There are a million reasons to adopt a dog from a shelter.
But what about the reasons not to? If your decision to adopt is not well considered, you could find yourself completely unprepared.
Here are 5 reasons you should not use to justify adopting a dog.
1. To Teach Your Children Responsibility
Adopting a new dog is a big responsibility and one that can last for 10 or more years. At a minimum, dogs require:
- Regular feeding
- Fresh water
- Routine potty breaks
- Play time
An adopted dog should be a member of the family, not a lesson for a family member. Yet some people adopt dogs to teach their children about responsibility. The goal of the adopters is to assign the dog’s care to a child, and often the punishment for not keeping up with that responsibility is losing the dog (in other words, the dog goes back to the shelter).
Always remember that an adult is responsible for the family pet’s care. Though teaching children about the importance of responsibilities involving the dog is a great idea, if your child doesn’t keep up with that responsibility, then it’s your role as an adult to step in and make sure that your pup is well cared for and loved.
2. As Motivation to Exercise
Sometimes that discounted gym membership still isn’t enough motivation to get in a good daily workout — or even a weekly workout. We’ve all been there.
Don’t use a new dog as a solution to exercise motivation. Adopting a dog because you need a reason to get out of the house and walk more is simply a bad idea.
Adopting means more than just walking away a few pounds. It involves financial preparedness, future planning, patience and dedication.
Getting into shape because you’re having so much fun running on the beach with your new best pal is a perk when adopting a new dog, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason for taking Buster home.
3. For Protection
Dogs have been used for protection for ages. They are still regularly used as guards and even soldiers. They have protective instincts and even the fluffiest, cutest little puppies will guard their homes from intruders (including the insidious mailman). But adopting a dog primarily for personal protection is a dangerous idea.
Buster should, first and foremost, be a family member, loved and cared for. As he settles into his new home, he may bark when visitors knock at the door, or watch out the window at passersby. But he should never be chained outside as a deterrent to individuals approaching your house.
Consider a security system or pepper spray if you want protection. If you’re looking for a furry friend, adopt a dog.
4. As a Gift
Adopting a dog to give as a surprise gift is a potentially huge mistake. Consider what you’re giving:
- A 10-year commitment
- A financial responsibility
- A living creature who requires training, patience and attention
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog to give as a gift, you probably know the recipient pretty well. But do you know that person well enough to choose his or her next family member? Are you comfortable deciding what sort of best friend he or she is going to have for the next 10–15 years?
These happy adopted dogs were chosen by people ready to make a commitment to them:
The only time you should consider adopting a dog as a gift is if the dog is a gift to your entire family, you’re assuming responsibility as the adult and everyone is ready for a pet. Otherwise, you may be better off paying for the adoption fee as a gift for a friend who wants to choose a shelter pet.
5. To Keep Your Other Dog Company
No one likes leaving a dog at home, especially when Buster makes those pathetic whimpers and howls when you leave. Dogs with separation anxiety are especially difficult to leave for hours at a time. Many require crating, treats to keep them occupied and a radio or TV for distraction.
Don’t let that guilt lead you to adopt a second dog to keep Buster company, though. Adopt another dog because you feel prepared for a second pup, not because you want to entertain the dog you currently have.
Adopting a dog is a wonderful decision and one that will change your life. Just make sure you’re making that decision for the right reasons.
5 Ways Adopting a Puppy Will Benefit Your Family
Having a dog isn’t for everyone.
It’s a big commitment, and if you’re considering adopting a dog, it should be a discussion that the whole family is a part of.
When weighing the pros and cons of adopting, though, keep in mind these 5 arguments for why a puppy might actually be right for your family:
1. Teaches the Importance of Adoption
When you choose to adopt your new dog rather than buy him, you’re making a choice to save a life. That is not only a big decision but also a noble and responsible one.
Getting your entire family involved in the process is exciting and can be a wonderful lesson for children. They are taught at an early age that adoption:
- Saves lives
- Is an act of kindness
- Is a responsible decision
Hopefully your children will pass on that message and live by it for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, adopting your pup is a great way to familiarize your family with the local animal shelter and see what other pets might be waiting for their forever homes. Through word of mouth, your experience at the shelter could result in even more adoptions.
2. Encourages Family Outings and Exercise
Adopting a puppy isn’t going to magically change your family’s activity level drastically. If you and your family aren’t the type to spend a sunny weekend hiking through the woods, chances are a dog isn’t going to change that.
If, however, you are outdoorsy and think a trip to the mountains is an excellent family vacation or would rather take a walk along a stream than watch an episode of The Bachelor, adopting a dog might be just the extra bit of motivation that gets your family out as a group and exercising.
3. Aids in Teaching Responsibility
A family dog is a shared responsibility. That should be made clear when everyone agrees on the decision to adopt. Your new puppy isn’t solely the responsibility of your children.
It’s important to understand that a puppy isn’t a toy that can be given away when your children lose interest. But it’s also a great idea to assign certain puppy-related jobs to each family member. That helps teach everyone about the responsibility that comes with having a pet and also ensures that your new pup is being cared for by everyone.
On top of providing a lesson in responsibility, when you have an active role in your dog’s care, you’re going to form an even stronger bond with him. It’s a win-win for everyone!
4. Helps Kids Learn to Respect Animals
Respecting animals is something that we are taught. We learn how to pet a dog gently and leave him alone when he’s sleeping. We learn not to grab cats’ tails and not to knock on fish tanks.
Adopting a puppy can help teach your children to respect animals. Through their experiences growing up with a puppy, they’ll learn that pets are just as sensitive as humans:
- Dogs cry when they’re lonely.
- They dream and sometimes run in their sleep.
- They yelp when they’re in pain and bounce when they’re happy.
Understanding the depth of a dog’s sensitivity and emotion can help cultivate respect and patience toward animals, both fine things for growing children to learn.
Maybe one reason dogs help families stay healthy and happy is that they keep us laughing:
5. Increases Happiness and Health
If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance that you already have a pet.
So I hardly need to tell you that pets make us happy. But in case you want to hear it, pets really do make us happy. Their lives — so much less complicated than our own — revolve around us, their humans. Nothing seems to make them happier than seeing us. And, personally, just seeing the unbridled joy in my dogs when I get home is enough to make all my worries go away.
Aside from the happiness that our pets bring us, did you know that having pets can also make us healthier? A number of studies have shown that individuals who have pets live healthier lives. In fact, our pets’ very presence eases our stress levels.
In a study published by Psych Central, researcher Karen Allen states, “Pets allow people to relax and bring out the best in their owners, much as a cheering crowd helps an athlete perform well.”
If you and your family are ready, it looks like adopting a puppy is a smart move for your family’s well-being, both mentally and physically.