DOG BUYING MISTAKES
Dogs are great fun, but buying one can also be a huge mistake. The following are the most common mistakes dog buuyers make. So before you hea out the door, read these tips so you won't make a dog buying mistake.
NEVER CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT
Wrong, always consider the environment and not just urban, suburban or rural. Think about lifestyle. Take the requirements a dog needs, like running, into account. Is the lifestyle between the owner and pet compatible? Also consider proximity of neighbors. In rural areas, this is not as big an issue, but in the suburbs and in the city being highly respectful of the neighbors will go a long way towards not creating problems.
DOGS ARE NOT INVESTMENTS
Some folks convince themselves that owning a dog will yield a financial return, specifically if they buy a pure breed. Breeding is a labor intensive, expensive and responsible endeavor requiring much thought. A business plan is a good exercise before considering this option.
DOGS ARE NOT FADS
Remember when 101 DALMATIANS came out into movie theaters? The film made them so lovable that many families just 'had' to have one. Big mistake. Dalmatians require lots of attention and running space. They were not conducive to suburban or urban life unless closely supervised. So like pet rocks, lava lamps, hula hoops and many other fads, it won't last.
DOGS ARE NOT TOYS
If the purchase of a dog has a 'brand new toy' angle to it, forget it. Buying a dog as a toy for children is not a good idea. The novelty will wear off and the responsibility of feeding, taking for walks, cleaning up poop and more will weigh some down. Some will even get resentful of the animal. That resentment could mean an unhappy owner and an unhappy dog.
DOGS ARE NOT BURGLAR ALARMS
Buying a dog for protection is an OK idea, but remember there is a responsibility to train the dog properly. Having a dog that barks incessantly to ward off ne'er-do-wells probably won't do anything but annoy the neighbors, who, if they see a burglar, will offer them coffee and pie just to take the dog away. A barking dog is something that will drive neighbors batty.
DOGS MAKE LOUSY GIFTS, most of the time
Giving a dog as a gift is a very dicey proposition. The sentiment may be in the right place, but putting a human and an animal together requires a very personal knowledge of the person and an understanding of the dog's needs. Making sure these match up is not a casual affair. The best bet is not to do it at all.
DOGS ARE NOT UNBREAKABLE
Make no mistake, dogs will need to got to a vet and vets aren't cheap. Just the basics - shots, physical, stool testing, can run hundreds a year. Then there are the unforeseen problems. From having a close encounter with a porcupine to congenital ailments to old age, dogs can be quite expensive, especially as more and more pet owners go to 'extraordinary measures to keep their pets alive.
DOG ARE NOT TOYS
Dogs are a responsibility. Buying one as an amusement for children is simply wrong headed. The novelty will wear off and the promises of 'we'll take car of it' will quickly fade. What the parent is left with is daily chores of feeding, taking out, training and heading off to the vet. Be prepared for this before the fact. It will temper any frivolous decision making.
DOGS ARE NOT INSTRUCTIONAL TOOLS
The flip side of 'dogs are toys', is getting a dog to teach children responsibility. In all likelihood, a child is not prepared physically or mentally for the responsibility. This includes the training which requires intelligence, patience and consistency. Most children will not have these developed until later in their lives.
NEVER BUY A DOG BECAUSE YOU FEEL SORRY
Buying an animal for the family requires careful thought. Who will take care of it? Who will train it? Can the family budget stand it? What kind of dog will mesh well with the family's lifestyle? These questions and more need solid answers. Finding an animal at a shelter is a fine idea, but only if the animal answers all the questions. Buying a dog because there is a sentiment of pity involved will short change everyone, including the animal.
BE LEERY OF PET STORES & PUPPY MILLS
Pet stores make their money by pushing a product. It isn't a widget, it is an animal. The more animals they sell, the more money they make. When a salesman is trying to sell, they will use tactics designed to get you to buy. Be very careful with them and make your decision based on your needs. Also be careful of "puppy mills". These are large enterprises with one sole purpose. Make a lot of puppies, sell a lot of puppies. They may claim they are family run, but just like buying a used car, analyze them, their operation and the dog in question. References are always recommended.
The Frugal Yankee loves dogs. The simple pleasure of playing 'stick' makes smiles. Coming home from a tough day to an adoring, "happy to see" waggle, changes moods. Yet before all of that happened, there was hours upon hours of training. There was cleaning up messes, pulling porcupine quills out of a snout, and far too many baths to remove that malodorous 'perfume' found in the woods.
For the right person owning a dog transcends the responsibility and the chores. Be sure you're the right person when heading out the dog to pick up the canine of choice.
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