Puppies Are Not Christmas Gifts
With Christmas around the corner, millions of dogs around the world are gearing up for the heartbreak that may follow this special holiday. Movies and TV have given people the idea that puppies and kittens make heartwarming holiday gifts for kids, spouses and other significant others. Animal cruelty is more than just physically or verbally abusing ones pet. While most receive a shiny wrapped present under the tree, the puppy receives severe depression when those shelter gates close after forming a bond with its new family. Don’t even think about adopting if you’re not ready for the list below.
Not Trained Out of The Box?
The number one reason why people kick their “pets” to the curb is simply due to ignorance. They adopt a cute puppy that is super playful in the moment but later won’t stop peeing on the carpet or chewing on furniture. They begin yelling and screaming at the confused little pup, simply because the owner thinks commands such as “sit” or “off” are standard equipment. Training puppies takes serious dedication and patience yet most will throw in the towel just weeks after that “special” Christmas gift. Holiday time is a really a difficult time to keep to a proper house training, feeding and elimination schedule and it’s vital to start house training on day one and establish an effective schedule on which the pup can learn to rely on his human caretakers. Read On The Verge Of Returning Your Puppy? to learn the basics of training your puppy.
You Better Be Ready:
- What You See Is What You Get: Often people go to the shelter or pick out a puppy, assuming the personality they see right there and then is the dog they will have for life. Yes, it may be playful for the 30 minutes that you got to spend time with it, but don’t be supersized when it goes around barking and eating everything. Dogs must be trained and everything that they do wrong is most likely your negligence to properly train. You forge the dog’s personality and manners.
- Potty Training: This is the most annoying and frustrating phase of adopting any pet. It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. That’s right, your cute puppy will have accidents for a very long time, so be ready to be calm and understanding. Showing violence will only confuse the dog, and not get you any further.
- Dogs Can’t Speak English: Your new dog will not understand a word you say to it. You actually have to teach what “no” and “drop it” mean. For some alien reason, people will return their puppies and say “He does not listen”.
Commitment of 10-20 Years
Don’t do the crime if you’re not willing to do the time. Animal shelters are filled beyond capacity with homeless animals, many of whom were former “pets” all because a child lost interest and no one else stepped in and took the time to provide training and care. You’re not buying something that one can stick in the addict and forget it ever existed. Dogs require love, finances, training, and countless hours of attention. When you adopt a dog, it is for life. You have to be prepared to adapt as life circumstances change — for example, if you have to move, you’ll need to take the extra time to find a new home that allows dogs.
Commitment Means More Than Owning:
- Love and Compassion: You will be the only person that this animal will love and trust. Rich, poor, ugly, or depressed, your dog will love you and die by your side. They will protect and follow your lead no matter where life takes you. Committing to this relationship means giving 110%. Breaking the dogs heart is just as bad as hitting them.
- Grooming: Brushing, bathing, nail trimming, care of teeth and gums, ear care, etc. Some breeds require more grooming than others and some will shed a lot, so be ready to clean.
- Sacrificing Fun Times: Look, sometimes you will have to say no to that after work dinner because there is a hungry dog waiting for you at home. There will be times when vacations will be canceled because of a medical emergency that require immediate veterinary attention.
- Consistent Training: Like humans, dogs require a steady regiment to truly master obedience and other tricks. Too many owners spend quality training time with their four-legged companions to later ignore the consistent regiment required to cement the desired behavior in their little heads.
Not Ready For The Bills
You can pick up just about any dog for under 100 bucks, but there is a catch. Like automobiles, pets require regular maintenance and consistent fuel to ensure they function properly. The cost of owning a dog can be quite surprising. The ASPCA estimates that the first-year cost of owning a cat or dog runs between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on size. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to budget for a dog before getting one, leading to trouble down the road. Emergencies do happen and the potential owner needs adequate finances to ensure proper treatment. It’s essential that the potential dog owner is not suffering from crippling debt or low income as it is one of the top reasons why so many pets end up in shelters.
The Basic Costs:
- Medical Expenses: Routine veterinary exams, flea protection, and heart worm prevention will add up overtime. Don’t be surprised when your puppy gets sick and needs $300 dollars of medications and potential thousands on x-rays and other expenses. Spay or neutering can run you an easy $500. Like children, dogs break bones, eat the wrong foods and catch diseases that will require medical attention.
- Food and Treats: Quality perineum food can easily run 50-100 dollars per month. Furthermore, expect to pay up an additional 20-50 dollars per month in treats for training and rewarding.
- Beds/Crates/Toys: While toys are relatively inexpensive, crates and beds can easily cost from 20-200 dollars depending on the size of your pet. You will have to buy new toys and eventually invest in new beds as time goes by.
- Pet Sitting: Most people will need to leave their dogs behind once or twice a year. Typically, this will cost about $100-300 a year. However, if you travel frequently, expect to spend much more.
Connecting With The Animal
There are countless breeds to choose from and even more personalities that can alter how your pet ownership will go. Like us, dogs fall into different personality types, and can show more than one type. We all know someone who’s the life of the party, someone who is quiet and reserved, or one who will do whatever is necessary to get ahead. One critical mistake that uneducated first time owners make is adopting the super energetic dog that is too much too handle for the family. The potential owner should spend quality time with the pet they will want to adopt and fully understand that some dogs will need more stimulation than others. Some require minimal play time while other require daily hours in the park on top of hiking trips. Just because one German Shepherd is energetic does not mean that all are.
Type of Dog Personalities:
- The Shy/Low Energy: Requires an owner who can give calm, consistent and patient understanding, with sensitivity to his needs and feelings. A shy dog doesn’t like being in uncomfortable situations or around sudden or loud noises. These dogs are typically to themselves in the shelter and may not express immediate play. Low energy dogs are great for families that cant invest countless hours of stimulation and will not suffer property damage if left bored for too long.
- The Maniac/ High Energy: These dogs are fantastic for people that are adventurous and have an active lifestyle. Adopting a high energy dog that is later not stimulated enough will get bored and begin to take your home to shreds. These are typically “working” dogs that can be a handful for first time dog buyers.
Adopting a new puppy is one of the most exciting and frustrating times of dog ownership. First time owners see a cute face that only wants to play and cuddle but don’t understand the hurdles that will surface in the first 6 months. Unfortunately, countless newbie owners get overwhelmed by the puppy biting, constant accidents or what seems to be a dog that never listens, and return the pup to a dirty shelter. Enjoy the holidays with the family and if you’re still interested in adopting and committing the next 10-20 years of your life, take the time to educate yourself ask others for advice. Understand that you’re not adopting a toy, you are adopting a family member that will love you more than any living human on this planet.
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