Reasons to own a dog

Everyone has their own reason for wanting to get a dog. Sometimes the reason is well thought out, makes good sense and is perfectly valid; desiring the companionship of a dog to help manage stress levels, for example. However, other reasons may not be so thoughtful; many people will buy a puppy simply because it looks cute, with no consideration of the long term implications. While owning a dog is a large responsibility and enormous commitment, the time, effort and hard work which goes into dog ownership is well worth the effort, providing you want a dog for all the right reasons.


10 Good Reasons to Own a Dog


1. Companionship – Dogs are pack animals, making them naturally sociable creatures. Some dogs are friendlier than others, so you’ll need to think carefully about just how sociable you’ll want your dog to be. Would you prefer a breed which will only have eyes for you, or a dog which wants to make friends with everyone they come across? Nearly all dogs enjoy company albeit it to varying degrees and will look out for their owners like any good best friend.


2. Teach responsibility – You can’t own a dog without being responsible. The amount of work which goes into caring for a dog may surprise the uninitiated, but new owners will soon learn how to handle their new responsibilities. While we don’t recommend that irresponsible owners should buy a dog, they can be wonderful for teaching children how to be manage their responsibilities and priorities.


3. Good mental health – Did you know that owning a dog is good for your mental health? Dogs can help you manage your stress levels through the soothing action of petting and also by acting as non-judgemental and non-verbal therapists. Dalhousie University in Canada even has plans to open a dog room on campus to help stressed out students unwind. Owning a dog has been known to boost self-confidence, making dog ownership an appealing option for teenagers with low self-esteem. Dogs are used the world over as therapy dogs in hospitals, children’s wards and retirement homes where they work wonders at uplifting those with learning difficulties and illnesses, going as far as helping autistic children develop social skills.


4. Good physical health – A knock on effect of being less stressed and more confident from owning a dog is that your physical health will also improve. Dog owners are less likely to have a heart attack and tend to have fewer health problems than those without pets. Heart health is particularly improved and owning a dog has been found to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


5. Improved fitness - Want a dog? Be prepared to use up a lot of energy! All that walking and play time does wonders for your fitness levels. You’ll not only be taking your dog out on at least one walk every day, you’ll also be training him and playing with him which is great exercise for both of you!


6. Joy and Comfort - Dogs are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions and will do what they can to make you feel better from cuddling up to you to try and relax you, or acting silly to make you laugh. It’s hard to feel down when you have a dog around.


7. Social Life – Need to give your social life a boost? Your dog can help with that. From meeting other dog owners on your daily walks to having a conversation starter to help you break the ice, dogs are a wonderful talking point for all animal lovers. Owning a dog is a great way to meet new people when you’re out and about together – take your pooch to obedience, training or agility classes and your social group will expand even more!


8. Comic Relief – A dog is the ideal friend to come home to after a bad day. Fun, charming and often hilarious, your dog has buckets of character and will manage to amuse you even when you’re in the worst of moods. Some dogs can have a wonderfully humorous streak and relish in making their owners chuckle, for example the pug, who is often referred to as the clown of the dog world.


9. Sense of security – For a lot of people, owning a dog creates a sense of security that they would not otherwise have. While some breeds are more likely to make friends with an intruder than scare one away, others can be excellent at raising the alarm should they come across any suspicious activity or even defend the home physically. Getting a dog for protection alone isn't a good idea but the added feeling of safety they can bring to a home can be a wonderful bonus to owning a pet.


10. Unconditional Love - The biggest and best reason to own a dog is for love. If you have love to give then your dog will love you right back, no matter what. Dogs love their owners without question, unconditionally and without judgement and it’s incredibly rewarding to love a dog, too. There’s a reason they’re called man’s best friend!


Five Bad Reasons to Get a Dog


1. Puppies are cute – It’s hard to resist the adorable face of a fluffy puppy, but don’t be sucked in by their innocent looks! Puppies are hard work and require huge amounts of time, money and dedication. They also grow up to be dogs – will you feel the same away about your little pup when he’s older and larger?


2. Protection – While the sense of security you can get from owning a dog is a wonderful thing, buying a dog solely for protection is a bad move. Your dog isn’t a burglar alarm or personal bodyguard; he loves you very much and needs love, affection and attention in return. Your dog should be made to feel a valuable part of the family.


3. You want a fashion accessory – It seems every time we open a magazine there are photographs of celebrities carrying toy dogs in their handbags, decked out in designer doggy gear and wearing painted nails or ‘peticures’. It’s important to remember that dogs aren’t fashion accessories and take a lot more work than these celebrity images may convey.


4. Your friend got one – Your friend got a new dog and it’s made you a bit envious, so you want to get one too. While your friend’s dog may be loveable and sweet when you’re around, you probably haven’t seen what’s been going on behind closed doors – the hours of training, the end to weekend lie ins, the expense and the daily walks. It’s important to realise how much effort has gone into your friend and his dog forging their relationship, and just because your friend has found a suitable dog for his lifestyle is doesn’t mean a dog would be right for you.


5. As a present or surprise – Getting a dog for a loved one is always portrayed as being romantic and sentimental but in reality it is a terrible idea. There’s no way of knowing if the person you’re buying for is ready for a dog, can handle the long term commitment of dog ownership, can afford it or even wants a dog in the first place. It is also impossible to know which breed is best suited to another person’s life. Getting a dog should be the choice of the owner alone and must be thoroughly considered beforehand. It is extremely irresponsible to give a dog as a gift.




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