We love dogs, of all dog breeds, from playing with them to exercising them, we never want to leave our furry buddy. But with most things, we need to take into consideration the reality of things and be aware of the downside, not just the good side. Although this is very unusual of us to discuss, we feel it is important to let the public know both the downside and the good side when it comes to dogs so today we are going to discuss the downside of having a dog.
Dog hair, yes it gets everywhere. From the sofa to the floor. Collecting in balls and rolling around. From the shirt to the food. It also means you have to sweep the floor everyday.
The bane of many owners lives is maintence. Despite loving our furry friend and being with them every step of the way, we do need to remember and prepare ourselves for what else will come our way. We’ve compiled a list to help educate and be aware of the “other side of the coin” so that you will not be surprised nor mad at your puppy-eyed buddy for some of the downside factoids that may come your way:
1. Well, this downside is obvious – they poop
If you are the type of person who is entirely grossed out by the concept of poop, unless you can afford to hire someone to clean it up for you, don’t get a dog.
Dogs poop. It’s what they do. Everybody poops. It’s your job to clean it up. It gets to the point where, based on the position of their tail, you can tell when your dog is going to poop. You are now a poop master. Congratulations.
2. Dogs Require Attention
Dogs require a lot of it. Forget about spontaneously going out of town for the weekend. Forget about running errands after work. These things can’t really happen with a dog. You have to plan ahead.
There are lots of reasons why dogs initially become attention-seekers; they might be bored or perhaps not getting enough exercise. Then, of course, there are some attention-seeking behaviors that dogs do simply for the love of it, such as digging, chewing, stealing food and ripping up their toys.
However there may be some things that you do as an owner to accidentally help to turn them into attention-seekers.
Dogs value human attention and are affectionate animals – that’s why we have them as pets! So every time your dog jumps up at you, paws at your leg, barks for no obvious reason or drops a toy in your lap uninvited, it’s easy to reward them with a cuddle or a game, but this means that the unwanted behavior is reinforced.
Some dogs like to get their owner’s attention by stealing something – slippers are a favourite! – and running off with it. But they’ll quickly learn what gets us leaping from our seats, and the more intense our reaction, the more attention your dog feels they’re getting, so the more valued the prize. Your dog will quickly learn to seek out these objects in the future.
Your dog needs lots of love, of course, but rewarding this type of behavior may mean that they become more dependent on your company and less able to find enjoyment in their own interests, such as playing with their toys independently or snuffling out an interesting smell.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the best way to deal with an attention-seeking dog is to tell them a firm ‘no’ every time they nudge you or jump onto your lap, but this, pushing them away or giving them any other negative response won’t help, because it still involves giving them attention. From your furry friend’s viewpoint, any attention is better than no attention!
Instead, every time they use an attention-seeking behavior, ignore them. Don’t look at them, speak to them or touch them, and if they persist, calmly get up and walk away.
You might find this hard at first, especially since you quite naturally want your dog to feel happy and loved, but stick with it! Then, when your dog is happy in their own world – perhaps they’re playing with a chew toy or happily watching the world go by from their bed – call them over and give them a cuddle. This tells them that you want to give them lots of attention and affection, but that it’s on your terms. Consistency is key.
3 Dogs Need Maintenance.
Depending on the dog, maintenance may vary. Smooth-coat dogs don’t require brushing, whereas plush-coat dogs very much do. Still, they all need their nails clipped from time to time, and the occasional bath and dental cleaning.
They also need medical attention. In almost every community, there are groups that give free vaccinations. You just have to look for them.
4. Dogs have a lot of stuff.
When you first get a dog, you’re not just getting a dog. You also have to get toys, food, treats, bowls, poop receptacles, leashes, collars, car seat covers (if your dog gets as dirty as mine), flea drops, shampoo, etc. Dogs need a lot of things and you have to buy it all to cover their needs and wants.
All of that stuff, including the dog, has to fit somewhere in your house. Also, if you get a dog, buy them their own bed.
Most of the items dogs need (e.g. poop bags) don’t vary depending on the size of the dog, but some things do.
Granted, you could feed your dog inexpensive grocery store dog food, but in my experience, cheap dog food will just cost you more in veterinary bills. Plus, cheap dog food makes them fart. It’s really best to avoid dog farts when possible.
5. Walking them.
If you don’t have a yard, you have to walk them. Even if you have a yard, they still need exercise and socialization. There’s a hurricane, typhoon, blizzard? Oh well. Your dog still needs to poop. You have a cold, dysentery, a broken foot? Darn it, well get out there. Your dog needs its exercise.
On the flip side, it is true that dog owners are generally more physically active than non-owners, but some rarely walk with their dog at all.
Did you know that a dog owner who briskly walks their dog for at least 30 minutes each day easily exceeds the 150 minutes recommended minimum physical activity per week? Researchers believe that if all dog owners did this it would dramatically boost population levels of physical activity.
6. Sleep schedules.
Dogs have no concept of time or days of the week. Well, that’s not exactly true. They do understand time. They know when it’s time to be fed, go for a walk or to the dog park, but it doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to us. It is important to know that dogs sleep for 8 to 12 on average hours a day.
The weekend means nothing to them. Daylight saving time means nothing to them. They don’t understand sleeping in. Dogs will wake you up whenever you normally get up, regardless of when you went to bed or what the time is. So, be sure to keep your sleep schedule up to par for that adventurous alarm clock of yours.
Travel Tips To Be Aware Of:
Traveling with your Emotional Support Animal is important but do keep in mind that too many bus, train, plane companies do not accept dogs, not to mention the difficulties you might have to find a suitable accommodation.
Despite being the most practical solution, van life with a dog can be difficult at times and you must consider various aspects of it before throwing yourself into it.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before starting your travels:
- How does your four legged friend cope with travelling by car? Does he get sick? Does he complain endlessly? Does he clearly look unhappy? If so, you might need re-think your choice.
- How does he/she cope with new places? Is he strongly territorial? If so, constantly changing environment might drive him/her crazy.
- Will you have enough space for him? Will he be relatively comfortable? Will you be able to give him all the exercise he/she needs?
- Will you be able to bring him with you in most places? I must warn you that some travel experiences might be off limits if you are travelling with your pet. You might have to give up that festival you really wanted to go, or that cool diving trip unless you can find someone that can care for him/her.
- Are you willing to adjust your travelling plans depending on the different countries regulations? Some countries make it REAL hard/expensive to bring your pet in.
- Will you be able to pay for unexpected vet bills, vaccinations flea treatments and such? Don’t be selfish, think about your dog well-being first!
By writing this article, we hope to simply educate and make people be aware of the cons with owning a dog. We do not intend to stir up any controversy or negative behavior. Who doesn’t love dogs? Of course, nothing is more important than being properly educated about dogs in an unbiased manner.