6 types of people who shouldn’t get dogs

Being friends
Pyrrha and our friend.

In all of my reading and all of my hours spent volunteering at the SPCA, I think one of the main lessons I’ve learned about dogs is this: Many people should not get a dog.

That sounds like an extreme statement. Let me qualify it.

The more I learn about dogs, the more I take them seriously. I used to think dogs were easy pets to have. Just grab a puppy anywhere, bring it home, and it’s your best friend for life! Turns out it’s not that simple. Dogs are complex animals who require a great deal of love, attention, and training. Temple Grandin’s book Animals Make Us Human even made me seriously question whether I should get a dog. Her recommendations for dog ownership are somewhat extreme in this modern age. Grandin seems to wish that all dogs could roam free around the neighborhood, like they used to do a few decades ago. Otherwise, she asserts, dogs are not enjoying a joyful life as they are locked up in a crate for 12 hours a day. She has a point.

A cultural misunderstanding of a dog’s complexity is why we have so many truly incredible dogs waiting in the emotional wastelands of our shelters and humane societies. Granted, the shelters are doing the best job they can with the resources that they have–but not even the best shelter can provide a dog with all of its emotional needs. Only a human family can do that.

But what kind of human family should get a dog?

It’s a difficult question to answer, and clearly, everyone has to make that decision for themselves, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I’m always dismayed by the number of people I meet who seem fundamentally unsuited to caring for a dog–the people who abandon that briefly loved dog a few months later. I probably see a disproportionate number of these people because I’m a part-time shelter volunteer, but I still think it’s an important issue to address.

It always breaks my heart when I hear about people giving up their dogs. I understand that, in this economic climate, many people can no longer handle the financial burden of a dog (or cat, or gerbil, or what have you). In this respect, it is wise to give up one’s dog to someone who may be better equipped to care for him. However, I am generally appalled by the pet ads on Craigslist from people who are abandoning their animals. These are common excuses that I see:

  • “We don’t have room in our apartment anymore for our Great Pyrenees.” No, duh. Maybe you should have considered that before you brought that white fluff ball home. That sweet, cuddly pup that looks like a stuffed animal is going to turn into a 130-pound yeti in a matter of weeks.
  • “We have to get rid of our dog because I’m allergic.” I understand that some people may not know they’re allergic to dogs before they bring them home, but test this one out a bit. Ever stayed at someone’s house and felt congested from their pet’s dander? Maybe dog ownership is not for you. Spend some quality time with some dogs before you commit to bringing one home.
  • “The puppy is nipping at my children.” Yep. That’s what puppies do.
  • “We’re moving and so we have to get rid of our dog.” I understand that there may be extenuating economic circumstances, but in general, I think it’s cruel to abandon your dog because you’re moving. I myself wouldn’t dream of moving into a place that wouldn’t allow me to bring my dog with me.
  • Or, the most infuriating: “We just don’t have time for her anymore.”

Frustrating Craigslist posts aside, here’s my amateur’s vision of the types of people who shouldn’t get dogs:

  1. People with young children who want a dog–or worse, a puppy–to be a playmate/guardian for their children. These people really make me the most anxious. I see them come into the shelter with their little kids and ask if we have any puppies available. My guard goes up instantly. There is nothing wrong with getting a dog so your kids can enjoy canine companionship. However, many young parents seem to underestimate the commitment that a puppy demands. It’s kind of like having an infant all over again. And your kids are not going to raise and train that dog for you, no matter how much they beg and plead (trust me. I was that kid once! My mom was the primary caretaker for our dog, and she wasn’t really keen on having that job in the first place). Parents buy a puppy for their kids and then realize a week later, “Oh, crap. This creature needs a lot of attention that I’m not willing or able to give it.” And the dog or the puppy ends up at the shelter, confused and bewildered.
  2. People who travel a lot for work or are never home. A dog will not have a high-quality life if she lives the majority of it in a crate. Dogs are social animals. They need our daily companionship and interaction.
  3. People who don’t have a clue about a dog’s emotional, physical, and mental needs.
  4. People who won’t take the time to train their dog or think that training is “cruel” or somehow makes the dog less happy. Nothing could be further from the truth. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, because she knows where she belongs in the family order. A well-trained dog is mentally balanced, content, and a respectable member of society.
  5. People who will neglect the physical health of their dog. The more reading I do about dog food, the more I am appalled at what we’ve been feeding our pets.
  6. People who won’t spay or neuter their dogs because they think it’s unkind or depriving. Unless your full-time job is a reputable breeder, please, please spay and neuter your dog. The world is filled with unwanted dogs who are the result of irresponsible humans. I see their sweet faces every day at the shelter. Think of them before you hesitate to spay or neuter.

I hope this doesn’t come across as judgmental or cynical, even though it probably does. This post stems from my deep wish that people took dog adoption more seriously. I think dogs in America would be so much better off if their humans took the time to do a little more research. I’m always very encouraged when I do meet other dog owners–like many of the incredible dog bloggers that I link to on my site (on the right sidebar)–who understand, even better than I do, the tremendous commitment we must make to our dogs. I hope I will carefully and judiciously consider all of these elements before my husband and I bring a dog into our home. It’s not a decision to be made lightly. And that’s the main thing I’ve learned.

How about you? What kind of people make the best dog owners, in your opinion?


81 thoughts on “6 types of people who shouldn’t get dogs

  1. What a great blog post! And…100% correct. Most people do head off to pick out a puppy, then realize that it is a lot of work. We had an awesome outcome with our decision to adopt. We were heading into PetSmart to purchase cat food, and saw an APL pet fair outside the store. Of course, we love animals, so we walked over to take a look – – and we were hooked on this one little puppy. We immediately scooped her up, bought everything for her in the store that day, and went home to start our lives together. We were the lucky ones, the people who actually LOVE dogs, and gave this little girl a good home with lots of attention. Not many dogs are this lucky. (she had a shaky start in life, and her Mommy was poisoned with ani-freeze after she gave birth to the litter of 7) All in all, it was a lot of work, but well worth all the time I devoted to her. You are correct, it does take someone special to do all that we have done for our little girl, Nikita, (who just turned 1 on Monday), and I hope that for those who are considering getting a puppy/dog, they better be ready to handle all the work! GREAT blog post, kuddos for taking the time to write it! Check out Nikita’s blog when you get the chance: http://www.nikitaland.wordpress.com

  2. While I agree with you on most of your points, I do think that the invention of doggy daycares, dog walkers, and state-of-the-art boarding facilities have made dog ownership accessible for people that do work a lot. As long as you socialize your dog at a young age, interacting with other dogs and people can be just as enjoyable as hanging out with their owners. I work at a daycare/boarding facility, and we have dogs that get just as excited to see us and the other pups as they do when their owners come to pick them up.

    There are so many homeless dogs out there of all ages on top of reputable breeder puppies, so it’s important to find your right fit. If you’re gone 9-10 hrs. a day, maybe go for an older dog that can just hang out around the house when you’re not around, ya know?

    That being said, I love all the info on your blog, and I do agree with all of the points you made.

    1. These are great points, Vanessa (& Rufus). I know a lot of busy friends who are able to keep their dogs happy by employing dog walkers and doggy daycares. It is a blessing that we have those resources at our disposal now. Thanks so much for your comment!

    2. Not even just for the working set..but for my type of situation as well. I am a SAHM with a 3 year old and 3 dogs. 2 elderly chihuahuas(that just want to lay in the sun all day and play fetch for 6 minutes and they are pooped) and 1 ‘normal’ sized 8 month old spayed female puppy. On days that I can not take my big girl out for a walk/run I drop her off at doggie day care for a few hours so she still gets that exercise/mental stimulation/enrichment that she needs so much to keep her happy and engaged. So not just for full time working people but its also a boon for those of us stay at home parents that appreciate that others can fill the gaps when its needed. I get funny looks though when I talk about doggy daycare because I think most people think its a waste of money. Sad:/

      1. It’s a complete waste of money. You people are down right out of your minds for a dog that shouldn’t have been domesticated in the first place how about that. =) Greedy Pest of The World (simply put you all)

    3. So who’s dog will it be, the doggie daycare center’s or yours ? There’s no way that I’d allow another human to bring up and nurture my dog . Would you leave your child with strangers or change your life to allow you to spend as much time as possible with your dog. I’d live in a tent before leaving my dog behind. We are a team till death us do part. All those precious hours are lost and to add insult to injury I’m paying someone to do it.
      I did consider it, but when I saw two girls from my local “doggie daycare centre” walking 8 dogs across a 6 lane city road to walk them in a local park I swore I’d never leave Eddie there. They lost control of the dogs two ran across the road and all these little girls could do is laugh rather than dealing with a dangerous situation.

  3. Well I disagree with the idea that “most people should not get a dog,” but I agree that people who are generally going to neglect their pets or especially your 4th point – those who think training is “cruel” or “mean” or “will make my dog hate me” – definitely should not!

    Also, while it’s frustrating that people give up their pets for a myriad of reasons, I’m glad they at least have the decency to do what’s right by the animal and find it a better home. 🙂

    And thank goodness for you and every other shelter volunteer out there who help to make sure those pups make it to their Forever homes!

    1. I work in a shelter and I definitely believe that most people are probably unprepared for a dog. The average person really does not know much about dogs, definitely not as much as they should. Especially when it comes to puppies or dogs with more advanced needs. People just fall in love with a cute face and don’t actually think about the reality of the situation. And I’ve found that they usually don’t want to think of the reality of their situation and will resist you when you try to get them to realize it. We had a dog that had extreme separation anxiety, had to have an owner that could be with her for at least the majority of the day, preferably all day. A very nice older couple came in and saw her. They really liked her and started asking questions. When I explained to them the kind of home she needed they immediately said that it would not work because they both worked and were gone all day. They were very nice and left, saying that they would look at other dogs in the future. A few days later they came back and tried to adopt her. They kept trying to avoid me because they knew I would’ve been against it with what they told me. They kept making all kinds of excuses and trying to get my coworkers to adopt the dog to them. I had to put my foot down and they got so offended and defensive, acting like I had no reason to not want them to adopt this dog, and I must just not like them personally. The fact that even a normally very logical and mature couple would want to knowingly give a dog a home that they know she would be miserable in just because it’s cute and THEY want her, it just makes me terrified of the kind of people adopting animals, knowing they shouldn’t. It breaks my heart to see an animal go to what I thought was a good home, and see them returned the next day. If you care about your animal, you should do everything you can to find them a good home yourself, not dump it off at a shelter where it may be put down. I respect the situations where they know they cannot take care of them and want them to have a better life, but most of the time their excuses for leaving them behind sound like they just don’t WANT to keep taking care of them :/

      1. I live in an elderly / persons with disabilities building that allows dogs. ALL and I mean ALL of the dog owners are irresponsible. NONE of the dogs are obedience trained. Several of the owners let their dogs run around off-leash, in violation of the lease. None of the dog owners use flea / tick / parasite prevention. Several of the dog owners can’t walk their dogs. Most of the dogs are very high strung small dogs, terriers, chihuahua mixes. They want their doggies/dollies. When I show the landlord photographs of the seniors openly violating their leases, nothing is done. “It would break Mrs A. Hole’s heart if she had to give up her doggie/dolly.” I say, “Then, Mrs. A. Hole can comply with the terms of the lease, like everyone else.. I have absolutely no sympathy for Mrs A. Hole.”

        I find that many of the elderly dog owners are completely self-centered, like the couple who wanted to adopt a cute doggie/dolly that was completely wrong for them. I tried to get a local animal shelter NOT to let my parents adopt a dog because I know that they are irresponsible dog owners–they’ve never, ever trained their dogs and spoil them rotten and taught them bad manners.

        In elderly / disabled housing, I think landlords need to be very strict about who is allowed to keep a dog. The person has to be a tenant in good standing, with no history of lease violations / significant complaints. No puppies. The tenant has to agree to train the dog, get a AKC Canine Good Citizenship Certificate. After 18 months / 2 lease cycles, if the dog/owner team does not have a AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate, the resident has to get rid of the dog. No loitering with dogs in the common areas of the building or near the main entrance. If a resident INTENTIONALLY takes the leash off the dog, when the dog is outside, the resident has to get rid of the dog. If the tenant can’t take care of the dog, the resident has to get rid of it.

        I adopted a cat from a local rescue. They carefully interviewed me. I asked the rescue to select the cat they thought would be best for me. They really wanted what was best for my cat, for she had some definite requirements about the sort of home she really wanted. They checked out my place and made sure I had a vet appointment scheduled for her. They told me what to expect and helped me through the rough start. She had been though a lot–loosing her home, landing in a municipal animal shelter, going into a volunteer rescue, being spayed and finally ending-up at my place, all within a month’s time. With love, understanding and patience, she blossomed into a very confident and sociable cat. The vet tells me that she’s very easy to work with and the vet tech says that she is a sweetie.

    1. for real some people make a lot of excuses for a little problem and big problems. so thing people who work a lot should not get a dog because basically they do not have time for there do so that is what i think. there are some kids who want a dog and don’t take care of it.

    2. As a dog trainer I can understand why some families need to give up their dogs. I’d rather they admit defeat and get the dog into a family that appreciates them (or isn’t deathly allergic to them – it’s a serious thing that actually happens, not an excuse), wouldn’t you? We make it so shameful to re home a dog that some will just “accidentally” let the dog out, or neglect them, which puts the dog in danger. I think that’s wrong. It does no one any good to be judgemental. Re home the dog and kindly educate them as to why they should not get another.

  4. I’d add these to your list:
    “People who see their dog as a fashion accesory” (cute and tiny or big and mean – same bad attitude from the owner), “People who buy herding/hunting/pulling dogs with no intention of giving them a chance of fulfilling their instinctive urges” (in a real setting or incorporated into training (agility and such)), and “People who won’t train their pocket sized pooch because it is so small and fluffy and CUTE that it can’t possibly be a problem that the dog considers itself alpha and doesn’t respond to a single command”

    1. Oh, those are great ones! I totally agree with you.

      I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve never liked small dogs. Cute, toy breeds so rarely get trained and they become behavioral nightmares.

      Great points. Thanks for commenting on Doggerel!

      1. I have a very well behaved westie. Small dog but very loyal and I wanted a big dog but knew I wouldn’t want to exercise it to its need. I ended up with the small westie and he’s a very fun dog. Exercise it for 30mins to an hour each day and then he sits with me on the couch and watch tv. Knows all his commands and communicates well what he needs. Small dogs can be a terror but done right they are nice companions. He also rides with me in my truck well.

      2. Actually a lot of small dogs are just neurotic and training them doesn’t always do any good. I have a pomeranian and brought her everywhere when she was a puppy but the closer she got to turning a year old the more she became barky and suspicious of stangers. Continuing to introduce her to new people didn’t help so I just try to manage and hope people don’t think I didn’t try.

      1. I’ve seen quite a few of those myself – always makes me sad. I do wish people would choose dogs based on the life they can/will offer them, not on which breed they happen to think look good. I *love* huskies, malamutes and greenland dogs, but very much doubt that I will ever be in a location and situation that enables me to keep such a dog in the manner I believe they deserve.

      2. Giving a husky what they need in terms of natural instinct can be easy, though. My boy pulls a sled through the park in winter (or did, at age 9 and lazy, he’s semi-retired already) and a bike in summer. All you need is a harness, a bike and a little training. Even just on a leash, Louka is trained to be my “lead dog” and instead of having to focus on walking at heel, he has to either listen to my directions or find a good path, depending on what my instructions are. He’s amazing at it. And we live in a 2 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor in the city. The where you are is less important than how much you are willing to give them. I’m not sure that when he was young, Louka would have been satisfied with just a yard to chill in and not our long walks and expeditions where he was pulling the sled or bike.

        That said, having a husky did NOT prepare me for the challenges of owning a pointer. Never again. She was 11 when I adopted her and I was NOT expecting that level of crazy. I love her, but man, she takes a lot more out of me than my husky ever did.

  5. Very true word indeed. I watch Animal Planet all the time, and whenever they potlight dog adoption and such, like on Animal Cops or Dogs 101, they always say something along the lines of, “before you get a dog, do your research.”

    My family was niave when we got our dogs, a toy poodle and a yorkie, but we just completely lucked out because it turns out we couldn’t have chosen any better pooches. But I realize that’s not usually the case, if you virtually live in a cubical and get a huge dog or you have vases and leather all over the place and you get a puppy, that’s just irresponsible.

    Your post is wise and well-worded. I commend you. 🙂

  6. This is a great post with a lot of valid points that even I wish I had taken into consideration before we brought Sebastian home. It was definitely a learning process, but with a lot of patience and book here and there we are doing the very best to make this work. Owning a dog is incredibly difficult but very rewarding. I’m glad that I came across your blog. Thank you for sharing your journey to dog ownership. I look forward to reading more in the future =)

  7. I think you’ve covered most of the points that I would make, and I generally agree with your list and observations.

    But when we’re able to move from “Most people should not get a dog” to “Most people would stand to gain from a mutually beneficial relationship with a dog,” THAT will be a day to celebrate. It’ll signify that we’ve overcome some deeply rooted social and cultural issues that prevent so many people from providing appropriate homes for dogs in the first place.

    For example, #2. I sometimes fall into that category, though I do have a partner to keep watch over the dogs when I’m gone. But in my ideal world, the dogs could travel WITH me for not an exorbitant amount of money, and there would be measures in place to make sure they travel safely and comfortably.

    Or #5, when there is a vast change in the way we feed ourselves as humans, as well as our pets, we might be less apt to feed garbage to either ourselves or those whom we love.


  8. I just started reading your blog after adopting a dog – such a great resource!

    I used to live with a girl who bought pets haphazardly. First, a couple of rats and a rabbit – both of which she later said she was “allergic” to. And then a dog, who she also gave back to the person she bought the pup from, and then took the dog back again. What?

    Pets need stability and affection. I have to say, since adopting my dog, I’ve started changing my life for him – he inspired me to be a better dog mom. I’ll never be able to understand, “We just don’t have time for him/her anymore.”

  9. I completely agree, regarding the “types of people” that should not have dogs. Although, I find many who should not “own” dogs should not have PETS period for many of the reasons you stated. The idea is always a cool one, but many do not understand the commitment involved with having pet. Also, I don’t believe many people who set out to find a pet think to themselves “I think I willfully will neglect this poor animal”. I believe many (not all) have good intentions when it comes to having a pet but you know what they say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I have rescued many a ferret from such people and was glad I did. I currently own a dog and a cat. They are the spoiled with love, affection and everything else. The food thing is my most important issue. It was with my ferrets and is with my dog and cat. I look at food intake the way I would eat. Food vs. Junk food. I found it is hard to find good information on proper dog and cat food diet. But I keep looking. Thanks for the blog post, I really enjoy reading an great informative piece.

    Check out my blog: http://ferretfrenzi.blogspot.com

  10. On some levels, I may be one of the people who shouldn’t own a dog- or at least, we weren’t good Aussie owners. I wouldn’t give up our 9 years with him for anything, but he had some issues that were completely our fault.
    And our Beagle, no way is she hunting. We don’t hunt. However, she does get to go to the dog park and sniff her way through the fields and even up the Beagle Eating Hill where she can sniff her way through the underbrush.

    But our Beagle’s story is also the epitome of your first type of person that shouldn’t get a dog. We got her from the Humane Society when she was 6 months old. The notes about her mentioned that she was given up because the family just didn’t have time to care for her/train her. It also mentioned that she was good with kids and had lived with a 1y/o. 3y/o,and 5y/o. At which point I thought “duh, of course you didn’t have time for her!”

    As for our Fox Terrier mix, we made changes to our lifestyle when we brought him home. We fell in love with him at the shelter, so not bringing him home wasn’t an option. But that meant we had to consciously change our pet parenting style and make changes to our daily routine to give him the exercise he needs to be a well behaved dog. We did it. But we were lucky enough to know in advance that was what we were going to have to do.

    Read about my dogs: http://www.lifebypets.blogspot.com/

    1. It doesn’t sound as though you where lucky enough to know what you had to do, you were smart enough to do your homework, and passionate enough to keep your word 🙂

      1. I have two dogs I’m 21 years old and guess what I travel to work& am away from them 4 days a week and guess what they live a very high quality life. BECAUSE I’m willing to pay for such care when I’m not around .So ” travlers shouldn’t get a dog ” no THANK GOD people like me travel to gain more pay to provide more for that dog! Or dogs! People who are dog lovers and don’t put the dog first of every decision shouldn’t get a dog . Cause boy have I starved and lived farther away just to keep my dogs. one is 3 and the other is 2 and many hopefully more years to come even if I’m “paying a Mercedes car note every month on a dog” what people complain to me about (boarding , grooming and monthly pet vet installments ) they are very much loved regardless if I travel a lot to work! If a dog has a home it’s lucky because right now the way the economy is set up anyone willing to walk feed and take care of an animal is ideal some people may not afford vets but thank god they take money from their checks to buy food for an animal

      2. Jen, to your comment about your dog being yappy. Look up Doggy Dan. He is brilliant and should be able to help you with your problem. Actually, ANY problem.

  11. Well, I agree that some people shouldn’t have a dog, but I wouldn’t say most. There are a lot of different dog breeds that can mesh with a lot of different kinds of families and lifestyles. While my home might be great for the dogs I’ve got, it wouldn’t be ideal for a Border Collie or an Australian Shepherd, both breeds that I grew up with and love. They need wide open spaces to run in and things to herd, or they will give themselves a job, which is often car chasing that ends sadly. I know this about these breeds and it’s why I don’t have them in town. What works well for me might not work well for someone else, though.

    And someone who is inexperienced as a dog owner isn’t going to get any experience if they don’t get a dog. My brother in law surprised us a couple of years when he told us he was starting to look for a puppy. He researched the daylights out of dog food and other things while he was searching for a dog, and he’s been a great dog owner. He actually has two now, and he takes them all over the place with him. As a matter of fact, he seeks out places that allow the dogs so he can take them with him. Just because he hadn’t had a dog doesn’t mean that he couldn’t become a responsible dog owner.

    I think sometimes when you work in dog rescue, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by people who aren’t responsible dog owners. I still have total disdain for people who return a dog in its senior years to the adoption kennel because they can’t pay the vet bills anymore, or they have difficulty coping with things that come along with old dogs, but it’s still better than just going and having the dog put to sleep. At least, that’s my feeling on the subject. Sometimes, we forget the human element in dog adoptions. Sometimes it really just isn’t a good fit, and in those situations, I’d rather see the dog have a chance at a happier life with someone else. Just my two cents.

  12. I work PT at a healthy dog food store and I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who refuse to train their dogs by going to classes or hiring a trainer to come to the house. “Oh I don’t have time for that”, is their reply yet they are complaining to me about how their dog won’t stop pulling, jumping….etc. That and the people who refuse to buy a more expensive brand of food because they don’t feel that food for their dog should cost so much. For the most part the customers at the store are awesome but there are some that when they leave I’m just like, “Wow you so should not even have a dog.” I always come home and love on my big mush face as much as I can after work. Ha!

  13. Such a great post! I’ve been hearing too much lately about people getting a dog to dress it up, and wanting to “sell” her because she doesn’t like that. Then, others getting a pitbull on impulse. Too many people see these adorable creatures as products rather than member’s of their family. It makes me so sad!

  14. What a wonderful post!! I am fostering two orphaned puppies and one of them is supposed to go to a family with three children – all 5 years and younger. I am devastated by this. I was there when they first met the puppies, they both growled at the children and the toddler poked one of the puppies eyes. The family has never had a dog, no experience at all. They were not interested in looking at other dogs and I am just shocked. They see this cute pup, but they have not seen her yet having bathroom accidents on the carpet or trying to rip the rug apart. Of course people will always say that they can handle it, but in the end they get sick of it rather fast…I am very disappointed in the shelter I volunteer for because they think that they can work it out together with the shelter trainer (the family will get 6 classes). I think 3 little kids are quite enough for a mother and a terrier puppy is a handful. I talked to the shelter, but they don’t agree with me. She has to go there tomorrow and I am still thinking about what I can do to change this. Am I overprotective?

    1. Well, first of all I agree with you. But on one point I don’t. I travel a lot and aren’t in my first home for about half the week. I’m doing this for years but I always wanted a dog. So I researched like a crazy, thought about it for years until I got my dog in May ’13. Because being so much on the road I chose a small breed and a companion breed on top of that. My Chihuahua Pixie goes with my everywhere I go. She enjoys it very much and gets happily excited as soon as she realizes were off to the train station or we get in the car. So, it’s possible. I agree with @houndstooth4, it’s possible to find a dog that fits your lifestyle and family. But it’s necessary that you have the resources to care for a dog.
      A few rescues I talked to in the process of finding a dog, simply stated they don’t let a dog go to a young adult working full time, and not to a pensioner or someone out of work. While I get this to some extent, I think this is excessive if strictly applied and should be viewed case by case. I work full time, but my dog can come with me. Those rescues who wouldn’t let me adopt because working full time also never asked me where my dog would stay during work. I also see don’t see any issue with a pensioner adopting an older dog if the needs of the dog are met (mental and physical stimulation, enough food and space and proper medical care).

      I also don’t get people so crazy about getting a puppy. While it’s a wonderful experience to watch your little friend grow up, it’s also hard work. A puppy shouldn’t be left alone for long, needs a lot of attention, needs to be socialized… the list goes on. I felt not competent enough to do all this properly as it would be my first dog. Especially the socialization part. What if I did it wrong? That’s why I chose a young adult dog. I was very lucky with her as she was already perfectly socialized AND house trained, she’s an awesome pet. I still don’t get it why someone abandoned her in the woods.

  15. I totally agree with the stupid reasons that people give up dogs on “free” wanted ads online. The excuses disgust me (really) and usually the dog is around 1 or 2 years old – so yes, they got a puppy and then when it turned into a DOG – suddenly all the excuses come out. It appalls me even more when they’re giving away their older dog. A dog who has been with that family its entire life – suddenly an orphan. I applaud your post and completely agree – there are people who should NOT have a dog!

  16. Excellent article and I like to add the following. Don’t leave young kids alone with the dog especially if they are eating. Your child may decide to sneak up on the dog just to pet it, etc and get a bite as a result. This is especially true for children 5-10 who are most likely to be bitten.

    If you don’t have the time to train your dog properly, you need to take it to a dog trainer otherwise, your dog’s bad behavior will lead to the dog being kicked out of the family. Just taking the time to get your dog to sit, stay and come can avoid many behavior issues.

  17. Agreed. I am absolutely one of those people that should not have a dog. 1) I don’t want the mess – I have a clean home and cannot stand mud and hair and all the mess that comes with a dog. 2) I don’t have time for a dog. I work full time and then hit the gym right after, so I am gone from 8am until 9pm or later, most days. 3) I love to travel, so even if I wasn’t working, I would NOT want to be tied down at home with a pet. I get SO TIRED of people asking me why I don’t have a dog. I don’t want one!

  18. I don’t like dogs. And no, please don’t let them wander around the neighborhood to attack people and kill children. Dogs need to be leashed, vaccinated, and spayed for the public good.

  19. it’s certainly too bad that your blog contains so many truthful points – some western European countries require potential dog owners to take a course and be examined about proper dog care – spay/neuters are uncommon because people are aware of how to keep their pets safe and secure, and can avoid the multiple health hazards of spay and neuter – other issues that you mention in your blog are also avoided because people are educated about caring for their dog – I constantly see the downside of unknowledgeable owners at my kennel where we do behavior therapy for dogs with behavior issues – dogs are being sent to us from across Canada and the US with problems that have them labeled “3rd strike dogs” – almost all of these dogs have not been given what they needed, and a dog that isn’t given what it needs CAN’T give what the owner wants – most of these 3rd strike dogs can be saved, but it can be time consuming and expensive and the dogs have suffered the canine version of hell before they get here – I would advise all owners to research breeds before they get a dog, and I would also advise all owners to take their dogs to obedience classes – and —- EXERCISE your dog! set BOUNDARIES, EXPOSE your dog to life, and reward good behavior with love and affection at the appropriate times

  20. There’s an awfully wide gap between crating a dog for 12 hours daily and letting them roam free in the neighbourhood. My dog would end up dead or attacking some kid out of fear.

    But she goes to daycare 3 times a week and for long walks to the off leash park every other day of the week, lounges on the couches and bed when I’m not there.

    Otherwise, totally agree with all the points. I remember an ex friend, who barely took her dog for walks and allowed her kids to be rough with it in old age, telling me that they got a new dog because they’re “just dog people”. Who didn’t actually understand dogs. *sigh*

    1. Haha.. yes big gap! but also depends on the dog, My dog wouldn’t attack, harm, bite, or bark.. doesn’t really know how to, even in defence. He knows when & where to cross the road. But yeah.. that part would still be a risk.

  21. I agree with this article except for one point. I’m a single flight attendant who has a 4.5 yr old weimaraner. I’m away mon to thurs. Hailey is with her daycare while I’m away. They pick her up the day I leave, drop her off when I return, take her on 2+ hour off leash pack hikes in the mountains each day and she sleeps on a dog bed and is never crated each night.
    Weims are a very high energy, high anxiety breed so as a responsible owner I ensure she is exercised and engaged when I’m not home to care for her. We have a routine the she knows and the consistency is good for us both. I’m lucky to have caregivers I can trust so I can come home to a happy, healthy companion I’m certain that Hailey spends significantly less time alone or crated than many dogs who’s humans don’t travel.

  22. While I don’t think you should need to buy “expensive” dog food, you need to be able to if the case comes up. I bred and showed dogs for 30 years, share my life with an elderly westie and a rescued sheltie stud from Canada’s largest mill seizure. The sheltie might have been someone’s discarded pet at one time as mills often go for intact animals at low price. I volunteer with a rescue group and we do home visits, vet reference calls etc. and often won’t accept an adoptive home with young children. I was difficult to buy a pup from when I was still breeding and took that comment as a compliment from one of my clients. My dogs generally live to be well into their teens with little health issues because they are kept clean, groomed, exercised, loved and vetted. I do not believe in crating when you are away from home, nor do I believe in crating every time you have to do something around the house. I believe the crate does have it’s uses but isn’t for making it easy for you…….it should be a place of safety for the dog. Even my mill dog that lived in filth for years is 100% house trained and isn’t chewing anything. He was allowed to be in a position to learn and that isn’t in a crate. Many people complain about the cost of training, I do too but I know that even though I don’t need to actually attend training classes it is beneficial to the dog. I detest dog parks and feel that the intent of them has been forsaken, becoming instead, a social gathering place for humans. One other point to consider is that as we age we must look at whether we are able to have a dog for it’s ENTIRE life. Our rescue often gets dogs that the owners pass away or are now in retirement living and the family does not want. Think of how old you will be when that dog is likely to pass away. Are you likely, based on family history, going to be able to live through the entire commitment. If not, consider an older dog. There are lots around looking for love.

  23. In our family we have three children and just recently adopted a third dog. I agree with what your saying but all of our dogs are very happy and healthy and gets LOTS of exercise (mostly up at our camp). It seems a family is the perfect place for a dog or puppy, unless unable or unwilling to care for one.

  24. I could not agree more!! all points I have said. I will say this, I never in my 49 years of life ever thought I would see the day when abusers are actively seeking out animals to abuse, torture, rape, brutalize, and neglect by starvation!!!!!! I’m sorry, I am a Psychology major who shakes her head at some behaviors, yet, this is beyond my thinking capability….I always say if you are NOT a dog lover, DON’T HAVE ONE. As far as the abusers, I am not normally violent in anyway…..I always figure Karma will get them, but lately I just don’t want to wait…What helps me to sleep at night is the dream in my head that says, these abusers will come knocking on the gates of heaven and GUESS WHAT? The animal/animals THEY ABUSED< BEAT<KICKED<STARVED will answer……Animals are so helpless and innocent and at the mercy of the monsters of this world. I so wish the laws were harsher. I feel my animals are family (lose one and its as devastating as losing a child) why aren't the laws the same as any family you abuse?

  25. I love our dogs… I’m lucky enough to have a mate that is home with our dog. We got ourself a puppy, but realized quickly that we were not enough for her, so we got her a older rescue dog. it has been so great seeing their relationship grow. I like and agree with the article, but I would add:
    If you are not willing to pick up their poop, don’t get a dog. So many rude people leaving piles along the way… Such a pet peeve of mine.

  26. Getting a dog has been a lifechanging experience for me. As a kid, we had pets, but I was never the chief owner of a pet until now. It’s proven to be lots of worthwhile hard work. I am not experienced, but am trying my best to train him (jumping on people, biting, etc).

    I can’t stand when people get a dog for their children as a present as if they are toys. A dog is not a toy. Adding a dog to your household is like adding another person in many ways. They do have feelings, and they do matter.

  27. Re the post by Abby July 21st 2011 (yes I know it’s ages ago but still very relevant. “What sort of people should never get a dog”. Thank you for your post. Maybe the list should include people who are not aware of the other large part of the community out there who are very inconvenienced by irresponsible dog ownership but afraid to speak up. This includes owners who feel confronted by any criticism of their dog’s and their own bad behaviour ……. eg. Dogs barking at will, presence in prohibited public areas by dogs in ignorance of local regulations, dogs on beaches and in high public-use areas eg swimming areas, dogs drinking from public taps, lack of cleaning up dog faeces, threatening activity of some dogs in public, over-excited behaviour by unrestrained dogs that jump on, lick, sniff people etc. ….  are all issues needing ongoing education for dog owners. 

    1. Couldn’t agree more. These should be top of the list for why some people shouldn’t get dogs. It amazes me how often people who profess to love animals can be so irresponsible in their care of them. Unfortunately many people don’t seem to care how their choice to have a dog impacts other people in the public sphere.

  28. “A well-trained dog is mentally balanced, content, and a respectable member of society.”

    “respectable member of the society” that shit is rich I tell you

  29. I may have to move to a different country, and i will have to find another place for my 12 months old great dane male, whom i raised since he was 7 weeks old. I cry every time I think of this. It is very heart breaking. I can’y imagine a situation where i don’t know where he is or what he is doing. I will consider taking him with me, but i will probably not be able to 😦

  30. I just took in Maltese from my husband’s aunt because she doesn’t want the dog anymore. Yet she buys more Maltese and other dogs. I don’t see the dogs that she have any more. It upsets me because we were not ready for another dog we have a senior dog that we love and needs our attention. There are times I don’t see my husband’s aunt dog anymore because either she gets tired of it or she just not happy with the dog temperament. It’s really sad and it bothers me. We love the Maltese that we took in and we made a commitment to him, but sad to see people who we socialize often abandon their animal like that. It’s truly sad. I couldn’t agree more with this blog.

  31. Hi i fully agree with your story and is hwartbreaking. I was looking for help and also wanted an outside opinion on my dog/dogs which I came across your article. We have 4 dogs and 2 puppys which are now about a year old. They are pig dogs and the puppy nessie I have favour most. She gets picked on by the others, not interested in pigs, seems more affectionate than others and when she doesn’t get attention she seems depressed. I was looking for help on this as I came across your article. I have been thinking to adopt her to a family that could have her as a house pet. But that i am not guaranteed if i sent her to spca or something . She deseves more than been in a kennel most of the day. I I want to make her a inside dog. I feel for all of them. They are locked up in their Kennels till we get home and let them have a run. My partner said to get another dog as a inside puppy which i am not. Do you think the other dogs will get jelous? And know that she shold be in the pack with them? Thank you for your advise

  32. I have a dog I really didn’t want and but I’m not sure I agree with this blog. I wanted a cat as I have always had cats and find them easy to look after. On the day of my op as a present my partner bought me (him) a pet dog as a get well. 2 years on I still have her. I do love her but still feel this anxious about the amount of work she is . But regardless I take her every day for a run with me and a walk. She is spayed to prevent any future health issues. She is trained and enjoys agellity training. I still don’t want her but wouldn’t dream of giving a living animal a poor quality of life nor putting her in a kennel or shelter. People are just lazy with the mistakes they have made. Can’t have your dog for the day spend a little money and take them to a doggie day care! In which they can play in a large space with other dogs. If your dog isn’t great with other dogs we’ll sort it out. There’s going to be a reason. I agree with looking for a loving family you feel are better than you for the care of your dog. My biggest concern for giving a dog a new home is wat if they give them away and so on.. Hense why my dog is still with me and probably will be forever. So am I person in your list yes !!! Am I one of the better dog owners yes !! There are many people who have a dog to fat to thin, has anxiety, doesn’t get attention but are kept and those are the people to address the most! Yes people who give there dog up are lazy but they care enough to do so for the wealth fare for themselves and the dog. Some keep there dogs and but Wealth fares are at risk and that’s when we see dogs neglected!

  33. 7) People who think it is cool to owe a dog and leave the dog in the crate all the time, never walk the dog but let them go out inside the backyard fence once or twice a day.

    8) People who smoke a lot in the house.

  34. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been telling my girlfriend for years that she needs to treat a dog like it’s 99% wolf and not like it’s a baby human. Dogs like it better when we treat them like a member of the pack. They know their place and can relax in that niche.

    Begging is what led me here. My husky is never allowed to beg. I have a rule, zero eye contact until the alpha is finished eating. Then, maybe a scrap or two in the food bowl away from the table. As a reward for not begging. People think it’s cute, but you’re opening the door for dominance confusion and aggressive behavior.

    My girlfriend thinks it’s cute. She’s babysitting a dog who’s owner also thinks it’s cute. Well on Saturday I ended up in the ER from a bite I got from this dog. She attacked my husky over a toy she found. Then she bit my hand really badly when I tried breaking them up. She has issues.

    My dog however is always calm and submissive. Never aggressive and ALWAYS goofy and happy. There’s no separation anxiety, there’s no bad behavior. Why? Because I have studied how dogs behave socially and base my training on that. My pack is strong and orderly. I do tell my dog that if she wants to have the food on my plate, she can try to take it from me. So far she hasn’t challenged the alpha. If she does and wins, she can have my dinner. But then she’ll have to go to work and pay the mortgage as well. Thems the rules!

    1. You have a fucked up perspective on canine behavior. You should probably do some reading(and watch less TV, particularly show titles which include the word “Whisperer”). There is no scientifically validated data to uphold the belief that you must eat before your dog. Not allowing begging is a great idea, it can be very annoying; zero eye contact while you’re eating is bizarre.

      Based on your description of how you got bit, the only thing I can infer is that you’re an idiot. Don’t put your hand in front of a dog that: very likely to bite you.

      Canine dominance theory has never been widely accepted and many credible peer reviewed studies discredit almost all aspects of said “theory”. If you practice dominance theory, as opposed to creating harmony you’re probably just being a jerk to your dog.

  35. I have to say this is a very judgemental post. You’ve clearly never had the experience of having to give up your dog. It’s heartbreaking, and allergies aren’t that easy to discover. They also get worse when constantly exposed to an allergen as opposed to being around it for one evening. It’s not an easy choice to give up a dog, and I admire anyone who has the strength to admit when they’re no longer capable of looking after them. I also think this is worth a read. http://www.dogingtonpost.com/are-shelters-too-picky-with-potential-adopters/ I agree you have to be careful about adopting a pet but I think the standards are way too high! It just encourages more breeding and selling dogs online and in the end more dogs are being put down because nobody is good enough. 😥

    1. @ Chelly. The fact is that the majority of people who surrender their animals are doing so because the animal has inconvenienced them. People who truly discover previously unknown allergies are in the minority. They don’t do so because they are “strong”, they do so because they had so little interest in the animal in the first place. Far too many people get an animal, a “pet”; a word I don’t care for, for their own benefit. Also, many breed specific rescues can be very strict when it comes to adopting out. I agree that a few may do so at the risk of eliminating good potential adopters. However, that is simply not the case with most shelters/rescues. Most people who truly love the spirit of dogs are less concerned with getting a specific breed anyway; so there would be no need to move on to a breeder. Plus, people buy from breeders, backyard in particular, and online out of ignorance or carelessness. Education is key here, not making it easier for bad owners to adopt.

      This is coming from someone with 4 cats and NO dogs. I would love to adopt a dog in the future, but would never consider doing so unless i can offer them an environment and pack like family he/she would deserve. I’m so tired of people making excuses for self involved, irresponsible pet owners.

  36. Friends of mine ( soon to be unfriended) Has two small dogs..a female pug and a male chihuahua. Neither dogs were fixed and so the female got pregnant and had pups. They sold the pups and fixed the male only even though they made enough money to fix both. Then months later they let the male chihuahua get out of the house and it got a neighbors dog who also was let out of the their home unsupervised and yet more babies ! Just this summer they decided to get a pitbull/mastiff pup because they thought they were so cute and always wanted one. Now they have 3 dogs and they live on social assistance ! The Pit-bull/mastiff is huge now and it isn’t even 1 yr old yet ! My guess almost 100 lbs now ! The two male dogs fight sometimes over treats, attention etc..The chihuahua bit the pit-bulls face over a treat and when they tried to pull them apart the owner got bit in the process. I I was horrified as I witnessed this. But a month later it happened again ..I was not there that time. All I know is the chihuahua is not aggressive to me when I come visit and often tries to kiss me and sit by me. The pit-bull/mastiff doesn’t bite etc..but is hyper and jumps all over me trying to hump me and almost pushes me over it is so huge ! it is a hassle to visit and to think it will be even larger makes me nervous ! The two small dogs are best buddies and always get along…they go everywhere together. These people live in a very small townhouse with zero place for a large dog to run around to vent that extra energy. The dog is too big for their place let alone having two other dogs already . Now they are giving that chihuahua they had for years as a family member to the humane society so they can keep the new dog…the pit-bull/ mastiff. Even worse for the chihuahua they have now labeled it aggressive and most likely will end up killing the poor dog ! All this could have been avoided by not getting the third dog ! People like this should not have pets ! I have a make Jack chi who sometimes can be a bit aggressive with other dogs ( some he actually likes) . He also doesn’t like children due to a particular kids where I live he taunted my dog often as young dog with a cut off garden hose. Now My dog is nervous of kids around him. because they are too excitable . I love my dog..forever and he is my family. So I keep him away from kids, I am careful when he is meeting other dogs and keep him from dogs he doesn’t get along with etc..and I do not go out to get more pets either ! When I got my dog as a baby I knew he was my lifetime responsibility and I would never abandon him for anything ! He is my first and only pet and I put him as my first priority. if you get more dogs that do not get along with your first dog you do not get rid of your first dog ! You get a new home for the new dog . These people are all over the place…a few weeks ago they were talking about finding a new home for the new pitbull as they had no room for him to run around. They do not train him either …Now they are abandoning the dog they had for years so they can keep the new dog. They blame the small dog for biting the pitbull that is the excuse. Well…. they are to blame for the situation for getting this new large dog without a thought to how the smaller dogs might feel or react to it ! Also their teen daughter doesn’t want the pitbull..she doesn’t like it jumping all over her and maybe it makes her nervous. But she loves the chihuahua. The mother yelled at the daughter for feeling that way can you believe it ? Lectured the daughter over that ! Also I should mention that in the past this mother has gotten large breed dogs before because she wanted one and thought they were so cute. All of those large breed dogs were given away just a few moths after getting them due to them being too big, small place to live, no room to run around etc..etc.. yet they go get a pitbull/mastiff ? Anyway there definitely are some people who should NEVER own pets !

    1. Maybe you should go to the SPA and have a word with them regarding what these people are doing with dogs. They could then go and try to reason with them re their total disregard for the wellbeing of the animals they “adopt” and then “return”. The changes are very disrupting to the dog both in a stable home life, confidence and trust.

  37. Not a bad article but #6 (People who won’t spay or neuter their dogs) is just plain wrong and I’ll explain. Getting an animal from Mother Nature and “hacking it up” so it fits nicely into our world or our idea of society is both thoughtless and ignorant. I am a responsible dog owner and will NEVER spay or neuter my dogs not cut ears, tails, have canine teeth pulled or vocal cords cut out just so a dog fits nicely into our lives. Just because a majority of dog owners are irresponsible doesn’t have anything to do with my dogs. They don’t roam freely and when my bitch is in heat I have the proper enclosure to keep her safe from a male jumping the fence or whatever. What people don’t understand is dogs have an endocrine system just like humans and need their hormones for proper long term health and function. How many fat dogs do you see because they been neutered? The person posting this nonsense is more interested in being politically correct over the health and well being of their dog. Vets and producers or dog shows have been brainwashed and pressured to spread this nonsense. It is the same people who will declaw cats, cut dogs ears and tails off just for cosmetic purpose without any regard for the dog. People who spread nonsense such as the author of the article should NOT be dog owners. Period!

  38. Why can’t most people understand not everyone like dogs. I get so tired of people saying you need a dog. I am ready to buy a sweater that says, ” The more I am around “Dogs”, the less I like people who are “Dog” lovers.” I respect that they like their dogs, but I don’t. Please let people know not all people are dog or animal lovers.

  39. Breed education is very important. A dog is not always a dog.
    Not long ago, I tried to save a homeless Vizsla that I found on the streets, completely ignorant of its breed and requirements. It just looked like a skinny, red mutt to me. I had grown up around dogs, so I was confident I would be able to handle an adult dog.
    Within a few months, I was despondent – this animal was completely insatiable when it came to energy levels and came equipped with the most severe and literally destructive form of separation anxiety I had ever seen. Even four walks a day did not satisfy it. As a relatively sedentary apartment dweller, I found myself completely unequipped to deal with the demands of this breed of dog, which was actually bred to run all day and go hunting.
    It ended up spending an unhealthy amount of time in its crate.
    I tried to reach out to rescues, but no one was willing to help me. I was ignored and turned away. I was desperate. I couldn’t keep the animal, obviously. But I didn’t want to hand it off to a shelter either.
    So I turned into one of those ads on Craigslist. Yeah, there are some of us with more complex backstories… not all of us are just irresponsible dog owners trying to dump our pets. Perhaps I was a bit of a fool for picking up a homeless dog that I knew nothing about. Yes, perhaps I was. You could fault me for that.
    In any case, I can’t stress enough how important it is to inform yourself about the breed of whatever dog it is that you are considering. I didn’t have that chance. Not all dogs are created equal. Not all potential dog owners can own every type of dog. Vizslas are like, the most glaring example I can think of.

  40. My wife wanted a dog. knew it was a bad idea because I knew she’d rarely walk it, did not pick up the crap in the yard until I began yelling because no amount of please or pleading it’s gross worked, nor give it the ridiculously amount of attention these things need, nope. Overall, it was the dog crap, shedding and hair, needyness, barking, pee stains in the grass, snout smear on the window, digging holes in the garden beds…dogs are just gross and an inconvenience to me. Now when I see pets in general I cringe and will never have a pet of any sort. Turns out that’s just who I am. Would not have know otherwise.

  41. Volunteering is a really good thing to do anywhere that’s good you do that. I know how dogs are.

    But why don’t people let their dogs run freely they let their cats roam free I’d like to see more dogs roaming freely around the neighborhood

    I’m a cat guy but i do like dogs too nice dogs.

    1. Leash laws exist for a reason and there are dog parks where they can run free. The last thing I want is to be outside and some random male dog runs up and starts humping me or lifts his leg & pees on me or my car.

  42. 7. People who view dogs as possessions and status symbols, not as family members.

    How many pricey, bred dogs end up in shelters or, much worse, abandoned, simply because they turn out to be inconvenient? This is because the dogs had been purchased by people who weren’t true dog lovers who wanted a beloved family addition, but who liked the idea of “owning” a golden retriever, bichon, or long-haired dachshund. The luster wears off when it’s time to take the dog for 2:00 am walks in the rain or cold or forgo a daytrip because he/she needs care.

  43. I’m curious if anyone has an educated opinion on whether or not it is wise to give a puppy to someone suffering from long term depression. It may sound simple, but it’s not. A good friend of mine was given a beautiful German Shepherd puppy about 6 weeks ago and he has been dealing with depression and it’s typical symptoms for 6 + years now. He won’t regularly walk him and has spent almost zero time training him. He has plenty of food and a warm place to stay, but I have seen firsthand him be physically abusive to the dog (then immediately regretting it afterward) and he leaves the dog inside all day long while he is outside working in his yard or his Christmas lights. What a perfect opportunity for the dog to spend some quality time outside exercising in his brand new HUGE fenced in yard, but I know that my friend would rather not fool with “dealing” with this puppy right now. A huge part of it is a common symptom of depression and that is apathy and an overall lack of motivation to do anything for anyone other than yourself when you’re that depressed. I am so mad at his parents for buying him this puppy and thinking it is just what he needs, but clearly it is not and it is certainly not what this beautiful pup needs either. I am walking a fine line here, but I am toying with the idea of offering to buy the pup from his Mom (since she got it for him just six weeks ago). I can see where this dog is headed if something doesn’t change quickly. Behavioral problems at least and health problems could be a possibility because you’ve got an owner who isn’t consistently mean to the pup, but he just doesn’t care enough to do right by him. How would you approach this one? I know it’s a touchy one, but I have to do something. And I am going to, so if anyone has any words of wisdom – please reply soon.

    1. Oh dear God, NO! A stuffed dog, fine. But a real puppy that needs thousands of hours and dollars spent on care, training etc.? No way. A person with depression can barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone get up & dress and proceed to administer dog care for a half hour to an hour twice a day! A pet is a lousy gift anyway. And if the person doesn’t even LIKE dogs, you’re doing the dog and your depressed friend a grave disservice.

    2. Hi, John: Thanks for your comment. I am no longer updating the site with new content, so I confess that I’m not always monitoring the comments section on old posts. This does sound like a tricky situation, and I think your instincts are right, in that it doesn’t sound like a great environment for the dog. As a shepherd person, it does sound like a stifling way for a young GSD to grow up, which can quickly morph into behavioral problems for the dog. GSDs are very sensitive and intelligent dogs; my experience makes me think that it’s often harder for them to “get over” bad upbringings than other breeds (like solid labs or happy-go-lucky retrievers). Shepherds are touchy. I’d consider having an honest conversation, perhaps, with the parent or son, to see how much they want the dog around and if they seem invested in its care. If they’re indifferent, you could make the offer to take on the pup yourself or volunteer to help it find a more suitable home. Best wishes!

  44. One more type of person who shouldn’t get a dog: those of us who don’t like dogs. For me, the smell, the disgusting licking, the barking, the occasional “accidents”, the jumpy, excitable behavior are way too much for me to handle. Plus, you have to walk the thing twice a day, at least, rain or shine, hot or cold, and pick up that stinking, disgusting pile of poop. Males can masturbate and hump you which is horrid to endure, for me, without wanting to vomit. If my friends have dogs, I meet them out at a restaurant.

    1. What a stupid comment to make on a dog site. Anonymous. Why is this even posted and my legit question goes ignored for a month?? What gives?

  45. I have a question (and agree with your post whole heartedly)!

    My in-laws border collie just passed away 3 days ago and they have already put their names down for a brand new border collie puppy. They are in their mid 60’s, Dad has a heart problem and can’t exercise (they walk to the ball park and back, 2 blocks) and Mom puts the dog in the yard for “exercise”. They do 1 walk a day to the park and would just throw the ball for the dog for his exercise. Same thing everyday. Now they are set to get a brand new puppy border collie that is the most energetic dog on the planet! and clearly is not the right breed of dog for them at this stage in their life (the first one didn’t get what he needed either and was overweight and not mentally stimulated). Their reasoning is “they are so smart and easy to train” and “we’ve always had collie’s”. BUT my inlaws don’t exercise like they used to, they like to sit inside and relax and are often sick and need to be in bed all day. We also have 3 kids, all under 5. Not really the best breed of dog for them to get when they want us to be over with the kids all the time. I personally think its a disaster waiting to happen and a kid is going to get hurt. It may be a great dog but it also may have issues considering they will not give it what it needs.

    What can I say to them to encourage them NOT to get a border collie? They need a lower energy dog that doesn’t require much but is still smart (any ideas I can suggest?). My hubby (his parents) says its not our place and they can do what they want but I really think it’s unfair on the dog to be cooped up with old people who don’t have the energy to deal with a hyper active dog and only want to walk across the street and throw a ball. It actually makes me angry and I don’t know how to tell them this. I’m sure they would be super offended if I said anything but I’m also worried about my 2 year old’ safety with a dog that may be friendly but will herd or nip when it gets the opportunity because its agitated from lack of exercise. Their other dog was great but there were times that he made me uneasy around the kids. A dog that is not stimulated or getting enough exercise will be bad for younger kids. They have the time, are home all day and will give it love and care but a dog like a border collie will just not get what it needs with them and I wish that breeders had more responsibility with who they sell their dogs to. I can’t find anything on the net to suggest what to do. They way i would say it would be taken the wrong way-how can i convince them to get a different dog? Thanks!

    1. I think your instincts are totally right on this one (does not sound like the right breed for them). Plenty of dogs are smart/easy to train and don’t make you want to tear your hair out! I’d counsel them to get an adult mixed breed, honestly, from a rescue (not a puppy). Truthfully, it’s hard to find a dog who is super-smart and low-energy. That is a very rare combination. Most intelligent dogs are high-intensity. (I have a working line German shepherd and she is NUTS. I would never recommend her to an older couple.) Dogs that are lazy or more satisfied with lounging around the house are a better fit. I’m not sure you’ll be able to convince them either way, if they have their hearts set on a border collie, but it’s worth asking them more questions and asking them how much time they’ve actually spent with border collies.

  46. I could not agree more with the opinions stated in this article. Some people simply should not get a dog. I have one and take his happiness and well-being very seriously. I adopted him as an adult from our local SPCA 6 years ago, and he is not my first dog (I’ve had dogs for 20+ years), so I knew what I was getting into. They are not ornaments or trinkets that we can just put on a shelf when we don’t need them. They are living creatures who need love, good food, exercise, social interaction, mental stimulation, sometimes medical care, and just generally feel like part of the family (because that’s what they are!). I wish everybody did their homework and considered all these aspects before even considering adopting a dog.

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