Welcome to Lesson 3

Should I Get A Dog?

This lesson is about whether you are ‘the right material’ for dog ownership.  Dog ownership is a huge test for even the most devoted dog-lover.  You need to be ready for what’s to come.

Most people think they’re ready for a dog and they’re not.  There’s a world of difference between thinking you’re ready and knowing that you are.

To my mind, being ready for a dog involves being absolutely sure that you have passed five tests:

  1. Time
  2. Patience
  3. Love
  4. Money
  5. Absolute commitment
Time

You need a lot of time to take on a dog, no matter what breed or mix it is.  Dogs devour time.  You’re probably thinking that a dog needs time for its daily walks and that’s about it.  Daily walks are important, but there are so many other things you need to do with or for your dog which eat up the hours.

On top of the daily walks, what about time for play?  Throwing balls in the garden or playing tug of war?  Many dogs both love this and need it as one to one time with you. What about preparing your dog’s food and washing up afterwards?  What about basic healthcare time – cleaning your dog’s teeth, taking them to the vet for vaccinations or medical treatment?  What about shopping for dog food, toys, treats, coats, leads, collars and baskets? What about arranging and going to/from dog day care or boarding kennels?

And finally, on top of this, what about time to put into training?

Dogs do not come pre-programmed.  Training and socialisation of a puppy or an adult dog from rescue can take many hours every day.  When I first got ‘naughty lurcher Pip’ in March 2014, he was so lacking in social and training skills that I was doing some form of training for most of my waking hours. High energy breeds that are working breeds can often demand stimulation like agility, obedience and flyball to exercise their bodies and their minds.

Patience and Love

Yes indeed! These are things you must have an abundant supply of!  You need the patience and love to deal with a sick dog, an injured dog, a badly behaved dog, a dog that needs training, exercise, socialisation, a dog that wants to lie on your lap when you are working at the computer and so on.  You need the patience and love to spend what seems like half your life saying ‘No! Enough! Come here! Sit! Stay! Off! Quiet! Down! LEAVE IT!’

If you are not a tolerant person with an endless supply of patience and love that’s refreshed back to 100% each and every morning when you get out of bed, do not get a dog.  Your patience will be tested several times a day, and you will need to sustain this patience and love for 10-12 years at a time.

Money

The cost of owning a dog over its whole life is something most people never consider when they get one.  Before you even get a dog you need to be sure that you actually always have a healthy surplus in your bank balance at the end of each and every month.  We look in more detail at budgeting and how much dogs cost in the next lesson.

Absolute commitment

You will need absolute commitment to this dog for the rest of its life.  That’s 10-12 years on average and a lot more for some dogs. That’s making sure you dog gets everything it needs, when it needs it and for the amount of time it requires. That means exercising it twice a day even when it’s throwing down with rain and blowing a howling gale, paying £40 per bag for grain-free hypoallergenic dog food, taking it to the vets as soon as there is a problem and so on. You dog relies on you to meet all of its needs, so you need to be able to step up and put your dog first at all times, no matter what.

These 5 tests or attributes are non-negotiable.  Every successful dog owner has them in buckets.  If you don’t, then you should not get a dog.  I promise that if you can’t comply with all these requirements then getting a dog would be a huge mistake, for you and the dog. That does not mean you will never get a dog – just that you’re not ready for it now.

Lesson 3 coursework

This is your biggest test in the course.

Look at these 5 attributes and be absolutely and brutally honest with yourself.  Do you truly have what it takes?

If you can’t honestly answer a big fat and whole-hearted  ‘YES’ to every single one, then a dog is not for you.  There are pets which are less demanding and you should look at those instead.

Remember, all this is provided in your free course book, at the end of the course.

Look out for Lesson 4 in your e-mail!

Bev x

 

 

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