Reasons TO Get a New Dog:
There are a lot of great reasons to add a dog to your household. Perhaps you want an exercise partner, some motivation to get out and walk everyday. That is a great reason to get a dog.
Or perhaps you’ve taken up hunting and you’re ready to try your hand at owning and running a bird dog to help you in the field. One of the sporting breeds would likely do well in your home.
If you long for companionship and a new pup sounds like just the ticket to create more structure in your daily routine and bring some zest back into your life that is great.
Getting a new dog should be about you. Match your needs and the dogs needs to create a mutually fitting combination.
Reasons NOT TO Get a New Dog:
“Fido Needs a Friend”
There are some very wrong reasons to get a dog. The one that tops my list of bad reasons is getting a dog because your other dog “needs a friend”. I have seen this not work out way more times than I care to remember.
So often people come seeking a resolution for dog-to-dog problems within their household. The main reason they decided to add a second dog to their home is because they felt like “Fido needs a friend.”
While the intentions are to improve the happiness of the first dog, quite often it does not work out as planned.
The new dog coming in is either “too hyper” and both the owners and original dog are frustrated with the young charge after having several years of relative peace and quiet.
Or, the stronger of the two dogs begins to bully and pick on the weaker one. It is disconcerting when a new dog begins stealing the previous dog’s food, toys, and space.
Or, the first dog decides he really doesn’t want a friend and growls, snaps or walks away every time the other attempts interaction. It seems to be our human tendency to believe every dog would want another canine companion. While there certainly are times it works out perfectly fine, there are many situations where a 2nd dog only adds more stress to the household.
If you are considering getting a second dog so that your existing dog “gets more exercise” or “has more companionship” sit back for a moment and ask yourself honestly why those needs for exercise and companionship aren’t being filled by you?
Perhaps the better solution is to take more walks, spend more time playing, grooming or training and be the companion your dog needs.
If you want a second dog because you want the additional fun of providing that time for another canine, that is great. But please don’t fool yourself into thinking a second dog will do the job you should have been doing in the first place.
“For the Kids”
The second mistake is getting a dog “for the kids.” This is one of the sentiments we hear frequently at That’s My Dog!. When we are discussing dog ownership and we hear comments of frustration such as “well, he was supposed to be for the kids,” we cringe a little bit knowing we are going to have to have some uncomfortable discussions about accountability as we move forward.
It is one thing to bring a dog into the household to add to the family unit, but it is entirely another to assign any sort of ultimate ownership responsibility to the minors in the household.
Getting a young child to take full accountability for getting their dirty clothes into the laundry on time is a chore! Expecting them to be accountable for a dog for the next 10 -15 years is a responsibility few children are going to be up to snuff on.
Once the novelty of the new pup wears off, the day-to-day chores of feeding, walking, grooming and picking up after often turn into a stream of nagging about “take care of your dog!”
When you’re bringing a dog into the house, be fully cognizant that the dog is your dog. You’re the adult and the one making the decision and authorizing the okay for another living, breathing being to join the household. Sharing duties and the enjoyment of the dog with the entire family is a goal, but it is important to realize, the buck stops here in terms of who will be liable for the well being of the new pup.
It’s About You!
The moral of this story is that if you’re going to get a new dog, make sure the number one reason you are getting one is because YOU want it. If things don’t turn out as you imagine and there are problems to be solved, whether they are health problems or behavioral problems, you will be the one doing the vast majority of the work. Before bringing home the new pooch, make sure you are 100% on board with that agreement.