Do you want a dog?
There are a lot of wonderful reasons to want a dog to become part of your life. People want a dog for love, companionship, and even an exercise partner. But beware if you want a dog for one of the following reasons.
For your child
When you buy a puppy for your kids, be well aware that the person cleaning up the dog poo, filling the water dish, letting the dog out at six in the morning will be… you. Do you think that your children will take care of the dog’s feeding, watering, and walking? If so, think again…
Your kids may spend a great deal of time playing with a new puppy during the honeymoon period when you first get your dog. However, they’ll likely play with the puppy a little bit less and less as time goes on. Children, especially young children, also need to learn how to treat a dog, and guess who’ll be teaching them? Yes, you… more work…
Your children’s interests and activities will change over the years. A six-year old may want a dog and love romping with your puppy in the back yard, but when he’s 13, he’ll likely be far more interested in playing video games and hanging out with friends, leaving amusing the dog up to… you, again. Do you see a pattern?
There’s also the chance that rambunctious children (often through roughhousing that gets unintentionally carried away) can hurt a small puppy, or that a larger, rambunctious dog could unintentionally hurt a child.
Some breeds of dogs may have aggressive or herding instincts that you may need to teach your children about to reduce the risk of the children getting hurt. You may need to constantly watch over the kids and the dog to make sure that neither hurts the other.
As a guard dog
A security fence, an alarm system, or other security measures may be a lot more effective than a dog in about 99% of situations. What will happen to the dog if his protection is no longer needed? Will you still want the dog? This taken into consideration when choosing a dog, a guard dog can be really effective in some business or agricultural situations when the owner or trainer is well versed in dog training and handling.
To attract women
Well, OK, there’s definitely some truth to this one. My husband swears that he was swarmed by all shapes and sizes of women when he used to walk Buster, his sister’s Terrier/Lab cross puppy in the park. But consider that you have to live with this dog 24 hours a day, seven days a week, possibly for 12 to 15 years. Is it worth it just to get some short-lived attention from potential mates?
Because the breed is popular
This is likely one of the worst reasons to want a dog, with the exception of breeding puppies for profit. First of all, dogs are often portrayed inaccurately in TV and the movies.
Remember the easygoing, intelligent, happy dogs in the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians? Well, the reality is that Dalmatians can be willful, difficult to train, and, at the risk of offending all the Dalmatian lovers out there, well, they’re a little bit dumb. Lovable, but dumb. And definitely not much like the animals in 101 Dalmatians.
Most of the time, dogs in movies and TV are also often fairly rare or unique breeds that aren’t really suitable to live in most family situations. Perhaps most importantly, a surge in popularity of a specific breed due to a TV show or movie tends to encourage unethical breeders, whose motivation is almost purely money. For these breeders, money takes precedence over the dog’s health, welfare, or temperament.
To breed puppies
Stop right there. Do not pass go. Do not collect any money. Really, don’t.
Remember, millions of dogs are euthanized every year because they are unwanted. Do you want to be responsible for adding more dogs to the list?
Even if you’re sure that you’ll be able to get good homes for the dogs, weigh the long-term issues. What will you do if one of the homes decides to return a dog a few months after buying it? If you take it back, it’s going to be really hard to re-sell a four-month old puppy. Most people only want puppies at about eight weeks of age.
If you refuse to take it back, do you have the heart to be partly responsible for the new owners sending the dog to a shelter?
It’s expensive and time consuming to breed dogs responsibly. You need to provide food, shelter, veterinarian care, and training, not to mention deal with prospective buyers, place ads, and try to build a reputation as a breeder.
I’d really only recommend becoming a breeder if you do it purely for the love of the animals, and have an almost unlimited supply of patience, money, time, and space.
Because the puppies are free
Dogs are a major drain on finances, time, patience, and even physical health (think lack of sleep with a new puppy), making even a free dog a major investment. Avoid choosing a dog on impulse simply because the puppy is free. There’s nothing wrong with getting a puppy for free, as long as you understand the real costs associated with getting a puppy.