- We all choose to take a dog into our lives for different reasons but sometimes it is worth taking a step back and looking at what those reasons are – and what that means for your choice. If you’re asking yourself ‘should we get a dog?’, we’ve got the perfect guide for you below. Take a look at these scenarios…
- Should I get a dog? Well, ask yourself why you want one!
- Should we get a dog just because the children want one?
- I want a dog to help me be healthier and get more exercise
- I live alone and am feeling lonely
- My old dog has died and I want to get another one
- I want to get involved in dog sports and be competitive
- Should I get a second dog? I want a dog to keep my other dog company
- Should we get a dog? – More things to consider
When you are sitting at home daydreaming of the perfect canine companion, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in that fantasy and lose sight of reality.
We all choose to take a dog into our lives for different reasons but sometimes it is worth taking a step back and looking at what those reasons are – and what that means for your choice. If you’re asking yourself ‘should we get a dog?’, we’ve got the perfect guide for you below. Take a look at these scenarios…
Should I get a dog? Well, ask yourself why you want one!
We’ve listed a few scenarios that might be prompting you to get a dog. Read on to find the pros and things to consider when thinking ‘should I have a dog?’
Should we get a dog just because the children want one?
If you’re wondering ‘should we get a dog for our kids?’, consider that growing up with a dog gives children all kinds of benefits – empathy, responsibility, boosts immune system, encourages more exercise, and gives them an understanding ear that will always listen without judgement and often be their very best friend and confidante. However, if you get a dog and expect your children to take care of them, you are probably in for a shock.
What to consider:
- Assuming you get a puppy, the life span of that dog will be somewhere in the region of 12 years (this varies with the breed). No matter how dedicated your children are, this will take them through school, homework, exams, first romantic relationships, social time with friends, higher education and quite probably, leaving home. All these are important developmental times and life stages.
- A dog needs exercise every single day – probably split into two walks, training, grooming, company, playing with, looking after and loving. The reality is that most of that dog care is going to come down to you. You can certainly expect the children to help but if you don’t really want a dog for you too – and are prepared to look after that dog yourself for the next 12 years - then this isn’t a good reason to get a dog.
- You’ll also need a kid-friendly dog breed if you have younger children in your house
If, however, you want a dog just as much as the children, and everyone in the household is in agreement, you are going to make the perfect dog-owning family.
I want a dog to help me be healthier and get more exercise
Dogs certainly do get us out and about a lot more – every single day, no matter what the weather! If you are a bit of a couch potato with fantasies of dropping half your bodyweight the week after your puppy comes home, you might need to re-think.
What to consider:
- First of all, a puppy can’t do long walks or active walks until they are much older and more mature so your exercise routine will have to start off gradually. If you are very unfit, this might be perfect for you too but if you’re planning on running a marathon next month, then a puppy isn’t going to help. You can however visit local rescue centres and start your search for your perfect canine training partner.
- Be realistic. Why are you unfit or need to get healthier? If it is because you don’t like exercise, and aren’t that keen on the great outdoors, a dog isn’t likely to help. It’s far more possible that you will continue your anti-exercise ways and your dog will become under-exercised, bored and frustrated.
- If, however, you just need that extra push or that having a dog by your side will enhance your exercise and encourage you to do even more, then you are going to be an ideal dog owner.
Just decide how much exercise you are able to do (for the next 12 years!) and choose a dog whose need for exercise matches yours.
I live alone and am feeling lonely
Dogs make for perfect companions and a house feels far less empty with a furry friend in it. Like all prospective dog owners however, take time to choose a breed that will be right for you. Many of the breeds who have developed to be companions will be affectionate, happy to share a sofa with you and not be too demanding in terms of exercise – so if that is what you want, these calm and lazy dog breeds are ideal to look at.
What to consider:
Do be aware however that most of the companion breeds do not like being left on their own as they are so bonded to their owners – it’s part of the job description! And it’s not just companion breeds either – few dogs enjoy being left on their own. This is something to consider if you live alone and there’s no one in the house to stay with your dog when you go out.
If you have the kind of life where you can take a dog everywhere you go, or can arrange dog sitters when needed, then a canine companion may well fill the gap perfectly.
My old dog has died and I want to get another one
For many people the very best way to ease the heartbreak of losing a dog is to get a puppy to try and fill the hole in their life and their heart. Sometimes, having a new pup in your life can help you to feel less lonely and you’re able to look for companionship in a new furry friend. If you’re struggling with this, read our guide on losing a pet for some support.
What to consider:
- While this is understandable, don’t make a quick decision and proceed with caution. It is easy to forget how many years it took you with your old dog to train them, teach them how to fit into your life, build the bond between you, and have the relationship that you are now missing so badly. And quite probably how unruly, chaotic and high maintenance those early years were!
- The new puppy or rescue dog can seem like a disappointment or a shock in comparison. “Why aren’t they more like…?” “…. would never have done that” and so on.
- Remember that every dog is an individual – and no new dog will ever be like your old dog. They are a new personality, have different thoughts and behaviours, and you will have a different relationship.
- Consider perhaps a totally different breed or type – so you are less likely to make comparisons, and also consider how much older you are now then when your old dog was a puppy. Maybe you are better off with a less energetic breed or one that isn’t so high maintenance.
Whatever you choose to do, never lose sight that this is a fresh start and never a replacement.
I want to get involved in dog sports and be competitive
With dog sports, you and your pooch can enjoy each other’s company. Some dog sports and activities are highly interactive between you and your dog which can give you a lot of bonding time.
What to consider:
- It’s easy to watch perfectly trained dogs competing in some of the many dog sports and think ‘I’d like to try that’ – but what you see in competitions is the result of months, sometimes years, of training and building a strong working bond. Not only that but it is also a result of years of dedication.
- If this is your goal, spend time finding out more about your chosen sport. Whether it is obedience, hoopers, heelwork to music, agility, flyball, search and rescue or any of the many other options, go to events. Watch people, talk to them and find out what the training involves.
- Choose the best breed or type of dog who will enjoy your sport of choice and have as much fun as you do. And before you rush out and get a puppy, check that the kind of dog that can do those sports will fit into your lifestyle. Most are very high maintenance dog breeds who will need a lot of time, exercise and training – that is why they can be so successful as they are generally the true canine athletes. You might want to also look for dog breeds that are easier to train.
What to consider:
- If, however, you want a second dog to try and make your existing dog behave better or to try and solve any behaviour problems, this rarely works well – and at worst, you just end up with two dogs who have issues!
- Find a behaviourist who can help you with your existing dog’s problems before bringing in a second dog – so they both have the very best chance of a problem-free life with you.
- If your existing dog is very old or infirm, a young bouncy puppy might not be fair on them, or if your dog is very young, it is better to focus your attentions on training them and building your relationship before bringing another dog into the mix who will also need a lot of your attention.
- You’ll need dedicated care to introduce your two dogs to each other – and this can take a lot of time!
Should we get a dog? – More things to consider
Now that you’ve read all the potential scenarios that could prompt you to get a dog, here are some other things to consider. Make sure to click on each one for more information.
- Choose the right dog for you and research which dog breed best suits your lifestyle
- The cost of getting a puppy is a big commitment
- How old would you like your dog to be when you get them? Different dog life stages require different training, care, dog food and more.
- Are you open to adopting? Would you adopt an older dog or adopt a puppy?
- You’ll need to do thorough research on finding the right breeder (if this applies to you)
We hope this article answering the question ‘Should I get a dog’ was helpful! Next, see our article on the benefits of getting a dog!