Last Wednesday I was in Gainesville working with a new Home Dog Training client and his Airdale named Duchess.  The biggest problems that we needed to overcome were Duchess’ constant jumping and pulling on the leash.  These are both actions caused by improper respect and focus.  After a few, short hours, Duchess was no longer jumping and she was long on her way of having a calm and focused walk with her owner.  My client was very excited with the results and we began to discuss what we were going to do at our next lesson.  At that moment, my client’s twenty-five year-old daughter joined us.  She said that she would like to get a dog because she saw how great Duchess was becoming.  She had never had a dog in her life and had just recently moved out to an apartment in downtown Fort Lauderdale and started a new job at a local Law Firm.  My first response to her was “Are you sure?”

After having trained thousands of dogs and dog families, Robin and I have experienced many situations where a client gets a dog without properly thinking it through.  They see their neighbor walking their dog at night and think it would be fun to do the same thing.  They see the great dogs on TV and think that all dogs are well behaved and never potty in the house.  They think that the kids will take care of the dog or their family will always take the dog at a moment’s notice if they want to go away on the weekend.

Well, this is not the case.  When you bring home a dog, you are creating a ten to fifteen-year commitment of support and absolute change in lifestyle.  For the reward of having a great companion that will give you unconditional love and trust, you also must pay a price.  The question is if you are willing to pay that price.

I have some simple questions that I like to ask perspective first time dog owners to help them think about their immediate decision.  I never want to force them in one direction or the other; simply provide some items for them to think about in order for them to make the right decision.

  • Do you have the time? A dog, like a child, needs your constant physical involvement.  If your day is already hectic and there aren’t enough hours in the day for what you now, how will you make time for your new dog?
  • Is your home environment suited for a dog? If you have a home filled with delicate and expensive items, you will need to be willing to redecorate to accommodate the inquisitive nature of your new dog.  You may also live in an environment that has rules about dogs and their activities.  Think about these items when considering your new lifestyle.
  • Are you allergic to fur, dust, or dander? Dogs are furry animals that collect dust and other “dirty stuff”.  That doesn’t mean they are filthy, they are just dogs.  If you are a “neat freak” or are prone to allergies, think how having a dog will impact these issues.
  • Do you have patience? Dogs are dogs.  They sometimes break things, make mistakes, mess up your schedule, eat things, etc.  If you aren’t ready to put up with a little lack of order and the ability to “give in” at times in order to “move on”, you may think a little more about getting a dog.
  • Are you ready for a long term relationship? Getting a dog isn’t like getting the new iPhone.  You don’t trade it in within a year or switch devices.  Getting a dog is a commitment of ten to fifteen years.  As your lifestyle changes in the future, are you ready to make whatever concessions necessary to maintain your relationship with your dog?
  • Is your family ready for a dog? Many times your kids will say they want a dog.  This is normally because they were watching TV or they were over at a friend’s house playing with their new puppy.  You might think you want a dog and your wife doesn’t like dogs.  Everyone must be on board in wanting a dog and everyone must commit to being responsible in caring for the dog.  (Hint: Don’t believe your kids when they say they will always feed and walk the dog.  It never happens.  Trust me!)
  • Can you afford the added expense? Getting the dog is the cheapest part.  Even if you paid a pretty penny from a breeder or pet store, the expense is only beginning.  You will have the expense of feeding, bedding, toys, treats, and vet bills.  On top this, you might have to pay for day care.  Also, if you travel, you may have the expense of dog boarding or paying extra for hotel rooms or vacation rentals that will accept animals.  No matter how much you may want a dog, if you can’t afford it, wait until you can.
  • Are you willing to train your dog? Most dogs don’t come “ready to go” when you bring them in your front door.  You need to teach them your “house rules”.  These could be things like; potty outside, don’t jump, pay attention to me, off the furniture, stay in the yard, etc.  If you don’t have the ability, time, or knowledge to properly accomplish this, you may need to engage a professional dog trainer to assist you.  This will add to your expenses and require additional time from you and your family.

Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help.  We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Gainesville Georgia.  Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Gainesville Georgia.