By Old Man Body
Around two years ago, I made the life altering decision to buy a dog. I’d grown up with dogs my whole life and somebody at work had a line on an oopsie litter of bird dogs with bloodlines better than the top 1% of Americans. Because it was an unplanned litter (dogs are just like us!), the price was greatly discounted to the point I had to buy one, over the objections of my long term girlfriend at the time. It was a decision so drastic that I moved apartments and altered my lifestyle greatly to raise a puppy. Was it worth it? Absolutely, but I learned a lot of things along the way that I think are beneficial to anyone looking to get a dog in their 20’s.
It’s Harder Than You Think
I’m going to warn you right off the bat: raising a puppy is infinitely harder than you think. It made me realize how not ready I am right now to have kids. It’s going to chew the fuck out of your favorite shoes. It’s going to piss EVERYWHERE in your pad. You’re going to walk around in the blistering cold for 45 minutes waiting for it to shit only to have it beg to go out and actually do the deed five minutes after you get home.
You travel for work for entire weeks? Better find somebody reliable to take care of it or find a good kennel that you trust, which is going to cost you money. My ex-girlfriend and I broke up shortly after I got the dog, and fortunately, I lived close to home so my parents could watch him when I was traveling or wanted a weekend in the city with my friends. They actually call him their “grandson” now (and hopefully will be their only one for a while).
It Costs More Than You Think
Shots? $120. Grooming? $75. Food? $40/month. Toys, new crate, dog bed, etc. It adds up fast, even more if you have a large breed. The first year is especially expensive if your breed grows a lot because you’ll have to upgrade the sizes of everything you bought for it. They tear the shit out of the toys you buy for them, and the rawhides you toss them to keep them from bothering you during dinner add up. Budget more than you think to make sure man’s best friend won’t break the bank.
Rescue Dogs vs. Picking a Breed
I admire people who will get a rescue dog. People who don’t take care of their dogs fucking suck and it warms my heart when someone else steps up and gives a nice dog a loving home. That being said, that’s not for me. I’ve grown up my entire life with springer spaniels for upland hunting. Based on dogs I’ve been around and hunted with, I knew I wanted a springer, a Brittany, or a GSP. It just happened that a litter of springer pups was ready and I got pick of the litter for the absurdly low sum of $350.
It’s totally okay to be snobby about what breed of dog you’ll get. Going in, I wanted a hunting dog with certain behavior traits as well as a distinct look, so that’s what I bought. I think getting a pitbull is a terrible investment, because of temperament and I don’t really care for how they look, but that’s your business. No different than you being a Ford guy while I’m a Chevy guy. Whatever floats your boat.
I will say this though: Don’t get fucking uppity on me because you have a rescue dog. Guess what? Advertising that is like having a 26.2 sticker on the back of your car. It’s great, but talking and impressing upon it makes you a fucking asshole.
Don’t Pay Big Money For Fake Breeds
White people: stop paying $1000 for “cockapoos” and “labradoodles.” They’re not real breeds and you’re getting scammed out of your money. The only dog I would willingly pay a grand for is one that is an American Kennel Club registered breed and has a great bloodline. And that motherfucker better be able to find every bird in the field. Fake dog breeds are just like yoga, kale and Kony: a fucking con game to separate you from your wallet because you’re white and socially inept. If you’re going to shell out big bucks for a dog and it isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club as a breed, you just basically said you think Herbalife and Amway aren’t complete pyramid schemes. If you want a mutt, go get a rescue dog and save yourself a lot of money.
Give It a Great Name
This is one area that’s tough to judge with dog owners. On one hand, you can give your dog a really fucking stupid name. On the other, you can name your dog whatever you want and it won’t be as bad as naming a human child one of the many variations of Aiden/Kayden/Brayden I’ve seen on Facebook lately. If you’re getting this thing for hunting, I will give you the best advice you’ll ever get: One syllable name, end on a hard consonant. Don’t do anything that interferes with your commands. I wanted to name my dog “Beau.” Guess what? “Beau” is similar to “bird”, which can be confusing to a younger dog. I instead went with a call name of Hank (his paper name is bougier than my editor’s hair).
If you’re not hunting with your dog, go crazy. Name it Oliver like everyone that gets a small male dog ever. Call it Fart or Sparkle for all I care. Just don’t give it a real white people name like Jessica or Chelsea or Ryan, because that’s pretty weird. I have a now estranged cousin who named his dog after our dead grandfather and now he doesn’t come to Thanksgiving. Don’t be like him.
Be a Responsible Owner
Once you get a hound, be a great owner. Make sure it gets enough exercise and stimulation over the course of a day. Take it out and let it socialize and play with other dogs. If you have a female dog and don’t want it to have puppies, especially unplanned ones, get it spayed. I’m 99.9% there’s no Doggie Planned Parenthood. Don’t be the asshole that has a dog that’s out of control because you didn’t take it to obedience classes and work with it on basic commands. You’re not going to impress many girls at the park by having a dog that’s behaving poorly. Last, pick up the dog shit. Yeah, I know, it sucks having to carry plastic bags around everywhere but that’s part of the deal. Be a great owner to your dog and you’ll be rewarded with 10-15 years of a loyal companion.