I think it would be honest to say that dogs are an investment. An investment of the heart, the check book, and precious time.
The minimal investment for a responsible pet owner would look something like this.
- searching for the right puppy/dog
- researching the breed or mix
- purchase price
- puppy/dog gear: crate, mat,toys, food,leash, harness, collar, tags, bowls, chew sticks, bones, poop bags, brush, shampoo
- food, bones, rewards
- veterinary care
- training classes
- outings for socialization
- puppy play dates
- time for bonding, building a relationship
- time to get to know each other
The investment for someone going into a specialty like search and rescue, dog sports, service work, therapy, or beyond, would be responsible pet owner X 10!
As owner/handlers, we are for the most part, putting our time, energy, money, and efforts into our dogs with the hopes that we get the pay off we are looking for. What are we looking for? I believe that depends on the person.
Some people will tell you they just want to give an animal a nice home, but that persons pay off is the feeling of giving. Nothing wrong with that.
Families investing in a nice pet for their children to grow up with. An investment without controversy is usually the goal.
To a rancher, the dog is part of their livelihood. A solid, balanced, well-trained border collie is no small chunk of change. One border collie is equal to fifteen ranch hands when out working, this is a powerful and wise investment.
Stock guardian dogs don’t seem very lively or interactive for the most part, but they only have to chase away one predator for the owner to know their investment was worth it.
Competitors in the dog sporting world are investing in a potential champion, a team-mate. Learning about structure, temperament, balance, and biddability is just the start. Research into equipment, travel for competition, hotels, and food. Chiropractic, acupuncture and hydro therapy sessions to maintain balance and avoid injuries is common. The ribbons that handlers come home with are hardly free! 😉
Ask a sportsmen how important a dog is during hunting season? The investment in training, gear, travel, and time are enormous. If someone is willing to sit in a duck blind for hours upon hours with their dog, the investment has surely been worth it.
Search and rescue teams work tirelessly with search problems, scenarios, scent work, article discrimination, and socialization to new and different. The investment is getting to work and hopefully being successful.
So here are some thoughts, I would love to hear yours.
If you don’t want to invest in a dog for fifteen years, than don’t invest for fifteen minutes. Choose carefully, your dog investment should be long term. Never predict what your investment should look like or act like. Take the crystal ball out of ownership, invest wisely, put in your sweat equity, and always move forward together, honestly. The patient owner who has a plan will almost always turn out with the best investment. And most importantly, don’t invest in a dog just because everyone else is, invest in a dog because it’s what you have been wanting to do.