Monday, October 19, 2015

What do you wish you had known about caring for your dog before bringing it home?

Paul and I are talking about getting a dog. It may be a very long time before I'm ready or we may decide not to get a dog at all, but I'm at least open to considering it now. 

Before the twins were born, I would have laughed at the idea of us having a dog. But then along came Alistair and Emerick.

I've never seen little kids so obsessed with dogs. When they see a neighbor walking a dog across the street on the sidewalk, they ask to open the door so they can blow kisses. 50% of the tantrums the twins have ever had are over not getting to go hang out with a dog they've spotted.  

Emerick especially wants to pet every dog that walks near.  Yesterday, he took a book to bed with him about a therapy dog named Lola. This is usual behavior for him, schlepping a dog-related item around with him all day long and still clinging to it at night. When I checked on him, he had the book under his head as he was sleeping. And actually, it's not just dogs with him. Dogs are absolutely #1 for sure, but when he was at Paul's parents' house, he (a two year old who had never been around chickens before) was scooping up chickens and cradling them in his arms.  It astounds me the way kids are so strikingly their own person. 

Here's where you come in. I need your advice, input, and wisdom. I want to know what you wish you had known before buying your dog. <please>

Was it more expensive than you thought it would be?

Did your dog's demeanor end up different than what you knew that breed to be? 

Did you have trouble training the dog?

Did you learn something in the buying process? 

Did you end up doing all the work taking care of the dog?

I guess these questions are tilted pretty negative. If you had positive, unexpected things about your experience, that would be good for me to hear too.  

The three most daunting things about a dog for me: 1.) long term decision  2.) smell   3.) just more work.  And there's the costs too, which we've already looked at, and those are pretty sobering.  

That's me being real with you.   I would love to make my boys happy, but we can visit someone else's dogs or maybe have a lower maintenance animal if we decide dogs are too much (see #3).  

So, give it to me. Be honest -- please.  Good, bad, whatever.  Anything you think might help. 

You can post anonymously or message me as well if you want to be more discrete. ;)


  1. We got our dog as a rescue, he is wonderful and i feel like he was more receptive to our love since he had lived without undivided attention before us. I don't have the time right now to answer all your questions, but my suggestion is: just do it. Once the kids are all grown and gone your can keep things clean, tidy and prefect. It'll give them some responsibility, it'll probably mostly fall on you, but it's OK. 😊 PS ruger is a Boston terrier 🐶

    1. Paul just brought up the subject of a rescue dog this weekend. I told him I would consider that if it still met what we had in mind. Do you feel like Ruger is a good energy level for your boys? If you have more you want to stick in my ear, feel free to text or message me. I would definitely take your advice to heart!

  2. The pictures of the kids and that dog especially the twins in that photo are too die for!! I love it! :) I never had a dog growing up but I think given your kids love for them you might cave sooner or later... My siblings still have a annual dog petition around Christmas. Though last year we got two kittens who have now turned into cats and they are the best! Everyone loves them and dotes on them. Plus they are super easy to take care off.

    1. So your parents say no to the dog pleas? :) I might have to do that for a bit. I do want to make the dog happen for the boys. But goodness, after a lot of private messages I got yesterday... I think I will be taking a sober pause on this decision.

      And if I don't know anything about dogs, I know even less about cats. I've led a pretty pet-less existence up to this point. LOL.

  3. The ONE thing my hubby and I wish we had done differently was to NOT bring a puppy home in the winter. We live in Louisiana where you can't really even call it "winter", but training would have been much easier in warmer weather because we stood in the shivering cold waiting for the dog to pee. (Sounds silly but seriously, so annoying!)

    We got the dog before kids came along (not by choice) so obviously we did all the work at first. But now our 3-year old is (mostly) in charge of feeding her. Our 1-year is in charge of pulling her tail. ;) Hubby and I both grew up with dogs so we don't know any other way, but we love our dog and am so glad she's a part of our family! Especially now that we have boys, because boys LOVE dogs.

    1. Jen, I wouldn't have thought about this--having to train in the winter. Since we live in MO, that snow would definitely be an issue.

      And yes, , boys DO love dogs.

      Thank you for sharing. I'm really chewing on all that everybody has shared!

  4. We just got a dog and I have absolutely no regrets. Our dog is a wonderful addition and my kids love it. Granted my kids are older, but I do not find the care to be too much at all.

    My biggest piece of advice is DO NOT GET A PUPPY. Get an older rescue dog (between 1-3 is ideal, IMO) that is already trained and housebroken and has outgrown puppy habits and you have a good idea of their personality. W ith a puppy, you don't really know what you are getting. With an older dog, you do. You can find a dog that is good with kids and housebroken and doesn't jump on people and doesn't bark and can be walked on a leash, etc, etc. Our dog doesn't shed much. Not sure how we lucked out, but he doesn't.

    As far as smell goes....high quality dog food and dog probiotics go a long way towards eliminating dog smell. Seriously.

    If you have a fenced in back yard and a well-trained dog, the work is minimal. Feed/change water daily Let it out go use the bathroom. Give it a bath once in a while. Clean dog poop from yard once in awhile. Take on walks when you have time. That's it. I actually think dogs are less work than cats (you have to clean the litter box) or smaller animals like guinea pigs (again, you have to clean the cage). The biggest thing is just finding a good, well-trained dog.

    1. Amelia, you and so many others have said not to get a puppy. I guess a lot of people get puppies because they are so stinking cute.

      Ok. Good, well-trained dog. Putting it on the list. Thank you!!