they’ve been housebroken, and you know what that means — a mess for you to clean up upon your return!

6) Vomit. Gross, I know, but think about it. If your kid gets sick, you clean it up. Same thing goes for your dog.

7) Finances. Take a dog into your life and you’re responsible for his needs (food, shelter, medical, entertainment) for LIFE. If the dog gets sick, you pay for his treatment (and most insurance policies don’t cover pets). If the tiny fur-ball grows into a 150-lb. “horse,” you still have to feed him!

8) Time. Some people are just too busy for a dog. Maybe they travel; maybe their lives are filled with work, friends, volunteering. A dog needs lots of attention, and it’s cruel to expect him to live in a crate 24 hours a day.

Okay, can you think of other reasons not to get a dog?


18 thoughts on “Dog Ownership: 8 Factors to Consider

  1. Outstanding post, Debbie! And you hit on many important things about owning a dog. I was raised in a family that own dogs, so I know these 8 factors to be true. At one point we had two dogs (a German Shepherd and a Yorkie Poo).

    Yes, having a dog is an utter delight, but you’re right, it takes care and responsibility.

    Again, awesome post!

    Happy Wednesday to you!

    P.S Love your new blog template. Faaaaaaaaaaabulous!

  2. Ron, thanks for verifying what I’ve found — that dogs, despite all the love and companionship they offer, can be total BABIES, needing lots of attention!

    Glad you like the new look. I don’t want to confuse people, but sometimes I get bored with same-old, same-old.

    Happy middle-of-the-week right back at ya!

  3. All great points, Debbie! And another thing that’s really important to consider is where you’re at in life. Getting a puppy when you have babies or toddlers can be an added challenge that proves to be too much for some people. Children understandably take priority over the family pet. Adding a puppy during this stage of life may mean the fur-kid ends up neglected.

    I can, however, vouch for the benefits of getting a dog when the nest begins to empty. 🙂 My Lucy is so loved and spoiled, she probably thinks she’s the family princess!

    • You’re so right, Terri, and thanks for pointing this out. Too often, well-meaning parents get a companion for their toddler, then live to regret it when they (already over-worked) end up caring for the pet. But having a pet has helped many a senior citizen weather the hardships of loss of spouse and friends.

  4. Love the “new look.” Very nice.
    Good pup ownership points, all of them. A crate is a dog owners best friend 😀 The only one I would add is research what your future family member was bred to do–even shelter dogs have primary characteristics. Each breed brings blessings and curses. A sheltie is smart, willing, and pretty—they are also noisy, and hairy (no offense Dallas). My Jack Russell is the love of my life, and is spooky smart but please don’t confuse smart with obedient. My beagle will always alert me to what he feels needs my attention with a loud piercing howl and continue until I acknowledge is “find.”
    Perhaps one of your best points is about jumping. Nobody and I do mean nobody from kids to seniors likes to be jumped on.J umping can be tamed with basic obedience and every dog owner needs to make the effort to teach there pup to keep 4 paws on the floor.
    AND I will never live without a pup,; a life without a little dog vomit is not the life for me. 😀

    • I knew you’d understand, Kb! And research really is key. Having had one Sheltie, I pretty much knew what I was getting into. The barking, the fur… But thankfully, Dallas is much more in tune with me than the first one was!
      For the life of me, I can’t understand why somebody gets a terrier, for instance, then complains when she digs in their garden. Likewise for retrievers who refuse to stay out of water puddles.
      Obedience training definitely is a must. Coming when called could be crucial for a dog’s safety. And it seems that an owner has no one to blame but himself when the dog — doing what’s natural to her — becomes a “nuisance.”

  5. My kids always had a dog growing up – which so often became my responsibility – this would be good for anyone to read who has kids begging for that puppy, please, pleasssssse, pleasssse – because in the end the puppy is a lot of work and responsibility – which are good life lessons, as well as the unconditional love they exude and the bond with them. We don’t have one now but I remember those years.

    • I’m glad you brought that up, Barb. My folks, too, bought into the arguments we kids used (we’ll take care of it — honest!), but when we saw the dog becoming “Daddy’s dog,” we gladly backed away. It’s a good thing for the dog that somebody was willing to take care of it!

  6. Well, with a fifteen-year-old Yorkie-poo and our acquired Yorkie that has seizures, the messes on the floor come to mind. Every day, sometimes several times a day, I’m cleaning. It kind of ties into your #1, but it’s on a new level because I have to not only pick/wipe it up, I then have to sanitize my floor.

    You’ve listed some good points here, but we have to remember that there are pros and cons to anything. In the case of pet ownership, I think the pros outweigh the cons. That being said (don’t hate me) I have to admit that I’m a cat person- I love dogs, but I’m partial to cats 🙂

    • I have to admit, I’m not really looking forward to “senior dog” years! You must be earning your angel-wings, Janna, for doing the cleanup/sanitize thing on a regular basis.

      No, I don’t hate you for loving the cats more — it’s really just a preference. I never had a cat, so I didn’t get used to them. I understand they’re pretty independent, though, and self-sufficient, too. But don’t they cough up fur-balls??

      • Oh, I doubt I’m getting angel wings, Debbie. There’s plenty of grumbling (it gets frustrating.)

        Hehe…yep, fur balls do happen (that would go on the ‘con’ list!) Regular brushing helps, though. The cats I have now aren’t too bad, but the kitty I had as a kid had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). That wasn’t pretty. I think it’s the independence that I like. We can go out of town for a weekend camping trip and with a little preparation, they’ll be fine. Not so, with dogs.

        • You’ve got a point with the independence. I either take my dog with me or have him boarded. It’s rather like having a child ALL the time, ha!

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