Get a Dog or Not?

Updated on January 04, 2012
C.C. asks from Conroe, TX
25 answers

Just asking your opinion! If you already have a dog...if you had it to do all over again...would you still get one? My daughter told me this moring that her husband and 9yo son want to get a dog. But she has reservations about it. They both are gone from home 9 hours a day, and my grandson in school and daycare. They have a huge fenced in backyard with a privacy fence. Their house is 4 years old and kept very clean. My daughter has never been an animal person and really neither has my grandson. My SIL is in the Navy and sometimes is gone 7 months at a time. I tired to remind her of all the hair in the house...barking....jumping up on you....potty accidents...chewing on furniture and anything lying around...exercise it requires....baths or it will stink. Now I am a big time dog lover...none of this ever bothered me....but I am alone and don't work and I have all the time in the world for a dog. She said her son is gonna take care of everything the dog needs...feeding etc....but he is only 9yo...I have a feeling the newness will wear off on him real quick. I think you shouldn't just get a dog for the novelty of it...but it HAS to become a member of the family. And to me...crateing a dog for 9 hours a day is just not fair to the dog.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I can't imagine life without my dog. He is most definitely a part of the family - my daughter even refers to him as her little brother.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I wouldn't get a dog if both adults work full-time. My ex has a German Shepherd and he is retired and is home most days. Dogs need to be around people. All of my friends who have dogs have one person at home frequently - either SAHM or work-from-home adult.

A cat, on the other hand, does fine left alone during work hours. As long as they get attention for part of the day, cats are fine.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

No matter whether the dog belongs to the children, the husband, or whoever, a pet always ends up being mama's job. Helping care for a pet is a good way for a child to learn responsibility, but taking the sole responsibility is something else again.

A dog isn't a novelty. A dog is a living creature with intelligence that needs training, daily needs that must be met, and emotions. If your daughter isn't willing to view a dog that way, she should not be a dog owner.

Some people do take good care of their dogs even when they're away every day. They are not too tired or too busy to socialize the dog and give lots of attention, care, playtime, walks, in the time they have. They are willing to teach the dog - which takes a lot of time. They are willing to put up with what happens when a dog is left unattended. They are willing and eager to do all this for twelve to fifteen years.

Sometimes they have two dogs to keep one another company.

But I don't think any dog should be crated nine hours a day, every day. I think dog professionals would agree with that; it's not just my gut feeling.

Perhaps your daughter and grandson need to invite some dogs over for weekends - in order to learn firsthand about dogs, play with them, take care of them, and then give them back to their families. It's possible to learn a lot that way.

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answers from Amarillo on

Not a good idea at this time in life. Dog will get rehomed because they are not there. Dogs are pack animals and the family is their pack and if they are not there things happen.

When things change in 3 or 4 years maybe.

It is cruel to be left alone in a crate for 8 or 9 hours and it is also cruel to just leave them home all day long.

I vote no to the dog.

I have had several and miss them but they are part of the family and it is hard when you lose them.

The other S.

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answers from Orlando on

I have 2 dogs - I work full time, my boyfriend goes to work around 10am so the dogs are alone in the house anywhere from 6-8 hours. I did crate both of them when they were younger. My one dog I had to crate during Christmas time because of all the Holiday decorations (he will eat them). I mean, dogs are HARD WORK. I won't lie. But, alot of people have dogs who are gone all day at work. My dogs seem happy. They are well taken care of and when I'm home I spend time with them. BUT ... I love dogs. Love love love. If I didn't loves dogs I wouldn't have dogs. That's a huge commitment. So, if she is not SUPER happy and in love with the "idea" of getting a dog I would say they are not ready for a dog. Oh, and I have a 9 year old daughter. YAH RIGHT for the 9 year old son taking care of EVERYTHING for the dog. (LOL) that makes me laugh. My daughter plays with them, will feed them when I ask ..... But really, the commitment is with the adults.

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answers from Kansas City on

It doesn't sound like your daughter really likes dogs so that would not be good to do just for a 9 year old. The dog would be in a crate so long and who would enjoy it for how long? We've had dogs pretty much always except for short times in between and they are 'family' to me. If you don't feel that way I would say 'no'.

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answers from San Francisco on

We have always been dog people. When our last two had to be put down (2 years ago and 1 year ago) I told hubby that there would be no more dogs until and unless he agrees to help take care of them. Now, he will feed and bathe, but he refuses to pick up feces. I also don't mind feeding and bathing and would gladly do that if he would pick up the feces. During the 15 years we had the other two, I picked up the cr*p the entire time! I think he did it once and then didn't really do it (paid our grandson to do it for him!) He just said last night after watching a shelter commercial that he IS going to get another dog. All I say is, no problem as long as you clean up after it.

My 9 year old granddaughter is right on his same page - when can we get another dog. I tell her the same. She shuts right up because she already knows she doesn't want to pick up feces. I think your grandson has no idea what he's agreeing to do, but I don't know of any way to get that across to him.

I agree with you, dogs are not novelty items - they become family members and have to be cared for just like a baby. If you're not willing to do that, then you should not have a dog. And dogs should not be crated for 9 hours a day - I think that's just plain cruel.

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answers from Chattanooga on

I have 2 dogs and if I had it to do over again, I would not have any dogs. I consider daily getting rid of them but dont feel right about just taking them to the pound or something like that. They make my house dirty with hair and their feet when going in and out in bad weather. They will eat my sons toys if left on the floor. They have chewed up the following: several comforters for my bed, my actual bed (a tepur-pedic which is expensive!!!), my carpet, my walls, my couch and they chew buttons/zippers from clothing if left on the floor. If they get a hold of paper or a napkin or cardboard they shred it all over the place. They get pleny of attention and exercise so I dont know why they do this. They sometimes go months in between episodes of wrecking stuff up. I used to love them like they were babies, now I can barely tolerate them because they make it impossible for me to keep a nice home. Think long and hard about the decision to get a dog and if you do get one, do some major research into what type of dog you get. Hopefully you can find one that wont destroy your home as mine have done.

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answers from Albany on

My stepdaughter is a corporate attorney, her husband is a commodities trader, they both work a zillion hours a week. They live in midtown Manhattan and have two dogs.

The dogs go to doggy day care everyday. They are never alone, they have lots of play dates, enjoy it very much, but are happy when they are picked up and are home with their parents, too.

This is the only situation I can think of where it's fair to the dogs.

So sure, if you have the money and the energy to bring the dog to daycare, go for it.

Otherwise, no, it is BRUTAL for a dog to be alone that much.


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answers from New York on

I those circumstances, I would say they shouldn't. We have a dog and I probably would do it again but we have someone home almost all day everyday. And we have open areas where we let him run and run so he gets tons of exercise. Leaving a dog crated all date is cruel. And while a big backyard is great, dogs still need to be walked to be happy. Dogs don't just run around their backyards over and over again to get exercise. And of course it's not interesting to them bc no new smells. Remind her of the expense too -seems like always some kind of vet bill and if you want to go away, there are the boarding fees etc. I love our dog so incredibly much but I wanted the dog bc I'm a dog fanatic. If I were your daughter, I'd wait another 2 years and also get a smaller dog and one perhaps that doesn't shed.

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answers from Jacksonville on

It can still work. But her husband is going to really have to be and STAY "into" it. The dog will be fine crated while they out, until it learns to behave uncrated, which usually happens. There of course are the odd situation where the dog just destroys everything if it is left out, but from what I know, that rarely happens with a dog that is raised from puppyhood and properly trained and socialized. So if husband puts in the work up front, it will pay off down the road and the crating will become unnecessary.
I am a SAHM and crated our GSD when she was still in her puppyhood, when we had to be out of the house. Probably by the time she was 9 months old, crating was no longer needed. She still slept in it at night though (door open--she just used it like a cave/bed).

If the dog will end up just thrown out in the yard out back all the time, then I would discourage them as much as I could. Dogs are pack animals, and when they are isolated from their family (not the same as being crated--but when they are outside and the family is inside) they develop behaviors that discourage quality interaction between them. It is a cycle that spirals into the dog becoming an afterthought, and outside and ignored except for 20 minutes on Saturday. :(

If they can get past the initial months of growth/development and training, then this could be fantastic for them as a family. How fabulous for a young boy to have a constantly devoted companion that he is encouraged to "love on" while his mom is away for duty. :) Especially being that he is an only child.

The trickier part will be guiding them to choosing a breed that fits their family. So often folks get what's cute or whatever, with no regard for the personality or temperament of the breed or that particular dog. :/

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answers from Washington DC on

It would not be fair to an animal to be left alone for 8 to 10 hours a day. A dog is a responsibility and commitment. The dog needs food, water, walked, etc. you cannot leave it outside all day long in Texas (I'm assuming they live near you). Especially in the HOT Summers!!!

I too am a HUGE dog lover!! I love my Grady!! He's a wonderful dog - like a child - they require love, care, rules, etc. if she's not got the time to do it - I would not do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

From what you explain and the way you put it, NO your daughter should not get a dog. Get something else, a cat, or a small animal. She should let your grand son volenteer at a shelter for a year and see how he does with the dogs there before you bring a dog into your home. Unfortunately most people see dogs as property and disposable. OH the dog sheds too much, poops too much, barks too much, eats too much lets take it to a shelter. Nah, its a lot of work, like a baby all over again or more. If she is a clean freak she will not like having a dog around at all. If the husband doesnt help or is not around she will get fed up too quickly. If they absolutely need a dog, get a already OLDER dog. Fully trained or at least partially.
Now with that said, I have had dogs all my life, being born and raised in a farm environment. I love dogs, I love all animals and I am soft hearted. I worked for a Humane Society for 7 years, and I can tell you the million reasons why people give up animals. After my divorce, and subsequent re-marriage. I started traveling the world, but I waited till all my dogs passed on. Then I was dog-free for 4 years while I traveled and lived in apartments. Finally last Feb we decided to settle down and buy a house. I was NOT going to get a dog. We had 3 kids under 5. A brand new house, new furniture, new everything. I also got used to living with out hair everywhere. HAIR HAIR HAIR... animals leave hair, smell, and mess. It was nice to not have that. March rolls around, and my crochety old neighbor, was beating a kitten in his garden with a watering hose. About killed it. So guess who takes in Pickles the cat? ME... 500 hundred bucks later in vet bills, we have a kitten in the house that is partially feral and has to be litterbox trained. YUCK.. He is now almost a year old and still a pain in our butts, but we love him, well at least I and my oldest does. THEN in August I save a puppy from certain death on a busy highway. Well its Feb and we still have this MASSIVE dog, who took 2 months to fully house train. She still accidents in the garage, and has taken out every screen we own, jumped through a glass window, ate the TV stand, ripped the cushions on the couch, tries to nap in the girls toddler bed. Shes 7 months, weighs, 70lbs, and is taller than our 4 year old. After one of those mail in DNA tests we find out she is 50% Great Dane, 10% Siberian Husky, 10% Australian Shepherd, and 40% Mastiff origin... well so much for my peace of mind. I didnt think it through very well. I just thought I should keep her. She makes more work for me than anything else. I wanted many times to give her up, but my husband and kids love her. However they do nothing with her. My husband occasionally feeds her and walks her. Not too much else. I do poop patrol, I clean messes, I schedule the handyman to come and fix everything. Thankfully she is calming down now but it was a hectic few months for sure.... oh yeah and now we saved 2 guinea pigs from a trash can... yep someone threw them away in a dumpster in their cage and all. GUESS WHAT??? they are male and female. We are expecting more at any moment. My house is a true zoo. It takes a lot of love, patients, and dedication. Try to talk her out of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Ya had me at the "gone 9 hours per day". This family does not currently have the lifestyle required to own a dog. Please try even harder to convince your daughter of this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like a very bad home for a dog, a cat or any other animal...but we haven't heard from your daughter???


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

I admit I did not read all of the other responses. However, I did laugh when you said that "she said her son is going to take care of everything the dog needs...feeding etc...but he is only 9". In my opinion, if she HONESTLY thinks that a 9yo is going to take care of EVERYTHING that that dog needs then she definitely does NOT need to get a dog.

I have 3 dogs (2 from the pound and one rescued because the owner was going to have it put to sleep so that they could move) and 2 cats. My husband and I both work full time and my 10yo daughter goes to school.

All 3 of my dogs are outside during the day while we are gone (they have full access to the garage and to the large backyard) and they are in the house anytime we are home and they all 3 seem to be pretty happy dogs.

I have never crate trained any of my animals and don't ever plan on it. There are people that swear by it and I believe to each their own. I also believe that leaving an animal in a crate for 8 - 9 hours a day is cruel...JMO.

The red flags that I see in your post are:
"Their house is 4 years old and kept very clean" and
"My daughter has never been an animal person and really neither has my grandson"

Animals are dirty plain and simple. I know people that have dogs that are NEVER allowed in the house because they shed or drool or smell or whatever...once again IMO IF you are not willing to make that animal a part of your family then DON'T get it.

Doesn't really sound, at least from your side of things, that she should get a dog. Sounds like there is a VERY good chance that they are going to get to where the dog is going to be a nuisance and they are not going to be happy with it.

HOWEVER, if they do decide to get a dog try to get them to get a dog that is a little bit older instead of getting a puppy. One of my dogs was 1 1/5 when we got him from the pound and he has been the BEST dog ever!!!

Good luck!! You may end up with another dog. :o)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is a big responsibility. I can't imagin our home with our dogs. We have 3 very spoiled dogs.

We do not crate them, we do not leave them more than 4 hrs alone without a sitter coming in to take them out.

When we go on vacation, we pay for a house/pet sitter to move into our house so vacation expenses go up about $500+ just for the dogs.

You must keep them registered and healthy which is expensive.

Like I said, our dogs are a huge part of our life and I can't imagine life without a dog, BUT, if I were faced with getting another dog and leaving that dog in a crate all day.... NO, I would not do that to my family pet. It is not fair to the dog.

Anyone who has pets should be responsible for them and know it is a committment for many years, not just til the new wears off. It is like having a new baby in the house... nightly pee pee, a lot of training and one on one with the dog. It is a job I love but I know that going into it.

A dog is not a trophy.... a dog needs companionship and love.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

After many years of being dog free, we got a puppy in November.

We homeschool, and my husband works from home. Our schnoodle is about as good a puppy as I have ever seen (I grew up with many animals). She's already mostly trained, and she's not anxious or a yelper.

All that being said, I absolutely WOULD NOT get a dog if I were in your daughter's shoes. It is a TREMENDOUS amount of work and time, even for us with a very good, tiny dog (small poops and pees). There is also a great deal of expense with a dog, and much of it you don't really anticipate.


PS: I think it's very important to spend alot of time with a puppy when he/she first comes home . . . a well-socialized, happy puppy grows into a good dog most of the time. It's a "pay me now or pay me later" sort of thing.

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answers from Eugene on

The son is an only child? I just came back from visiting my daughter and grandson. They have a dog they got when he was the same age. He's responsible for walking the dog in the afternoon. After a few months accidents have stopped and the dog is a real 80lb sweetie.
My dog weighs 45 lbs and I find that size to be maximum for me at this point in life. When I was younger and the kids were growing up we had a German Shepard who protected our overly adventuresome 3 years old from cars when she walked out of the yard without permission.
My daughters have dogs and children just as I did.
May I suggest not crating the dog. They have a yard and can build a dog house as I did.
Get a good vacuum my daughter's Panasonic Cirrus is going to be my next purchase. Short haired dogs keep the hair to a minimum.
The dog is her husband and son's desire so they will be responsible as she chose a military career.
Dogs do not sit around the house fuming with resentment over how long you are gone. If they are going to do any damage they do it as you pull out of the driveway.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

have her check the statistics for how many dogs in rescue/shelters.... came from homes where the dogs are crated daily due to work schedules. It is soooo unfair to the animal. No matter how you sugar-coat it, it's still cruelty.

I know this is a very opinionated response, but it's still a truth of our society. Puppies are like babies....they need care & companionship. To offer them anything wrong.

Currently, I have two dogs. I have an inhome daycare, & am able to provide for their needs thruout the day. They are amazingly well-behaved, & destruction of home is not an issue. We have a fully-fenced backyard, & they rotate in/out of the house. It all depends on the weather & their moods....& whether or not they see a squirrel, rabbit, bird, a shadow floating thru the yard!

I have not been without a dog for the past 35 years. I cannot imagine my life without one. We never, ever took on a pup if I was working outside of the home. By contrast, my Sis has had a continuous line of dogs. She's had nightmares with each...due to crating &/or leaving them roam during the day. She's had dogs hit by cars, she's had dogs chew up the exterior of the house, she's had dogs chew up the floor in the bathroom....& the list goes on/on. We also have many friends who've been in the same boat.....if you leave a dog unattended, then there's heck to pay - especially if it's a puppy!

I hate to be a doomsayer, but if you're not able to provide daily care & companionship for a dog/pup.....then you're better off with a bird, fish, etc. Pet ownership is a great life skill to teach kids....but only under the best circumstances.

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answers from Washington DC on

You know, we got two puppies in July. By September we had to find them a new home. It was too much for our family, our lifestyle, and my poor 6 year old's allergies.

My husband and I also work long hours and the kids are in activities at we were not home enough.

HOWEVER - I grew up with dogs where two parents worked and all 5 of us were busy all the time. Our dogs were NEVER neglected. You don't have to work at home or be at home all the time to have a dog. Plenty of working families have multiple dogs.

It sounds like she has reservations like I did...and she may want to skip on the idea.

Also - I think a 9 year old is MORE than capable of the responsibilities. My kids at 4, 6, and 8 did honestly 90% of what the puppies needed.

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answers from Augusta on

We adopted 2 , yes TWO puppies last year around this time of year. We still have both and I'd do it all over again if I could repeat it.
My kids are 7 and just turned 10. They help take care of them , play with them , walk them , feed them , help train them. Everything you mentioned with the exception of the hair and giving them a bath can be trained out of the dog.
The dog will need to be crated but many dogs survive this just fine. Many dogs are crated over night and that can be up to 12 hrs. The crate becomes the dog's safe place , like their cave or room. And if you live close to them if you are uncomfortable with the dog being crated for that long you could go over and play with your granddoggie.



answers from Denver on

It's so hard to answer this because everyone is different. We just got a dog a few months ago, and I'm glad we did....but, it is different than I thought. We rescued an older dog, so we don't have to deal with puppy issues which is a HUGE plus. But there still are inevitable accidents. So if you figure that won't be an issue, don't get the dog. Also, despite my husband and 11 yo saying they would deal with things, I knew that it would be me. So again, if your daughter realizes it will likely be her responsibility, that makes it easier. I am a SAHM, so I don't have the crate issue.

I do have a friend who works FT and they are all gone the 9 hours a day. She keeps her dogs outside, and has two of them to keep each other company. I don't know if it's really nice to crate one dog all day, but I don't have enough experience with dogs to make that call.

So overall, I am glad we got the dog. A lot more work than I anticipated, but we are all just crazy about her. Especially the 11 yo, she is completely head over heels in love. :-) Good luck to your daughter!



answers from Kansas City on

I don't think a dog will be a good fit for them. Maybe they could foster one to try it out. I love our Boston terrier. He was my first baby. But dogs need a lot of care and there is no way that 9 year is going to manage that. So many people get dogs without really considering all the time, cost, and care of a pet. Just last week we had an unexpected vet bill of $200 extra. I took our dog in for two vaccinations and some heartworm prevention. He had something wrong with his eye and a yeast infection around his tail. Total bill $300!! Thank God we have a dog envelope in our Dave Ramsay budgeting plan. Just a few ideas to think about. Maybe they could pet sit someone else's dog at their house. But even that may be artificial bc that pet will more than likely have some training and be potty trained.



answers from Des Moines on

If they do they should make sure they have the budget for a dog walker to come by the house a couple times a week to let the dog out to play, walk, etc. And work on training so that he doesn't ahve t be crated all day (gate off the kitchen maybe? If they could accommodate these things, it could be worth it.

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