How to Get a Dog While You're a Teen

Have you always wanted your own companion dog? But your parents keep saying "no"? Well, you may be able to live your dream if you follow these instructions!

Steps

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    Show your parents that you are responsible. Get good grades, help out with housework, keep your appearance tidy, and show them that you're having a good time with your friends. Do not mope around and neglect yourself, because then how on earth will you take care of a dog?
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    Do your research. Find out everything you need to get a dog. What breed do you want? This is really important because every breed of dog is different. Things to think about are;
    • What kind of energy level can you handle? - A high energy dog will need a long walk every day and lots of playtime! But a low energy dog will be content to just hang out with you most of the day.
    • What kind of temperament do you want in your furkid? A Husky will be friends with everyone, but a Chihuahua will likely be very possessive! Every dog has a different personality, but knowing a breeds temperament will help you pick the right one for you.
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    Figure out the practical stuff - Where will it sleep? What will you need to take care of it?
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    Save up your money, because dogs can be very expensive to take care of. It's a good idea to work out a monthly budget for your pet for food, toys and treats and make sure it's an amount that you can afford... and don't forget you will need an "emergency fund" for vets bills!
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    Talk to your parents, and show them how much you know and that you're ready to get your puppy. If they still aren't convinced, tell them that you really want this opportunity to have a pet.
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    Don't just listen to the 'no' part - listen the reasons why. If there isn't enough room for a dog, look for a low-energy breed. If the problem is money, don't just promise to chip in - show them! Draw up a rough budget, your source for the money, how much you'll be able to help and what will be left. Show them how dedicated you are to this dog.
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    When you get your puppy, make sure you make some time for it every day. Do NOT do the terrible crime of getting a pet and then getting bored with it and your parents ending up being the ones to care for it!
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    Your puppy will love you more than anything else, and all this work will certainly be worth it! It is a proven fact that the only thing that loves you more than yourself is your dog!
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    Knowing that a dog is always there when a hard time comes, it will help trust me.

Tips

  • Have a lot of motivation. Be sure you can commit the time and energy you will need to put into your dog. In many ways it's like having a child, your dog will depend on you for all of it's needs, every day, for the rest of its life!
  • Make sure your pup is neutered (if a boy) or spayed (if a girl). This will prevent "accidents" that will result in unwanted puppies. Did you know that every year 11 million dogs get killed in shelters after they have been abandoned by their owners? Unwanted litters of puppies make up almost a third of this terribly high number. Also, if you live in California, it is a new state law (as of 2007).
  • Want to follow the step above about finding out the details of the breed of dog, but don't know where to start? One good way to get started is to go to www.petfinder.com and do a dog search, and then look up each breed of dog you like the look of on google. Usually you will get a Wikipedia (Wiki will rule the world one day...) about the dog and if you scroll down the entry you can read about their likely behavior under the Temperament heading.
  • Consider adopting instead of buying a dog. Links are below for good online resources for finding your furkid. Not only will you be giving a dog a home who really needs it, but you will be helping to end bad breeders (not all breeders are bad, but there are many who are sadly) and puppy mills (google this term if you don't know it or don't think it's important to stop).
  • You will benefit in other ways by doing these steps. By getting good grades, you won't get in trouble. By helping around the house, you may get a higher allowance. By hanging out with your friends, you won't be lonely! If you save your money and don't get the puppy, spend it on something else, like a laptop or iPod.
  • Be a responsible owner! Enroll your pup in training classes - you can find these at the local Humane Society or often in large pet stores like PetSmart - their inexpensive and will allow you not only to bond with your dog, but also train it to behave the way you need it too.
  • Consider adopting an older dog instead of a puppy, not only will it bond with you just as well as a puppy. But you will be getting a dog who's personality is already known, who likely is already trained and housebroken, and who really needs a home. Older dogs often spend years in shelters waiting for a home that never comes.
  • Socialization, socialisation, socialisation! It is vitally important that your dog gets comfortable and used to being with people and other animals. If you don't have other pets yourself, take your dog to the dog park (most areas have one.) or to the pet store. You can also do "puppy playdates" at your local Humane Society. The more comfortable your pup is with new situations, animals and people, the happier and better adjusted he will be. and the less you will have to worry about his behavior.

Warnings

  • Please make sure you and your family are equipped to deal with a dog! Nothing is worse than buying a dog and then dumping it in a shelter because you didn't realize it would be so much work!! That is cruel to the dog and furthermore shows your parents that you are not to be trusted to care for animals!!
  • You will always need sufficient funds to take care of your dog. Budget for medical needs, emergencies, food, treats, toys, and maybe consider pet insurance.
  • There are possibilities that one parent will want a dog and the other says no. If the one that said no had a dog when they where younger try to remind them of the good times with their childhood friend.
  • Don't forget your cute little puppy will grow up to be an adult dog. Be sure that you understand the size and temperament of the adult dog and that you will be capable of looking after it. Some breeds of dog are very large; different breeds have varying needs.
  • Think very hard before you start asking your parents for a dog. Dogs can live 15 to 20 years, or longer! If you get your dog when you're 13, he or she will still need care when you're 23. If you plan to go to college or travel when you graduate, make sure your parents want to care for the dog when you grow up. If not, it would be irresponsible for you to get a puppy.
  • Don't isolate yourself from your puppy. Your pup will need constant care, much like a child. If you don't socialize and train your pup, it will grow up to be a fearful or aggressive badly behaved dog.
  • This whole plan will take at least two months, or even a year.
  • Check with your homeowners insurance company. You may need to pay more to be insured in case your dog attacks someone. Sometimes this is breed dependent so you'll want to know before you decide on a dog.

Sources and Citations

  • www.petfinder.com - USA nationwide search for pets of all kinds in shelters. Here you can learn about their personalities and find out the shelters contact information.
  • www.1-800-save-a-pet.com - similar to petfinder
  • Do a google search for your city and "humane society" for other options of dogs in dire need of homes. Humane Societys are "kill shelters" where the animals are put down after a short while if no one adopts them.

Article Info

Categories: Choosing a Dog