What does owning a dog mean to you? Are they a companion or an accessory? A jogging buddy or security? Or is it a status symbol you are after?
And what does its owner mean to a dog?
That’s simple – a dog’s owner is their world.
So, with that in mind, if you are still in the market for one of the above how about thinking about what a dog is going to need from you rather then what you need from the dog.
First and I think most importantly – time. This dog is going to need your time and a lot of it, he not only needs it, he deserves it, so if you are going to be out of the house for 10 plus hours a day you should re-evaluate “your” need for a dog. (Or else be prepared to pay a lot of money for doggy day care).
Exercise – Dogs need a lot of it, some breeds more then others. Be realistic about how much you are going to want to walk a dog (potentially in the dark, wind and rain) and factor this into the breed you choose. Believe the breed descriptions, if it says the breed needs a lot of exercise then it’s going to need a lot of exercise. They don’t just tell you that for fun.
Training – a well-trained dog is a joy to have around, and if your dog isn’t trained and does things you consider naughty then it’s not the dogs fault, it’s yours. Even if you don’t think it is, it still is.
Dogs are intelligent animals who like the stimulation of being trained in a kind and patient way, plus they get to spend time with the person they love the most.
Inside dogs – I have never understood why someone would bother to have a non working dog stay outside all the time. Why own a dog at all? They are obviously not part of the family. To be honest I think that a dog would be better off dead then chained to a kennel all day. If your property isn’t fenced and you plan to keep it outside then DON’T GET A DOG.
De-sexing (Yes I am thinking about the dog here.). I know you wouldn’t want your male dog to roam; it is dangerous for them and potentially others so its best to get them neutered around 6 months old. This is before they are an adult and want to go looking for girlfriends. It is hard to stop a dog roaming who has developed the habit, plus the incidence of testicular cancer is higher in dogs with balls (obviously).
While I don’t think there are any negative effects of not spaying a bitch (to her), I don’t think the risk of accidental pregnancy is worth it, and would also recommend spaying at 6 months.
And finally tails, (again thinking of the dog and not ourselves). If you are getting a dog that has traditionally had its tail docked then ask yourself why? You will find that there really is no valid reason to cut off a puppies tail. It really is the most painful, awful thing, and for what?
So when considering owning a dog, examine your motives, and think about what the dogs life will be like from the dogs perspective, not yours.