Archive for October, 2011
We have all heard of a crazy cat lady who owns about 25 felines and barely takes a step outdoors. Of course, with 25 cats to take care of, she would barely have time to check her mail much less go out anywhere; that is a huge responsibility. Consider someone caring for 25 dogs: that’s not a home anymore; it’s a kennel. Even 25 small dogs would be rough to walk, feed, pet and clean up after. Certainly most people would agree that two dozens cats is just way too many, but what about dogs? How many dogs are too many?
The answer is a very personal one since a single dog may be too much responsibility for an individual and yet five or six is just perfect for someone else. Then there are those who collect pets but as is often seen, they cannot care for the pets they collect and many are neglected. That should be a good indication of whether someone is trying to care for too many animals: do any of them experience neglect? Not just the “I wish mom would pet me for a few minutes” type of neglect, but life-threatening neglect that can include being underfed and malnourished or a pet in dire need of medical attention but his ‘caregiver’ cannot afford it.
High Maintenance Pets
Animals cost money to sustain much like a house or a car and just like owning a vehicle or a domicile, you need to be able to afford the cost. Mom and dad were not just throwing out old platitudes when you were younger; dogs really are a big responsibility. More so than their feline counterparts as they demand more attention like walks, play time, or perhaps damage control as they tear up your garden. Dogs are considered high maintenance, requiring training, a strong leader or alpha and are just all-around time consuming. This is what attracts some people to dogs, the human need to care for things and in return gain love and respect, loyalty and a sense of accomplishment or belonging. And dogs definitely need to feel like they belong, which often makes some owners look at them more as being underfoot than a part of the pack.
Check The List
How many dogs are enough for you depends on finances, available room and your own personal temperament. Many dog owners agree that one dog is hard, two dogs are easy and three dogs are back to hard. The reason for two dogs being better than one is that they keep each other company and work each other out. While both will still demand your time (it does not have to be in equal shares as long as they both get separate time, though equal is fairer) they won’t demand every moment of it as they keep themselves distracted. A cat and a dog may offer the same partnership to a degree and yes, dogs and cats can live together beautifully if the dog is well socialized. Most adopted and retired racing hounds, for example, are not suitable to pair with a cat as they have been trained to chase small creatures down and wound or kill them. Because they are so fast, this never seems to prove much of a problem. It takes a good deal of removing this special training but it is better not to tempt fate. Ex-racing grey hounds make awesome pets but keep them from smaller animals.
What Is Your Dog Limit?
What follows is a basic list of questions to ask yourself before you decide to get another dog, or even your first. They require so much exercise that many shy away from a large dog and move towards a small one, but to be fair any size of dog needs a lot of exercise. Laziness comes with age and has not yet been bred into a dog species. You must be able to:
• Make sure each dog receives the required weight share of a high-quality dog food or equivalent (homemade raw/BARF diet/lightly cooked home food)
• Allow each dog five to ten minutes a day alone with their favorite human to work on tricks and training. More than ten minutes tasks a dog’s attention span
• Keep your dog outside of a crate at least 2/3rds of the day minimum
• See that each dog receives at very least 30 minutes of hard exercise or play a day. This can include a group lead walk, jogging or running next to their human, roller-blading, skateboarding, what have you. Playing in the yard with other dogs does not count. It needs to be focused exercise (and the 30 minutes need not be all at once, but broken up through the day if necessary)
• Make sure dogs each eat individually without losing portion size to their pack mates or suffer bullying for their food
• No dog is excluded from the pack; every dog is included in the pack by the other dogs and humans
• Aside from tricks and training or exercise, each dog needs some alone time with her human for love and attention, perhaps grooming
• Give each dog equal medical treatment and attention as needed with preventive check up and maintenance on a regular basis
As long as you can give each dog the attention, time and care she needs, you can continue to add dogs as you desire. Everyone has different thresholds of patience or the ability to split the attention, so listen to your limits; chances are you know them already. Do not get greedy or collect dogs for the sake of collecting. They are each individual sentient creatures that have needs to be met. Make sure you can give them everything they require and you will be rewarded with an outstandingly loyal companion that wants to be with you every step of the way.