Do you really want a dog?

Good morning, the week starts over again and I'm contemplating about what to write. I had a great weekend, enjoyed all of my kids being home and relaxing. Now onto the new week, over the years I have met so many different types of people, dog people and non dog people that I sometimes sit back and think about it all.

I have helped many people choose a breed, find a breeder, choose a shelter or rescue dog or figure out if they really should have a dog at all. Lots of people think they want a dog, some really want a dog even after weighing all the cons but some people figure out that they really don't want a dog. During a "get a dog" consultation I ask alot of questions and I am very frank about my feedback for each individual.

Many prospective canine guardians feel sheepish about answering questions like "do you care about hair all over the house?" or "do you want to spend alot of time training a dog?" These question may seem trivial and shallow to some but there is absolutely no point in getting a dog like a Golden Retriever or Labrador if you cannot tolerate alot of hair. The same goes for activity and training compatibility. Are you a couch potato? Then you are not going to understand or want the type of drive a Border Collie or or Cattledog are going to have.

It is most importance to know yourself and know what you cannot tolerate, can tolerate, learn to tolerate, absolutely love or look for in a canine companion. I remember walking through a shelter once when a volunteer asked me what I was looking for. I told her I was just looking to see if there was a certain breed in the shelter, I was actually looking for a client and for a local rescue that I regularly scoured the shelters for. With my response the woman's kind face turned into a scowl as she blurted out that if I wanted a certain breed I didn't deserve to have a dog. I could have got into it with her right there but instead I decided not to lower myself to her level, smiled and moved away quickly.

Yes it would be nice if no one had any objections to living with any type of dog but the fact is that everyone is different. And a large part of the problem with dogs being dumped is that people do not "think" before acting. I put the largest blame on pet stores (more on pet stores later) as they rely on the impulse buyer which is the complete opposite of what should be done before adding a dog to your family. It is a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.

A dog deserves a family that has committed to raising and living with them for their entire life. They are not an item that should be returned like a garment of clothes you changed your mind about. So if people take the time to figure out what they really want in a dog "before" they get the dog and not after they get the dog there would be much fewer second hand dogs.

So when I ask the questions "do you like drool," "is your family active?" "do you want a pocket pooch?" and the answer is no, I say Good! These people are doing their research first, the way it should be done.


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