So, you want a dog?
You want that pupper so bad that just thinking about its perfect little boop snoot makes you happier than any toy you’ve ever wanted, be it batman lego or a boat.
You walk past people with their dogs on the street and think “that doggo would be so much happier at home with me”. In the split second it takes to walk past, you imagine your perfect life together, cuddled up on the couch sharing snacks, playing fetch at the park, road trips, head out the window, feeling the breeze in your face. Your lives are bliss.
But that’s not your dog. That pupper belongs to that other person. That person who doesn’t even love it enough to deserve to pet it’s gorgeous little face. Nobody can give the boop + good boy combo better than you. It’s almost cruel.
You have space in your heart and in your home, but SOMEONE says no. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 35. There’s always someone in our lives with the power to crush our hopes and dreams…
Not for long.
Follow these 5 steps to convince anyone you’re ready for a puppy, without destroying your relationship.
Get that Puppy!
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.~ Roger Caras
Are you ACTUALLY Ready?
Are you ready? No. Seriously. Go and stand in front of the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes and ask the serious question. Am I (insert your name) ready to bring a dog into my life?
Well? Are you?
Let’s find out if you’re ready for the puppy of your dreams.
Dogs are a big responsibility. It’s like having a child, but that child stays little forever. It never learns to poop in the toilet. It won’t ever clean up after its self. Just like little humans, dogs can be incredibly destructive. But they never grow up and go to school. They are with you. Forever. And you? You are their everything, you are their entire life.
Unlike little humans, you can leave a dog outside with a bone when you go out without anyone reporting you to child protective services. Win. But there are downsides.
There’s the barking at 4am that wakes the neighbors, and your entire household. Usually the barking is at nothing. But you’re awake now, it’s 4am and your neighbors hate you. Yay!!
There’s the toilet training, the obedience training, the socializing, the chewing – shoes, underwear, bras, the walls, the garbage, everything. Except the lovely and expensive toys you’ve bought especially for the puppy to chew on. Apparently those aren’t nice to chew. Although the dog bed, which cost more than your car, that’s delicious. And it’s now in pieces all over the living room… Is that poop in the corner? Why does the house smell weird?
This is your life now.
There are the vet bills, the food, the other food, the treats, the worming, the vaccinations, the grooming, the kennel fees, the more vet bills when pupper comes home with kennel cough and the runs. The time it takes to find a better kennel. The not being able to go on holiday because you can’t find a dog sitter and the kennels are full. Even the dodgy ones. Ps. Even the dodgy kennels can cost $150 per dog, per night.
Dogs and puppies are messy, and expensive, and sometimes suuuuuuuper annoying.
In terms of environmental impact, dogs have a similar carbon footprint to an SUV. But unlike an SUV, dogs are worth it. They make our lives better. Research shows that, emotionally, losing a dog can hit us harder than losing a friend, or family member. That’s Because dogs bring the unconditional love, that consistent and reliable joy which we search for in our relationships with other humans. We love them. And they’re amazing. But are you ready for something you love that much to die? Are you actually ready to bring a dog into your life?
So you have space in your heart and in your home, but what about in your schedule? How much time can you spend with your pupper each and every day? Are you at school? At work? How often do you get home late? Or maybe not home at all? How much time do you have to go walkies? Will you go? Even when it’s raining?
Dogs aren’t toys. They are a life, that you are choosing to join yours. They don’t get a choice in how you look after them. That’s on you. Do the math. Do the math on the money, on the time, on the emotional investment and on the senseless destruction of your most prized possessions. And don’t think for a second that your dog will be different. Your dog will be messy and destructive and maybe even a pervert that likes to watch while you’re trying to have a romantic moment with someone special.
Yea. Dogs do that too. Perverts.
So do the math. Think really hard about the kind of life you can offer this animal. Put yourself in the dogs position. If you were the dog, would you be happy and content living with your schedule? Spending all that time at home alone?
If you can categorically and confidently say, yes a dog will be blissfully happy in my life, I have love, space, money and time to give it the best life possible. You’re ready for the next stage.
I owe my dogs much – more than I can say – but they are not my ‘companions’ – as if we voluntarily chose to hang out together but none of us has authority over the others. I bought and/or acquired them.
I own them. I am profoundly responsible for their care and well being. ~ Jon Katz
What if I’m not ready?
If you’re not ready, and please understand that it’s sooooo much better to realize that now. There are things you can do to get more dog time in your life, without the full time, 18-20 year commitment. Go to your nearest shelter and take a different dog for a walk each day. Play with the pupper, show it the affection and attention you would show your dog if you were ready. Shelters are horrific places for dogs. Stressed, scared dogs are much less likely to be adopted than calm happy ones. Your time spent with a scared puppy will calm it down, and help it to feel more at home in the shelter, allowing it to be a calm happy puppy ready for adoption. This time can mean the difference between a puppy finding a forever home or ending up in puppy heaven.
Take personal responsibility. A lot of people go, ‘Well, I’ll get a dog because I have a kid and a kid needs a dog.’
And it doesn’t work out for that dog and the dog is on the street. ~ Betty White
Okay. You have space in your heart, your home and your schedule to welcome a pupper into your life. You’re able to look yourself in the eye and 100%, without any hint of reservation, commit to love and cherish and care for this pure, loving creature’s every need for the next 18 to 20 years.
You can do this.
You’re ready to make the sacrifices and you will be the best puppy parent anyone could possibly be for as long as your dog lives.
But someone in your life is crushing your dreams of playing with your puppy in the park, of hiking and throwing sticks, of couch cuddles and sharing snacks. Someone doesn’t think you’re ready. Maybe they don’t think you’re responsible enough? Or they don’t think that you have the time to look after a dog properly?
Maybe they think that you’re not contributing fairly to the chores that need to be done around the house now, so they’re unwilling to trust you with more responsibility?
Now, if it’s the latter, you’re not ready. Plain and simple, you’re not ready. It doesn’t matter if you’re able to look yourself in the eyes and commit. If you can walk past something in the house that needs to be done, like take the bins out, clean the bathroom or make your bed WITHOUT being asked to do it by someone else first, you are not ready for the responsibility of bringing a dog into your life. Because once the novelty of a dog wears off, all of its needs are just another chore.
There are days when you won’t feel like walking, when you have a cold, when it’s raining, when you get home late and there’s a party on. If you can leave a chore for someone else to do now, you will forget about your dog’s needs. If this is the case, take 6 months, make your current responsibilities a priority and get on top of them, consistently. Then and only then, should you consider following the plan to overcome objections.
How to talk to the crusher of dreams
Have a conversation with your dream crusher. Preferably when they are in a good mood, start talking about something else and tell them a story about the cutest dog you saw recently and how amazing it was. Casually ask what they think about getting a dog. Now, if they get heated or emotional, you can say something like: “I’m not trying to push it on you, I really want to know how you feel about it and why you think it’s not a good idea.”
This might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life… when they start speaking SHUT YOUR MOUTH.
No, I mean it, shut your damn mouth and LISTEN to what they have to say.
Even if you’re offended by the stuff that comes up. Even if you think it’s outrageous and unfair and totally absurd. Keep eye contact, nod appropriately, and show that you are engaged with their objections. Agree with them if they make good points, or raise points that you hadn’t considered. Otherwise no talking. All listening. Take notes if you have to, but don’t interrupt. At the end of the list of objections, thank them for being so honest with you, summarize their points back to them and ask if you have heard all of their objections. They may clarify some points for you here, which can be really helpful in getting to the underlying reasons. Ask leading questions, again listen to their responses and keep clarifying until you understand exactly why they are opposed.
Now, understand that this exercise is not intended to rebut their objections, but for you to listen and understand their point of view. You are seeking to overcome their objections from a point of mutual understanding because you share a house, you share a life and because a dog will be living with both (or all) of you, they are just as likely to lose their most prized possessions to wanton destructiveness as you are. Everyone needs to agree.
Now, depending on the type and strength of the objections there are a couple of options but here is what you need to say. Verbatim. “You probably wont agree with me, but if I can come up with a plan that will demonstrate solutions to the problems you’ve raised, would you be willing to have another conversation?”
90% of the time, they will agree to another conversation. If you begin the phrase with “you probably won’t agree” and follow up with a reasonable request, people feel obligated to hear you out.
To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. ~Tony Robbins
You’re ready? You’re SURE? Prove it!
Plan. Discuss. Execute
Now you have your objections, your aim is to develop achievable and workable solutions to demonstrate that they can be overcome and that a dog will be a welcome addition to your family.
Document your plan and have the conversation with your dream crusher. You might come up against more objections. Don’t be disheartened. You know what to do. Listen. Understand and update your plan to incorporate solutions.
Execute the plan. Undertake the activities you have identified to provide solutions and document your progress.
Key things to incorporate:
Finances – How much will a dog cost and how will you pay for it?
Skills – How will you learn about the dogs needs?
Training – Where will you attend puppy classes and obedience training?
Logistics – How will you take the puppy where it needs to go?
Sitters – Who will look after the puppy while you are on holidays?
Back ups – Who will look after the dog if you are sick or away?
You might have to execute your plan a number of times before you are trusted and the dream crusher is convinced. With determination, perseverance and a willingness to overcome the objections, you will make it.
If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started. ~ Drew Houston
What to do about the poops when you get that puppy?
The poop is usually a major factor in any dream crusher’s list of objections. Dog poop in bins contributes 4% of the waste to landfill every day. That’s a lot of poop, and a lot of plastic. Here are some awesome, environmentally friendly ways to deal with the poops depending on your home.
Apartment and courtyard living
Porch potty’s or pet loos are great options for dogs in apartments. These are usually a square patch of synthetic turf with a catchment bucket for wee or a hose that plugs into a floor drain. A worm farm or flushable poop bags are both options for dealing with poops in an environmentally sustainable way in a home without a yard.
Yards with natural grass
Your dogs poo can make your garden healthy with dung beetles. Dung beetles are natures poo solution. They have evolved around the world to make sure that the poo animals leave behind is incorporated into the soil as fertiliser so that plants can thrive.
For dung beetles, your dog’s poop is their honeymoon suite. And the soil beneath it? Their babies nursery. Dung beetles roll a little ball of poop and lay their egg inside it. They dig a little tunnel and bury the poop at the bottom with their babies.
The tunnels reduce compaction, and aerate soil allowing the transfer of oxygen and C02, as well as deep, water, and plant root penetration.
together, these elements create a drought tolerant garden and healthy soil ecosystem in your garden.
Soil is a living ecosystem, and is a farmer’s most precious asset. A farmer’s productive capacity is directly related to the health of his or her soil. ~ Howard Warren Buffett
last but not least, Get that Puppy and…
The most important step of all.
Keep your promises. To your dog, to yourself, to your partner or parents.
Be a human your dog can be proud of.
Successful people have a social responsibility to make the world a better place
and not just take from it. ~ Carrie Underwood