Many people aspire to own a dog of their own one day, and this can generate some strong feelings of longing and feeling as if you’re missing out on something, so that the desire to go out and get a canine companion right now can seem almost overwhelming at times!
There are a great many benefits and advantages to dog ownership and it is of course hugely rewarding and can greatly enrich your life; as long as you get the right dog at the right time, and for the right reasons.
However, owning a dog is not all a walk in the park – it is lots of them, all year round, come rain or come shine – and owning a dog is a huge responsibility that can feel heavy at times, as well as being potentially stressful.
Owning a dog generates a huge upheaval in your life too, and in many very important ways, results in a wide range of changes to your lifestyle and daily routine, some of which are major and obvious and others of which are more subtle.
Some of these will feel positive, and some negative; and it is not always obvious what the negatives might be ahead of time, even if you work had to ensure that you do plenty of research to establish what you might be getting yourself into and find out all of the potential implications of dog ownership.
Owning a dog can be limiting, and may mean you might not be able to do all of the other things you want to do; this is something that first-time dog owners don’t always fully think through.
People who have had a dog for a long time would often be hard-pressed to explain to you how owning a dog can limit them and cramp their style, as this is something that they simply get used to as they settle into dog ownership and begin to see the new, novel aspects of it as their new normal; and so asking other dog owners won’t necessarily help you either!
With this in mind, this article will outline five of the potential ways in which dog ownership can cramp your style or limit you; which might already be factors you’ve considered and are fine with, but which it is important to be sure about before, rather than after, you bring your new dog home! Read on to learn more.
All dogs should be conditioned to be happy to be left alone at home for a couple of hours at a time, which means you should be able to go about your life and do everything you need to do without the constant need to babysit your dog!
However, dogs do need lots of attention and cannot be left alone for too long at a time, and there are plenty of places you cannot take your dog to with you, which might cramp your style.
Whether you need to go to the supermarket for your weekly shop or are meeting a friend for coffee, you will need to factor in your dog; are you going to be out for longer than they can be left for, can you take them, and so on; and leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or café or alone in the car are both unsafe, for vastly different reasons.
Being limited by places you can physically enter due to having a dog with you can be something of a rude awakening to the first-time dog owner.
If a friend asks you if you want to go out for the day or come to a party or go out for drinks after work, you might be able to say yes; but you will first need to factor in your dog.
Are they at home expecting dinner, have they been on their own for too long, is there someone who can check on them so you can stay out?
Owning a dog means that you won’t always be able to do things on impulse or make on-the-spot decisions, and this may sometimes mean you miss out on things.
If you enjoy two weeks in the sun every summer, getting a dog means that there will be an added complication to factor in. Dog ownership doesn’t mean the end of enjoying exotic holidays of course, but as well as booking your flights and accommodation, you will also need to book or arrange care for your dog too, such as kennels, prepare for all of that, factor how your dog will cope, and arrange their holiday as well as your own!
An alternative is of course to take a dog-friendly holiday your pooch can enjoy too, but this is likely to be just as convoluted to arrange.
Dogs need a routine in order to thrive and feel secure, which means that the times you get up, come home, walk them, feed them and so on all need to be fairly regular.
An erratic lifestyle or one involving lots of unreliable comings and goings, such as if you work shifts and cannot get assistance to set and keep to a routine for your dog, will not work well for either of you, and so you will need to be prepared to keep to fairly regular hours as a dog owner.
Finally, as a dog owner you will have less free time than you did before, although the things you do with your dog do of course count as free time too, albeit time that needs to be spent in a certain way.
Just half an hour walk a day can take a big chunk out of your downtime and there are few dogs for which half an hour is really a long enough walk, and everything involved in taking care of your dog takes time as well, which can often come as a shock to first-time owners.