I love dogs. I really wanted my own dog.
When I was young (< 5 years old) we had two German Shepard mixes. One was white and one was tan. I think they barked a lot but I don’t remember much else.
The dog that I truly remember is this black and brown mutt. He was on the smallish side, probably around 30 pounds. I love that dog. Sometimes, I would sit for hours with him, not saying anything, just sharing his company. He was afraid of fireworks so on New Year’s eve, I would sit with him the whole night.
I was pretty lonely then, and that dog was my very best friend.
But I did not treat him very well.
He was an outside dog. Family rules. When he was young and tried to follow people into the house, he got hit on the butt with a rolled-up newspaper.
Nobody walked him. I was too young to be out and about, and everybody else was too busy to walk him. None of the neighbors walked their dogs either – it was simply not something that people did.
After some years, puppy grew up, I got busy, and nobody spent time with him. He dug under the fences and escaped. Mom tried to block all of his escape routes, but he always managed to find a new way out. He was a very clever dog, with a lot of time on his hands.
So every day, he escaped, went gallivanting with his neighborhood dog buddies and came home in the evening for dinner and sleep.
One day, he did not come home.
After a few years, my dad brought home a litter of puppies and asked if I wanted to keep one.
I said no.
I still love dogs. I still really want a dog. But I was a kid, and could not treat a dog the way he should be treated. So I said no.
Now, I share my life with three dogs – Shiba Inu Sephy, Siberian Husky Shania and puppy Lara. They are my best buddies. I make sure they have long daily walks, lots of play time, and there is no hitting, slapping, poking, or pain based dog training.
Am I Ready to Get a Dog?
Consider carefully before getting a dog. It can be awesome to share our life with a dog but timing is extremely important. Dogs are a big responsibility, and they require a lot of care, training, and supplies. This translates into a whole lot of time, energy, physical activity, patience, and money.
Love alone is not enough.
Dogs need a lot of exercise or they will become hyper and destructive at home. Make sure we are fit and energetic enough to give our dog walks, play-time, and obedience training sessions every day.
Am I ready to get a dog?
- Can I take him on walks every day for at least 1 hour?
- Do I have the energy to play with him when I get home from a tiring day at work?
- Do I have the patience to train him, teach him, and not give up on him even when he chews up my $500 shoes, poops on my designer couch, and bites me?
- Can I promise to stay with him for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do we part?
Dogs are a big financial expense. Grain-free good quality kibble, yearly vet check-ups, bully sticks, dog toys, training costs, and everything else adds up to a whole lot of money.
But they are more than worth it because they bring a happiness and peace that is priceless.
I am glad that now, I have the ability to not just buy a dog, but also take care of him properly. I am glad I have the time to walk, play, groom, teach, learn, listen, and just sit with him.
I love dogs. I still remember my friend, the black and brown mutt.
I will never again get a dog just to serve my own needs and ignore all of his needs.
I want a dog, but I will say no until I have the money, time, and patience to properly care for him.
Where to Get a Dog?
If you love dogs and are looking to get a dog, do not get one from a pet store or online store. Pet store and online store puppies come from puppy mills who are only interested in making money and subject their dogs to cruel living and breeding conditions. One thing that all dog professionals and dog lovers can agree on is that puppy mills are bad, bad, bad.
Here is what the humane society says about puppy mills.
The best place to get a puppy is to adopt one from a shelter or rescue, or to get one from an accredited AKC breeder.
I have so enjoyed reading your blog, as I have been thinking of getting a Shiba for well over a year now. I have been looking for a young adult dog and have just been contacted by three different breeders that have dogs they’re looking to sell. I have met with all of them and all of the dogs come from good homes and have been well socialized etc. There is nothing wrong with any of them that would be a deal breaker so now I have to decide on the right dog. Such a hard choice. Do you have any suggestions for how to go about picking the right dog?
Do you currently have other dogs? What type of activities would you want to do with the new dog? Do you have friends with dogs that you would like him to play with? What will his schedule be like? What is the dog’s current environment? How similar is it to his future environment?
When looking at a new dog, I think about how his new environment, routine, and schedule are going to be like. I try to get as detailed as possible. Then, I try to evaluate how well that dog will fit into that lifestyle and routine.
If they are all good choices, you are already starting at a very good place. 😀
Congratulations on your soon-to-be new furry family member!
Thank you so much for your response. It’s such a tough decision because both could fit into my life well I think.
One is younger and really friendly but has never lived in the house and has some crystals that have shown up in her urine before. I don’t know if part of why she was so friendly was due to her being kept in a kennel for the most part, I’m sure this has to do with it. I get the impression that the owner doesn’t know her very well and her quirks etc. She doesn’t know any basic commands even sit and she is a year and a half old, but she was totally fine with eye contact (even sought it out), being handled etc. and was very sweet and trusting, would put her whole weight in my hand when rubbing her belly etc. She could walk on a leash ok but needed some work on that too. I don’t know how she is with other dogs but owner says she is fine, she lives with her dad and has been raised around German Shepards so I assume this would be true. I don’t know how she would do being left alone and I don’t think the owner does either. While she didn’t bark at all while I was there, I also don’t know how she would do with this when left alone.
The other dog is 3 years old, totally healthy, has been screened for everything, lives in the house as a pet, has done agility, knows a lot of commands etc., lives with other dogs and is fine with them, ok being touched everywhere, didn’t bark, good on a leash. I feel like it’s a much more known situation because her owner knows her very well and she is used to being in the house and being left alone etc. She was very calm and relaxed. She was very aloof though and didn’t seem all that interested in me, she did come up to say hi when I first got there but was kind of pushed out of the way by the other dogs, she was also very distracted by what was going on around her and other sounds/movements, she didn’t respond to come but did respond to other commands like sit, stay, touch etc. She lives with 3 other dogs and does have to compete for attention, and had been home all day getting attention when I met her, so I wonder if she would be more attention seeking if she wasn’t competing with other dogs for attention, and would be more investigative if she hadn’t been around people/dogs all day and was more wanting that vs. being relaxed at home. having had attention all day, if that makes sense. She didn’t really seek out eye contact or touch at all the way the other dog had. In both of their cases the owner is willing to let me have them on a trial for a couple of weeks.
Thanks for the website. Great article and very informative. We are going to have 5 kids under 10 years in the next few weeks. My 9 year old daughter has been asking for a dog since she could talk. We already have 2 rabbits to please her craving for a pet and they are easier to look after but we know it will have to be a dog one way or another. She loves her rabbits. We are thinking of getting her a dog this year in summer or even next year. I know I will be the main carer for the dog. My husband is very hygiene-mad so I am a bit nervous what to expect when the dog poops on the floor. Though he himself grew up craving for a dog and couldn’t have one as his mom was afraid of dogs. I grew up with cats. What do you think we should consider? I thought about getting a more grown-up dog, from a shelter or family, who should be more or less trained and maybe a dog that already came from a family of kids. I feel having a puppy may already be a bit too much to take care of since I have small children around. 3 boys included. My daughter is set on a golden retriever puppy. A puppy would be nice for her to grow up with. We live out in the country and have a large garden. I stay at home.
This article has a good list of pros and cons for puppy vs adult dog.
Another comparison from PetFinder-
I was wondering how you would judge my situation.
I grew up with a Border Collie (he is actually still alive, but unfortunately now sick :/). We got him as a birthday gift for me, and I did end up training him a lot, but we split the exercise with the whole family (5 kids). Although we were far from the perfect family for a Border Collie (after all, it IS a working breed), he did get frequent walks and my father would go running with him every morning for up to 20km.
Now I am a student in my final 1-1,5 years of studies. Getting a dog while studying never crossed my mind, I always wanted to wait until I’m done, I have a job and I am at a more stable point in my life. However, lately I have been toying with the idea of getting a dog (a smaller breed like a sheltie, as I do live in an apartment). I would say I’m a generally very active student, but I have always also been very responsible and reliable. I only have a few hours of lectures a week, and this summer I could even use the semester break of about 3 weeks to take care of a puppy. As a support system I would always have my family (they live in a different town, but I would be covered for short trips and such). So in essence, I am home most of the time (and will be the next year) and I have plenty of free time to play ukulele, exercise daily etc. I’m not sure when I’ll have the opportunity to train and spend so much time with my pup again. However, of course I can’t predict my future – although I am a good student, I can’t predict what kind of work I would be doing.
Now my question – do you think it would be totally irresponsible and egocentric of me to get a puppy now? Or do you think it would be possible? I know that love is not enough – but I’m pretty sure a dog would soon become my best buddie and I would also always think about him or her when considering job options. Kind of like taking care of a kid 🙂
I would love to get a reply!
Personally, I was extremely busy at the end of both college and grad. school. I had to travel a bunch for interviews, decide on what I want to do, get a new place to stay, pack up my old place, etc. It was a very stressful period and it would have been very difficult for me to deal with a dog as well.
Dogs can also get very anxious when they have to deal with large changes in their routine and environment. This is to be expected, since they have no control of these things, and do not know what the end result may be.
For these reasons and more, I decided not to get a dog until after I got a stable job, a more permanent home, and a more consistent routine. This is of course based on my own experiences and situation.
Thanks for you honest feedback.
That sounds reasonable…although it’s not quite what I wanted to hear xD I guess I’ll have to keep waiting…
Great site, btw!
good article . Too many people think its ok to give up thier dogs just because they toppled their avacado tree (someone I know)
I agree with what you said at 100%. Since I was young I’ve always wanted to have a dog. My parents always said no but I didn’t really understand why. I thought it was because my mother was scared of big dogs, but I understood later she didn’t want to take care of a dog. Now I thank them for refusing. A dog isn’t an good looking object you buy in the supermarket because it pleases you. It’s a living creature who deserves care, love, and happiness just like any of us. I will get a dog when I’m finished with my study when I got a regular place to live, and travel less. I can’t wait. I’ve already waited 20 years so I can do it again. I’ve been reading a lot about all kind of dogs breed (I have time). And when I am ready I think I will take a shiba 🙂
It will be a very lucky Shiba! 😀
Talking about lucky Shibas, I think you will enjoy Lulu’s page-