You may not know this, but one of my dogs – Gypsy is a rescue dog. When she showed up in my life she was 6 years old. She must have been through some rough times, as she had some serious behavioural and training related issues (she was pulling on the lead, lunging, barking, wouldn’t let anyone touch her legs or belly, she was food aggressive, and she was showing signs of dog to dog aggression). After two years of hard work and training, socialising and changing her emotional respons to many things she is able now to live with another dog, enjoy her walks on, and of the lead, and is attending some wonderful dog group walks every now and than.
Why am I telling you this? The answer is simple.
I consider myself to be a responsible dog owner (I train my dogs, feed them, walk them, clean their mess, exercise them, I make sure that they have access to fresh water all the time, socialise them, I know the “leash etiquette”etc.) and I feel that as a responsible dog owner my duty is to educate other people, who may have no or very little experience with dogs and are thinking of getting one.
Every year thousands of dogs end up in shelters. Don’t let your dog to be the next one.
Before you get a dog think about the most common reasons dogs end up in shelters or rescues. Here it goes:
- Lack of training.
Dogs are not being born as an obedient, well mannered creatures. They need us to be their leaders and teachers. They need us to spend hours with them setting rules, boundaries, and teaching them desired behaviours. Puppies don’t care where they go potty, unless you show them where the toilet is, and that it is outside. People fail to take this into account and end up with untrained dogs doing potty inside, pulling on the lead, barking on people etc.
- Lifestyle changes, lack of time or moving.
People are loosing jobs, getting divorced, falling ill or simply moving. They don’t have time, place, or are overwhelmed by a dog when they have a new baby. Dogs need a lot of time and attention and when people are prioritising other things above the dog, or simply feel to stressed about something – they stop paying attention to the dog. Sometimes, when moving, people can’t take their dogs with them because their new home doesn’t allow dogs.
- Money issues.
Dogs need food, walking and grooming accessories, medicines when they get ill, toys to play with, bed to sleep on and many other things. Many people underestimate the costs of owning a dog.
I strongly encourage you to think before you get a dog.
- Do your research on the breed you are interested in.
- Make calculations and check if you can afford paying for food, toys, insurance, vet bills etc.
- Think if you can meet the dogs basic needs – will you have time to spend few hours a day with your dog? Everyday, seven days a week, all year long?
- Think if you can train your dog or if you’ll have money to pay someone else to train your dog.
- Make sure nobody in the household is allergic.
- If you’re renting, make sure that your landlord is ok with you having a dog, and think what will happen to your dog if you have to move.
- Think of what will you do when you go on holiday? Will you be able take your dog with you, or pay for kennels?
Summing up guys!
I’m sure we all love dogs, and I’m sure that there’s no other life being on this planet that can show us so much unconditional love, affection and devotion as a dog. But for the sake of these wonderful creatures – please think before you get one. And if you do, consider giving a second chance to a rescue dog.