I’ve said it before and will say it again—I have made a LOT of mistakes with our dogs over the years. So, do as I say, not as I do is today’s topic.
Let’s jump right in with the don’ts of dog ownership.
#1 Don’t make an emotional decision
Making an emotional decision about anything is usually not a great idea, but when it comes to bringing home a dog who could be living with you for the next 10-15 years, it’s an especially bad idea.
Let’s face it, dogs make great companions. They make us feel good.
Until they don’t!
That’s not a slam on dogs. But if you bring your cuddly canine home without thinking it through, you could be asking for trouble. You’re bringing home a living, breathing, chewing, pooping, gets-into-everything, attention-seeking creature.
In short, you need to be prepared.
Putting aside your emotional reasons for wanting a dog, ask yourself some hard questions. Do I have the time and money to properly care for a dog? Do I have the supplies and space I need? Do I have the slightest clue how to train and care for a dog? Am I ready for the commitment and responsibilities of dog ownership?
If the answer to your questions is yes, then you’re probably making a good decision.
#2 Don’t bring a dog home before discussing it with your family
This one could get you into real trouble.
When you bring home a dog, you are bringing him into the lives of everyone you live with. They deserve the chance to give their input about a dog living in their space.
And let’s face it, you may plan on being the dog’s sole caretaker, but in reality it will be a shared responsibility much of the time. You don’t want resentment or bitterness to raise its ugly head between you and your loved ones.
Single parents with young children should consider talking with a trusted friend about the idea. After all, kids are almost always up for having a family pet, so sharing your thoughts with another adult may shed some light on things you haven’t thought of.
#3 Don’t fail to get your dog spayed or neutered
Unwanted dogs are in abundance these days–living in shelters, pounds, and on the streets. The last thing you want to do is bring more puppies into the world with no one to care for them.
And believe me when I say that an unspayed or unneutered dog is going to seek out a mate. Dogs do not choose celibacy! A male dog can smell a female in heat up to three miles away, and if he’s able, he’ll come running.
Spaying and neutering has its pro’s.
You won’t need to deal with the mess of a female going into heat (trust me when I say it’s messy). And you’ll likely not have to deal with your male dog humping everything in sight. Yikes!
Besides, getting Sasha spayed or Fido fixed has a calming effect on the dog and reduces their chance of getting certain diseases. It’s a win-win.
#4 Don’t fail to consider the needs of an adult dog or stray
Rescuing an adult dog, or taking in a stray, is a noble choice. Just make sure to observe the dog and gather as much information as you can from the rescue center or pound before bringing him home.
Dogs’ temperaments are largely formed when they are young. By the time he is an adult, it will be difficult to change his habits, especially if you have no knowledge of dog training.
You need to know the dog’s background and temperament. Will you be the best owner for this dog, or might someone else better meet his needs?
Habits include, but are not limited to:
- Jumping up when greeting people (including you)
- Submissive peeing
- Begging for food
- Jumping on furniture
- Chasing cars
- Destructive anxiety
There are people prepared to deal with such behaviors. They make wonderful owners for dogs who really need their love and care. The question is, are you one of those people?
DO ADOPT if you are! These dogs need people like you.
A Case in Point
There is no telling what adult dogs have been through before making it to your home. Their behavior is not necessarily their fault, but rather a result of everything they’ve experienced before meeting you.
When I was young and stupid, I broke several don’ts listed in this article–with one dog! Yes, I made mistakes many more times over the years. But by taking in Lucky, a stray who found his way to our door, I made nearly every mistake in one fell swoop!
Lucky was a sweet, friendly dog. I was young, with very strong mothering tendencies and a desire to rescue everything that found its way to me (no collar, no luck locating the owner). Our decision to take in Lucky was entirely emotional.
We lived in a rental in the East Texas countryside. We had no yard nor any dog supplies whatsoever. Nada. Zip. Zero.
To make matters worse, we had no money. We were working at a local ministry, and the pay was just low. Thank goodness that Lucky’s previous owners, whoever they were, had him neutered, because we could not have afforded to do it.
Lucky was terrified of storms. It storms A LOT in east Texas. He jumped on our furniture and chewed on everything because of his high anxiety. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I’ve done the research for you and included links to the products highlighted in this post. Some of these links pay me a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you of course, which helps fund this website & my research! Happy reading!)
Lucky also rolled onto his back and peed on Bryan and me every time we greeted him or reached down to pet him. And he peed on our visitors. Every single time.
Despite these habits, we really loved our dog
Lucky for him, a single guy from our church expressed interest in adopting Lucky from us. So, he ended up in a great home with a caring owner who knew all the dog’s faults before taking him.
Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is find the right home for a dog.
Remember that every dog deserves to be happy, healthy and safe.