5 Terrible Reasons for Getting a Dog.
Dogs are, undeniably, the UK’s most popular pet and there are many reasons why people decide to share their lives with one, (or more). There are so many positive benefits the companionship of a dog can bring – they make wonderful buddies. They are loyal, extremely clever and just simply, great fun to have around. However, it is still important to think carefully about your reasons for getting a pooch in the first place. People still have some terrible reasons for getting a dog – read on for the 5 worst.
Try and be honest and consider what the consequences might be if your choice does not meet your expectations. Many families decide to get a puppy and, sadly, soon discover that dog owning was not quite what they expected. Nowhere was this more apparent during the periods of Covid-19 lockdowns. So-called pandemic puppies were bought by many more people than usual in previous years.
Working from home became the norm and many families saw this as an ideal time to purchase a puppy. However, since then, many people have now returned to the work-place – leaving their dogs home alone. Since 2019, studies have revealed an increase in the levels of anxiety in pet dogs. This has had an impact on how people cope with their pets and, as a result, many thousands are now in rescue centres awaiting new homes.
While the pandemic puppy situation was unique, people still purchase puppies for all the wrong reasons. For example, there are still a great many people who buy puppies at Christmas, many of which end up in rescue kennels in the New Year.
Lets take a look at 5 of the worst reasons for choosing to get a dog, or puppy.
To teach children how to be responsible.
Dogs can teach children a variety of things from compassion, to kindness and respect for others. Having a pet can also provide children with an appreciation of the outdoors and physical activity, as well as an understanding of bereavement.
However; young children should not be expected to take complete responsibility of a dog, (or any pet come to that). At the end of the day, it is the parent who has to want the dog primarily. Nobody should be swayed by constant demands from younger members of the family to get a dog. Sadly – all too often – the novelty very quickly wears off.
As a fashion accessory.
Small ‘handbag dogs’ are all the rage – in the same way clothing and hairstyles can be. However, small dogs still need to be cared for just like their larger cousins. They still need walking, training and socialisation, just like any dog.
A friend to come home to after a long day at work.
Believe it or not, lots of people get dogs for this very reason without considering the dog’s feelings, or welfare. As a result, many dogs are left alone all day, every day of the working week. Unfortunately, it takes only a few weeks, or even days in some cases, for owners to realise what a mistake they’ve made.
Instead of the romantic idea of the dog making the house feel like a happy home with a welcoming tail wag, the reality is usually quite different. It is likely there will be a great deal of mess to clear up. Belongings and furnishings may have been trashed by a lonely hound.
Company for another dog.
Again, this might seem reasonable enough and it can work. But remember – if the existing dog already has behaviour issues – particularly if he was bought for the above reason and left home alone all day – adding another dog to the mix is very likely to double the trouble.
Before you add another dog to the mix, make sure your existing dog is well trained. Don’t assume that if your current dogs suffers from separation anxiety, another dog will cure this. It very likely won’t.
As a surprise gift to someone else.
This phenomenon happens often – I heard an anecdote only the other day about someone who bought a dog for an elderly relative, only to quickly discover the recipient of the dog was just physically unable to care for it appropriately.
Dogs are not inanimate objects and should never be given as surprise gifts. If you would like to buy a dog for another person, discuss it with them beforehand. Make sure they absolutely want a dog and, if so, what type. Accompany them to breeders to see puppies, or rescue centres for older dogs. Offer to pay for the dog, or puppy, when the time comes – but never give someone an unexpected gift of a dog. Never get a dog to give as a Christmas gift.
The decision to bring a dog into your home should always be given careful thought. All members of the family need to be in agreement. Depending on the age and breed of the dog, you could have him, or her, with for 10 – 15 years. Therefore, it is quite a commitment.
The canine species are wonderful creatures and add so much to family life, so it is sad to see so many in rescue shelters – given up because owners hadn’t realised quite what owning a dog entails.