So You Want to Get a Dog? (Part II)

by Lara on August 31, 2011

I’m so glad that Part I of this series was helpful for some of you!

Some of the comments on that post were interesting and helpful.  Lynn pointed out that the bulk of the costs are likely to be in the first year of owning a dog, which I easily overlooked since we are still in our first year!  Laura shared that you can easily cut down on the adoption expense if you are willing to be flexible about breed.

Doggie Ownership 101, from a Rookie Puppy Parent (take it for what it’s worth, or for what it’s not)

Part II: Time and commitment 

The financial costs of dog ownership, though ongoing, are short-term for the most part.  Heavier at the beginning and end of a dog’s life, these costs can hopefully be anticipated, calculated, and budgeted for.

A more long-term aspect to consider with raising a dog is the time and commitment involved in doing so.

Some things to think about:

  • Your dog will need exercise.  Depending on the breed and size of your dog, it could need a lot of exercise.  I was shocked that my two little pups (both weighing under 10 lbs), had so much energy that needed to be expanded on a daily basis.  Are you willing to walk your dog one to three times a day?  Are you willing to take your dog to the dog park or throw a ball with him/her outside?  If you are not willing or able, are you able to hire a dog walker or doggie daycare?  Dogs that do not receive sufficient physical exercise are not only at risk for health problems, they are also much more likely to have behavior and training problems.
  • Your dog will need socialization and training.   Dogs need to be taught how to properly interact with other dogs.  You can do this through the aforementioned trips to the dog park, and/or through doggie socials and training classes.  I think all dogs can also benefit from a basic training class.  This is something we have not yet done with Pippa, and her discipline and socialization skills are dramatically different from Lulu’s (who took training classes as a puppy).  Training also provides the intellectual stimulation that all dogs need to in order to grow developmentally and behaviorally.
  • Your dog will need discipline and structure.  This isn’t a one-time thing you can accomplish in a class.  This is an ongoing commitment  to be consistent with all of the above.

Other non-financial issues you should be willing to deal with:

  • Potty training.  Some dogs get it right away.  Others, well, not so much.  If it’s the latter, this will be a good test of patience for the humans in the household.
  • Picking up #2.  Nothing drives me crazier than dog owners who do not pick up their dog’s waste!  If you’re not willing to do this, please, don’t get a dog.
  • Special circumstances.  Dogs are kind of like humans…they’re not perfect.  Besides enforcing their physical health, there are possible emotional and behavioral issues you might have to deal with despite your best training efforts.  Aggression, guarding, digging, excessive barking–these are issues that will require time and patience.  Right now we are dealing with some pretty severe separation anxiety with Pippa, and it is affecting many aspects of our daily lives.

Ah, I almost forgot!

  • Your dog will needs lots of love.  

That’s the easy part 🙂

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel August 31, 2011 at 3:48 pm

my parents never let me or my brothers have pets…i resented them for a long time because of it but now i look back and am reminded, once again, by this post that taking care of them required so much work.. but it was work well worth the effort when you are really passionate about owning an animal. now that im older i definitely know that i would love to have a dog or a cat… and at least i know i will take care of it now hehe

xoxo <3


Lara August 31, 2011 at 7:32 pm

It’s definitely a lot of work, but it is so worth it! Hope you can get one someday!


Mish August 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I love this. I remember when I dog sat, that I felt great. It was so good just to be around ‘someone’ all the time that wanted to be around you. Also, even if it was just a quick drive to the park for a quick walk around the park…I got out every single day. Sometimes it was 6 mile runs, sometimes it was 15 minute walks. It was just nice to get out. I’d love to have a dog.


Lara August 31, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I agree! It’s wonderful to have the companionship and a workout buddy! Even though we have small dogs, I’m shocked at how much exercise they need…and I’m grateful for it, too 🙂


Pure2raw twins August 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I am going to bookmark this, so when I do get my first dog I have these tips to look back at!!! and I know I will be giving my dog lots of love too 😉


Lara August 31, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I hope it’s helpful someday!


Roz@weightingfor50 September 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

HI Lara, AWWW…seems to me that your two pups are REALLY lucky. You’re a great “doggie mom”! They’re very cute, and worth all your time and effort for sure. I’m sure they add alot to your family. Give them a pat behind the ears for me!! 🙂 Have a great day.


John September 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for sharing. Puppies are cute but can be a lot of work.


Elina (Healthy and Sane) September 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

The last one definitely wouldn’t be a problem. 😉 I definitely want a dog but I’ve lately realized that I’m not quite ready for the commitment…yet.


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