Good (and Bad) Reasons to Get a Dog
Is a dog a good choice for your family?
Here are some good and bad reasons for choosing a dog as a pet for you and your family:
Companionship – Dogs are social animals that thrive on
companionship with their family. If you have the time to
invest in a dog, the rewards are enormous. On the other
hand, if your lifestyle means that most days your dog will
be left alone for long periods of time, a dog may not be the
best pet choice.
Socialization – Dogs can be a bridge to contact with
other people. Dogs require exercise and walking, and the
required activity gets people out and about. For people
living alone, a dog can increase the contact with the
outside world while providing meaning and structure to
Regular Exercise – Walking, running, and bicycling are
more fun with a buddy. A dog needs daily exercise. Along
the way you can both stay fit!
Children – Children can learn great life skills such as
compassion, responsibility, negotiation and patience by
helping to care for a pet. Realistic expectations will require
parents to supervise the interactions of a dog and their
children, but parents can set an example for their children.
It is important to remember that parents are ultimately
responsible for the care of the dog, but age appropriate
tasks can be assigned.
Companion for Your Existing Dog – Dogs are social
creatures, and many dogs appreciate the presence of a
companion dog. Sometimes two dogs can be easier and
more fun than one. But, each dog is an individual, and
if you are not sure your dog would like another canine,
consult a professional for advice
Empty Home/Empty Heart – Your last dog has passed
away. Without a canine companion, your house doesn?t
feel like a home.
Impulse – Avoid the ?doggie in the window? syndrome. Set
yourself up for success by careful planning. Getting a dog
is a life-changing decision which shouldn?t be taken lightly.
Intimidation of Neighbors or Strangers – Dogs should
never be used to intimidate those around someone.
Backyard dogs or chained dogs are not really family pets.
A whole range of behavioral issues can arise including
territorial aggression, fears, other forms of aggression, and
destructiveness to name just a few.
A Fashion Statement – Selecting a dog for personal
reasons such as being able to dress it up, carry it around
like a toy, and treating it like an accessory are not good
reasons to get a dog. Toy, miniature and teacup breeds
are dogs, not accessories. Likewise, large and impressive
breeds of dogs should not be acquired for macho
Marital or Family Difficulties – A dog will not solve
interpersonal problems among family members. The dog
is more likely to become an element of stress in such a
Nagging Children – Adding a dog to the family is a major
commitment of time and resources. Giving in to your
children against your better judgment will be a mistake. Try
getting your children involved in animal-themed activities
instead, such as volunteering at a local shelter, so they can
learn about the responsibilities of owning a dog.
A Surprise Gift – The commitment to care for a dog should
never be made for someone else. No matter how kind
your intentions, give someone a dog only after frank and
thorough discussion with the proposed recipient to be sure
that the gift will be welcome and that they are involved in
the selection process 100%.