Things you should know before committing to a Dog

As you all most likely know I have a dog and she is my entire world and I wouldn't change it, but I didn't get her on my own terms as you may have read in my Dealing with an Abusive Partner Post.

I was actually fully against getting a dog until I was retired or something like that, but was forced into getting her and through the hard times have created a very special bond with her. Getting Harley has definitely converted me into a dog person.

I am going to go through my experience with Harley and pick out points that I think people should know before getting a dog, although Harley has turned out to be a lovely kind caring gentle dog, with a mental side, not all dogs will turn out like that no matter how you bring them up. I guess that is one of the biggest things to consider.

Even though at the beginning I was not single, I was in no way supported with training or bringing Harley up and was what I like to call a single parent. If you're an animal lover like me then you will surely agree that you become your pets parent.

So onto what you should consider before you commit yourself to a dog becuase they really are not just for Christmas guys! Dogs are just like children and in some ways are much worse. They will never become independent, therefore are solely dependant on you, unlike children as they grow and get older this will never change.




This is something I didn't do and wish I had for Harley's sake, but research what breed you are looking for and their traits etc. and suit them to what accommodation and lifestyle you have.

As puppies they can be extremely demanding and should not be left alone for long periods of time before they are well house trained and have reached a suitable age, e.g. 3 months. They will get stressed and upset which can traumatise them and develop separation anxiety. You should by no means take 3 months as gospel, you should be able to gage your own dog.

I gradually left Harley longer and longer each time, and took off a few weeks when I first got her to settle her in. It was very hard to begin with, especially when she cried all night. For the first few nights I had to sleep with her in the lounge (as dick wouldn't let me sleep in bed with her).
She did eventually manage to go all night, but I still had to get up fairly early to see her as she would get upset if I didn't get up, think about the same sort of times as a baby, 8-10 hours max.

Toilet and House training, this can be one of the most stressful and demanding tasks of owning a dog. This is something that can take just a few days or could take you much longer, months even. You should know that under no circumstances are you to reprimand or shout at your dog during this stage, doing this may make them scared to go to the toilet in front of you and that is something you want to avoid at all costs. If they can't go in front of you they will do it when you're not around and will try to hide the evidence either by literally hiding it or eating it.

Now in my case this task was made even more complicated by the fact that we lived in a first floor one bed maisonette flat, and the front garden was a communal one. So I had to first train Harley to go to the toilet on puppy pads in the kitchen. She quickly caught on to this, so far so great however, when it came to training her to go outside and telling me that she needed to go became increasingly difficult. I would have to stop her mid wee to get her outside and then stand in the garden walking around saying "wee wee, poo poo", to try and get her to go and when she did I jumped up and down saying "Owh what a good girl" to get her excited and understand she had done right. 

The name for toilet is something that you will have to decide on but always use the same ones. Eventually you will be able to get them to go on cue. 

Even though Harley had got the idea of going outside when we left her during the day for work or even sometimes in the night she would go to the toilet in the kitchen. That was fine, but she should have grown out of that and even by 1 she still sometimes did it, it wasn't until I moved out and left the ex that she started to grasp it and went all night without a wee. I guess you have to look at it like us humans, that when we are young we can't always hold it but as we get older we can. 

It also probably didn't help with the situation I was in where Harley was in a bad atmosphere which probably contributed to her poor progress. 

It is also best practice to take them out to go to the toilet right before you leave and right before bedtime, routine is the key! 

Right, now onto the next major issue people rarely think about before this massive decision. Do you want to go out for a social event or go on holiday? Well unless you are able to bring your dog with you, you have to think about what it is you're going to do about them being left behind. 

Although I live with someone and she takes care of Harley whilst I am at work, I do have to think about whether I can go out after work or whether I need to sort something out for Harley. I will often go home to sort her out and then head back out as that's the easiest way to deal with it for me. But if I want to go out for a long day out or a weekend away I cannot rely on my housemate because she has her own responsibilities and commitments, so if she isn't able to look after her I have to call round and will often use my mum or friends to take care of her. 

I am dreading going away for a few weeks even though I know she will be well looked after it will be the longest I have been away from her, she gets very frustrated if I am even half an hour late and rearranges furniture. Bearing in mind she had been left alone for a total of an hour for the whole day on this particular occasion! I guess what I am trying to say is you can't just spontaneously pop out after work or go away as they need to be looked after and considered.

Dog Laws, many new dog owners and even long standing dog owners are unaware of these. For example as of April 2016 it will become law that you have to microchip your dog, Dog Trust does it for free so there is no reason for people to not do it. It is also law that if your dog is off lead anywhere that it should have a collar and a tag, which should have your name, address and contact number on. Do not ever put your dogs name, this gives thieves a good way of connecting with your dog. There are associated fines up to £500 for not complying with these, if you want to learn more about dog laws click here.

Beaches, there are some that allow dogs all year round but most have restrictions during the summer months so check!

There is also such a thing as dog etiquette, people need to be aware of this more. I pretty much always have Harley off lead but I will always check to see if people coming towards us or dogs coming towards us are okay with her being off lead. If you see a dog on lead, just get hold of your dog while they pass, it's really that simple. Your dog maybe friendly but you never know the background of another dog.


You will be surprised at the amount of people that have dogs off lead that are not okay with other dogs or people, that's just crazy in my opinion.

But on the brighter side of it all you will never get a more loyal and loving member of your family. They are always happy to see you and are excellent listeners. Just remember you are their entire world!!!!
















No comments