Finding a good Trainer Part 1 – Don’t get that dog!

DON’T GET THAT DOG!

You heard me, don’t get a dog. I mean it. Really.

I’m a crazy dog person and I’m telling you DON’T GET THAT DOG!

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In this crazy world where everyone is busy all the time, we all feel like we should own a dog. It’s part of the ideal lifestyle. A happy marriage, a house, two cars, two children, promising career and a dog. You had a wonderful dog as a family pet when you were young and you want your children and your spouse to experience that feeling. Or maybe you are lonely and you know dogs make good companions.

Quite often people don’t realize what they are signing up for when they get that dog. Many people don’t understand the commitment and responsibility of owning a dog. They need food, water, exercise, shelter, entertainment, grooming and much more.

Before you fall in love with that fluffy bundle of energy, just think about what you are committing to. Dogs are a lot of work. We no longer live in a world where dogs can roam and visit and learn from other dogs. They must learn from you. You provide everything in their lives. Due to this isolation from other dogs, you can end up with behavior issues that you never thought you could have.

Maybe you had the most awesome, amazing dog when you were a child. The dog just knew how to do everything and followed you around everywhere. It was your best friend. Now you are determined to get another just like that one. Because every dog of your favorite breed must be an outstanding canine that is well behaved, easily trainable, calm and reliable.

WRONG! I have heard this or some variation from many many people. And then they get a dog with some sort of behavioral issue that they have to sort out. They can’t help comparing the current dog to this ideal remembered from childhood. The dog you get now is an individual with it’s own personality and behaviors. It’s almost guaranteed that your ideal dog had some behavioral issues but that you don’t remember them as a problem. Or maybe you remember the dog from close to the end of life when things are calmer.

Dog ownership is optional, not a requirement. If you are reading this before getting a dog, at least take that thought into consideration before moving forward with dog ownership. Consider what life is like without a dog and then decide if you want to bring this needy thing into your life. The only real reason to get a dog is BECAUSE YOU WANT A DOG. For most people, this is really what drives us to get a dog. We just want to have one. For companionship or competition or because we feel that our lifestyle dictates it.

Many dogs end up in shelters because our busy lifestyles don’t allow us the time to train them. Others get stuck in yards or garages or even chained to trees because we don’t have time for them or just don’t know what to do.

You have read all of this and may be thinking “Wait! Don’t YOU have dogs? Why are you telling me to avoid getting a dog if everything you write about is related to dogs?” Yes, I absolutely love dogs and can’t imagine life without them! But I have seen too many with behavior issues, locked in garages or in shelters to naively believe that everyone should own a dog.

Nope, I’m not on the side of Animal Rights Activists that believe no one should own a dog. I just believe that owning a dog, just like having children, is a big commitment and we should all think about it and be prepared before we take that particular step. Far too often we make these decisions with our hearts and not our heads and hundreds of thousands of dogs, cats, and yes, even children, end up abandoned and needing new homes.

So before getting that dog, really think about the commitment you are signing up for and if you are willing to put in the time required to train a dog and teach it the rules of our society.

If, after all of that, you still decide that you want a dog, then Stay Tuned – This is the first in a series of posts designed to help you find a good trainer. And that’s tougher than you think. There are many many things to consider. Too many to fit in one post.

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