To Dog or Not to Dog?

That has been the question in our house for, oh, probably a year and a half.

Andy and Kate (and now Sam, although I question his decision-making ability) say yes… I say no.

Except now I’m wavering.

I’ve never had a pet. I don’t get the whole thing. I don’t know why people are obsessed with their dogs and I don’t know why anyone would get a cat, ever. I’m sure there’s something to it or 84% of the population wouldn’t have one, but I just don’t get it.

But Kate really loves dogs. She is so cute when she’s around other people’s dogs, and she really wants one of her own.

So then I start looking around and see faces like this one

And I think it really wouldn’t be so bad. But then I remember all the pain in the butt parts about having a dog and I don’t want to go through with it anymore.

So tell me, people – dog or no dog?

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30 Replies to “To Dog or Not to Dog?”

  1. My kids (mostly my almost 8 year old) have been begging for a dog for well over a year. My husband and I agree we are NOT ready for a dog – we have 3 cats. But, the other day, hubs sent me an email – someone at work had 8 puppies and they needed loving homes. (Talk about mixed signals!)

    So, for NOW, our answer is still no. But we are wavering, too.

    I think your BEST bet, is to go to a local shelter/rescue home and see if any of those dogs fit your family.

  2. My fiance and I wanted one, independently, for a while. We grew up with them and we both love animals. I finally broke down and got her one for Christmas. A great decision, although buying a puppy (2 mo. at the time) made things difficult. She wasn’t trained and we had to make sure we had our work schedules set to take her out within a decent period of time. Now that she’s a few weeks older, things are definitely getting easier.

    If you do get one, look for a family who’s dog had puppies. They’re usually cheap and you can guarantee they weren’t abused or anything like that.

  3. I would recommend getting a 2-3 year old dog. They’re usually already potty trained, know a few basic commands, sleep through the night, but still young enough to have loads of fun energy, too. We adopted a 2 year old American Bulldog from a co-worker (he was moving to small apartment from a house) a few months ago and she’s AMAZING.

  4. Honestly, if it is just for your child and b/c they love dogs/cats/insert the blank do not get one. YOU will be the one potty training it, cleaning up after it when it has accidents or throws up, sweeping the hair, cleaning the dog poop in the yard or kitty box in the house, vet bills, pet food, shots, flea and heart worm treatments, dog licenses….and so on. It is A LOT of WORK and can be very rewarding but it you aren’t wanting this 100% stand firm.

    I think pets are great for kids but not just to satisfy their current amusement. I feel that taking in a pet is something people should be committing to for the life of the animal. It breaks my heart when people get pets b/c their kids really, really wanted one and then the pet doesn’t get trained properly which makes it a bigger pain in the butt (house trained as well as social manners) and then it ends up doing something like stealing a cheeto out of the kid’s hand and in the process biting the child and it is all over for that pet.

    I don’t mean to sound so harsh but I see too many of my friends go through this process and ditch the dogs they get at a shelter once they are too much work all b/c their little one wanted a puppy.
    Good Luck!

    I am a HUGE animal lover. We have 3 golden retrievers that both my hubby and I wanted. I have 2 step kids that basically shrug them off though, so they are no help. My hubs and I are a team and it wouldn’t work otherwise. If you 2 are willing to team up and then I say go for it! I recommend a shelter or rescue. Please don’t encourage backyard breeder’s-they are cheaper, but you get what you pay for and their are tons of dogs from pups to adults who need a home.

  5. I completely understand where you are at. I was there about 4 yrs ago. My oldest daughter, around 8 at the time, was DYING for a dog, and had been for awhile. I had never had dogs growing up, and to be honest, didn’t really even like them. We decided to just jump in and get one. Luckily, we have a very good family friend who’s job is dog training. She hunted for us (she has very high standards) and we ended up with a 2 yr old male Shih-Tzu. Potty trained, hardly ever barks, great with kids and low energy. We love him!! I also suggest getting one that is not a puppy-they are trained and you can really tell what their personality is as opposed to getting a puppy and finding out later on that it’s super hyper.

    So, I say go for it! I was super nervous up to the day we got him, and worried that I would hate it. If you get a good one, I promise, you won’t 🙂 You really will come to love it.

  6. Pets are fun but more work than first realized. Who is going to do the work?? Probably you. So think carefully before you decide. Everytime you want to go some where for a day or more you have to do something with the dog; either board it or farm it out. I am happy to have no pets at this stage of my life.

  7. Get a dog!! They are a pain in the butt now that I’m the one taking care of it, but kids need a dog! Studies have shown that having a dog in the house lessens allergies, boosts immunities and lessens anxiety levels with kids! And I think it builds responsibility and helps teach kids to not be so egocentric and more gentle. Also the likelihood of your home being burglarized decreases incredibly and gives you a little mire security. But I’m in the 84% who loves dogs 😉 but interestinging enough I don’t love them as much now that I have kids. Side note that pic above looks exactly like the dog I had growing up!!

    1. Cortney, Emily is a tad neurotic. She does NOT need you telling her that her kids are going to have anxiety if they don’t have a dog. Sheesh! Now I know that’s not what you SAID but that is how she’s going to TAKE it. So congrats, you just sealed the deal on this one. The Berry’s are getting a dog.

  8. Getting any dog is a big deal. It changes your family’s routine and responsibilities. But it’s also a great way for kids to learn that responsibility in a safe environment, not to mention making a great friend along the way. What will make or break your experience is the BREED. Definitely do your homework. Every breed has definitive personality traits, exercise requirements, and costs (like grooming, health issues, etc.) We’ve had a golden retriever who’s been amazing with our little ones! And whatever you do, avoid a pet store like the plague!!! A dog definitely is man’s best friend! Good luck! =)

  9. Not being pet people who wavered both on a cat and then a dog was the wrong call. James was sure he wanted a dog – but he didn’t really. At least for sure not the one we had (a rescue dog who turned out to be neurotic), and we also know now not any dog. The older brother totally hated having the dog, and the part about “learning responsibilities” turned out to be a constant battle. You also have to be willing to arrange your life around making sure the dog can go out, etc. If you aren’t happy about having to do it (a la my husband) it can become a constant complaint! This isn’t to say don’t get a dog (cause some people love having pets and get great dogs at the pound – Sarah!) but – definitely consider whether it’s only one person who wants a pet, whether or not either parent actually wants a pet, your lifestyle, etc. You can end up with a situation that isn’t fair to the pet or the people!

  10. Dogs are a lot of work but I have always felt like a home isn’t really a home without one. Kids need to learn compassion and responsibility. A dog will do both. Go for it!

  11. I vote DOG…I am in the 84% of course but I was raised having pets, and am raising my kids the same way. The previous comments are correct with avoid pet shops, back yard breeders etc. A dog that is at least 1-2 years old may work best for you. Also, while looking for rescues, or shelter dogs, try finding one that is being fostered in someones home. They will have the best success rate of potty-training and just home-training in general. I would also take the time to enroll the dog and the whole family in obedience training. If the kids are involved they will take training to a whole new level. My 14 year old son came through obedience school at the age of 5 or 6 with our (rip) former boxer and he is still a great dog trainer to this day.

  12. Hi Emily! This is your # 1 dog lover so of course a dog I feel completes a family!! I think the first thing if you decide is what purpose will it hold? Do you want a couch potato dog or active (running buddy). There are web sites to help you find the type of dog you want. If you want to rescue and decide on a particular breed there are rescues for any breed. They come in all ages and personalities which the rescue sites have evaluated to make sure you get your type. Any pup after 5 months is completely house trainable (it is said they can’t hold it all day under 5 months). I’ve had dogs all my life and the greatest dog of all was from Jack’s Aquarium!!! I am not a cat fan (it’s the litter box that does me in). Good luck!!!!

  13. I have three kids (4 yr old and 16m old twins) we have two dogs, a pit bull (3 yr old) and a boxer(2 yr old). The dogs are GREAT!!! with my kids. We have had the pit since she was a puppy. I am not a dog person ( I am a cat person) but I love our dogs. I shoulder most of the responsibility in feeding, washing, picking up poop because I stay at home. But I would not trade it for the world. My kids adore the dogs and the dogs adore my kids. I am glad I got suckered in to it. 🙂

  14. Get a dog! Honestly, once you get them trained, it’s very little work. We put ours in obediance classes from the very beginning and now he’s very very low maintenance. Do you have a fenced in yard? Because having to take for walks all the time would be a pain in the arse.

  15. Don’t get a dog if you’re not 100% ok with the cleaning, feeding, getting home in time to let it out, general dog nuisance. I’m sure Andy would be great with a dog, but remember that kids generally will not take the responsibility of feeding, etc. even if you make that deal with them before you get one. It will always be back on you if you’re the one who does most of the house cleaning and grocery shopping.

  16. Does your family have time for a dog? What will the dog be doing while the family is away at work and school? If you say no, stick to your first instinct. Pets are a lot of work and require a lot of time, attention and money. The kids may want a dog now but once they have one are they still going to want it in a few months? If it was me I would wait until the kids are older and have them earn the right to have a dog and be old enough to take responsibility for the care and training that will be required.

  17. Don’t do it. I hate to be morbid, but you get attached to this cute thing that will most likely die within the next 10 years and cost you lots of money. Not to mention the mess. You already seem pretty stressed, a dog will triple that.

    (ps I had this comment in my head before Jenny’s post! I just hadn’t gotten to making it yet!)

  18. I am a “dog person” who grew up with dogs, yada yada. I had two dogs ( big and little) that I adopted before I got married. Got married and then had the first kid and after about a year, we spent too much time arguing about the dogs and the problems they were causing. For the sake of my marriage, the big dog went to live with my parents (which was awesome and I guarantee she likes my parents better than me because they totally spoil her). Ok, down to one little dog, and he’s easy, thank goodness. Now we have two kids, and I’m really surprised how much less of a dog person I am now that I do. I think it must have been my motherly instinct dying to mother something. Now that the kids take up all my time, the poor dog gets the shaft. Like I said though, our dog is pretty good (even if he would rather the 3 and 1 year old leave him alone)… the biggest pain is figuring out what to do with him when we need to go out of town. I’m torn on what to tell you to do, because dogs were a huge blessing to my childhood. If you do it, look long and hard for the right dog for your family. If you all are out of the house most of the day, you do NOT want a dog who has a ton of energy to burn. Luckily our dog is content to sleep all day and then when you get home, he just wants to lay on our laps. And for the love, do not get a puppy just because they’re so cute. (your children will try and sell you on this, I am sure). I get that, but puppies are like having a baby all over again. SO MUCH WORK!

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