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  1. #1
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    My son wants a dog

    My son, 11, desperately wants a dog. He's an only child due to tragic circumstances. He has tons of friends and cousins but Mom thinks he needs a canine buddy. Now, I've never owned a dog. I like dogs just fine, but I'm perfectly content just to be a dog uncle. I have no desire to deal with all the realities of dog ownership that are so thoroughly documented here (https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...-dog-gets-into), the inevitable vet bills, the extra PITA created by watershed restrictions where we live, and the extra headaches dog ownership creates when traveling.

    He's had a gecko for about 4 years. The gecko requires about 60 seconds of work twice a week, but would have died 3.5 years ago if I didn't take care of it. I've told him that if he does everything for the gecko for a month I'll seriously consider the dog thing (again, literally two minutes of "work" per week), but he doesn't, for the stated reason that he can't play with the gecko, which of course misses the point entirely. I think it's entirely reasonable to require him to demonstrate a modicum of responsibility before making the enormous leap to dog ownership, but I get no support from Mom on this.

    I've been told that Mom and the kid will do everything to take of the dog and I can have as little involvement as I'd like. I think there's a 0% probability that actually happens. Like me, Mom has never owned a dog in her entire life and I think she's vastly underestimating what's involved.

    It has also not escaped me that because he's 11, in no more than 5 years hanging out at home is going to be the most uncool thing in the world and "his" dog will effectively become my dog. Then he'll start college and likely be living in places where pet ownership is restricted. So, given the average lifespan of a dog I'm possibly looking at upwards of a decade where he'll have little involvement with "his" dog.

    So, that's my dilemma. I don't have a good way to conclude this post, so, fin.

  2. #2
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    My son wants a dog

    Dogs are great. Jump in with both feet.

    Edited to add: sounds like you already know they are a big responsibility and take work, so see above if willing.

  3. #3
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    Don’t get a small dog with a long expected life span...as for the rest, you have already lost this battle. Just embrace it and pick the right breed/mix for your situation.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    "We had nice 3 days in your autonomous mountain realm last weekend." - Tom from Austria (the Rax ski guy)

  4. #4
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    My son wants a dog

    dogs are awesome and a pain in the ass, just like kids
    And they clean up after themselves about as often

    You’ll love it




    Given the scenario make sure you get one YOU will be stoked on (energy level etc)

  5. #5
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    congrats on your future dog ownership! He'll be your best friend!
    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    Dogs are great. Jump in with both feet.
    At times, I'm sure they are. No so much when they eat their own shit and puke it up on the floor, or eat something else's shit and proceed to coat the walls in explosive diarrhea. There are stories in that thread I can't un-see.

  7. #7
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    You already know it will be your dog, so get one you can live with for 15 years.

    I've owned dogs for 20 years, and put my last one down 1 year ago. It's been a very peaceful year. Some days I'd like another pooch, but then I think of all the crap I couldn't do, and the feeling passes.

  8. #8
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    Get a dog that will accompany your active lifestyle. It will be one of the best things you've ever done.

  9. #9
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    Cattle dogs make great mountain bike buddies FYI. Dogs take more work but are also more reward. It's like having a toddler in your house for a decade plus in both good and bad ways. Maybe a cat would be good? Nice middle ground in terms of responsibility and interaction. I also had a gecko as a kid and those things suck. Bitey, pickey eaters that try to escape into the Vermont winter.

  10. #10
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    I have never not had a dog for more than six weeks since I was 8...such great, judgement free companions.
    Forum Cross Pollinator

  11. #11
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    I've had dogs basically my whole life, I do love them, they are generally great but they can also be a giant pain in the ass and they are a big responsibility. I think your judgement on what the future holds is spot on. If the dog is a burden it's not good for anyone including the dog. With that said, I have no idea how you get out of it since it's 2-1. Good luck mang.

  12. #12
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    How interactive is a gecko? Can you really consider that a companion?

    A dog will be both more demanding and more rewarding.

    A dog is also part of the family unit, I don't think a child can fully care for one on their own, so you and your partner need to be all-in to make it a success.

    Working dogs (cattle dogs, border collies, shepherds, etc) are more demanding and require more of everything.

    edit to add: Either go all-in with a puppy or consider fostering an older dog in need of a loving place to live out their last days. Age 6 and beyond are really the dog days of dog ownership.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    At times, I'm sure they are. No so much when they eat their own shit and puke it up on the floor, or eat something else's shit and proceed to coat the walls in explosive diarrhea. There are stories in that thread I can't un-see.
    I personally don’t think these are the biggest concerns or challenges with a dog. Those are inconveniences.

    There will be much harder things.

  14. #14
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    Give him a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows instead.

    Honestly though, it is an awesome book. The boy, also 11, has to save his own money for 2 years to get his dogs that the family doesn't want. Takeaway: have your son chip in (I know any money was yours anyways) but it gives him skin in the game.

    The loss at the end, shows the ups and inevitable downs of owning a dog. The story in between is amazing.

    We had to put our dog down just prior to Christmas. My sons are 8 and 4. We're getting a dog next spring. It will be the dog they grow up and remember forever. Kids need a safe, judgement free, companion as they grow up. The teenage years are brutal and having a dog to talk to, take on walks to be alone and think, and then learn responsibility with (make the boy feed him, walk him, etc.) can be super grounding, calming, and good for their mental health.

  15. #15
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    Don't do it.

    For the reasons you're hesitant.

    Kid will be on to girls soon, anyways... just hold out until he loses interest.

  16. #16
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    All of what you say is true. He won't take care of the dog, AC won't take care of the dog 100%, it's impossible for you not to be involved, and yes, you will "inherit" the dog when your son becomes an adult.

    Still...

    Get the dog, you won't regret it.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    At times, I'm sure they are. No so much when they eat their own shit and puke it up on the floor, or eat something else's shit and proceed to coat the walls in explosive diarrhea. There are stories in that thread I can't un-see.
    Have lived with a variety of dogs over the years and haven't experienced 90% of what's in that thread. Never knew labs were the perpetually hammered college freshman of the dog world. Sounds like a middle-aged or older rescue might be the ticket. The 11 yo gal in my house right now needs to be fed 2x/day, appreciates exercise but doesn't go nuts w/o it, and sleeps like 8hrs/day. Will still play like a puppy if prompted.

  18. #18
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    Wholesome family movie night about dog ownership and then reevaluate.

    Where the Red Fern Grows
    All Dogs Go to Heave
    Old Yeller
    Marley and Me

  19. #19
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    I think you should get the dog, at the very least because you are outnumbered, but mostly because you will look back at the end of it and you will not regret having gotten the dog. It is basically impossible. See the it’s just a dog thread for some true heart and soul.

    And, for someone in your shoes, I’d recommend a Pyrenees. They roam away occasionally but always come back, get exhausted almost immediately, are independent and not anxious, and are great with kids. Notably will not destroy your shit because they just sit around and are bred to kill wolves but not attack, which is just badass.

  20. #20
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    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...ke-them-Skiing

    Some dogs are pretty easy, especially if you get them enough exercise.

    Some dogs aren't.

    Most are worth it.

  21. #21
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    OP- You have clearly outlined lots of challenges that come w having a dog and there are many more, not the least of which is the training aspect. Who will be the pack leader?

    I just faced the extremely difficult task of putting my faithful and constant canine companion to the next life, after nearly 16 years together. Think about that. If you get a dog you could potentially be in for A new management project for the next 15+ years. And I too have no doubt that this dog will in fact become your dog, for reasons you stated.

    I grew up in a family where our dog was chained up outside to a dog house in the yard and we barely ever played with the dog or gave it a good family life. I often think about how much I made my recent canine pet part of my family versus what we had growing up- and how much it changed and drove our lifestyle choices. For example watershed, national parks, travel plans etc.

    Don’t get me wrong I loved having a canine companion but it is a serious thing to welcome the animal into your home and give them the love energy and commitment they require.

    A good next step could be to have your 11-year-old watch some dog training videos, maybe try to spend some time visiting shelters participating in adoption events and involving yourselves more with dogs, so that he can get a feel for what is required to have responsibility for one.

    Overall at this point it seems like you might be better off being a dog uncle.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    I think you should get the dog, at the very least because you are outnumbered, but mostly because you will look back at the end of it and you will not regret having gotten the dog. It is basically impossible. See the it’s just a dog thread for some true heart and soul.
    Exactly this. It's like science or something, irrefutable.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackstraw View Post
    Get a dog that will accompany your active lifestyle. It will be one of the best things you've ever done.
    Or get a lazy AF dog, like a French bulldog, that is perfectly fine chilling at the house while you do your "active lifestyle" thing.

  24. #24
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    Dogs are fine, though I'm a fan of the 40 LB and under for the "I can just pick you up when you're being a giant pain in the ass" factor. Dogs are great, we just got one for our kids last year (5 and 3) as my rule was "not until they're potty-trained".
    That said - my wife and I both grew up with dogs and have a natural fondness/experience with them.
    Dogs are amazing companions and buddies, but only get one if you're going to treat it as a living friend that's kinda dumb but super loyal. You may get a shit eating event, but I've only had that happen once in ~20 years of dog ownership and I called it out to my dad beforehand (of course the dog puked on me). They're obnoxious if they're bored or don't get enough exercise, but pretty chill other times.
    It will absolutely put a damper on travel and flexibility, but as others said - tradeoff is worth it. They're generally huge goofballs that love doing whatever you're doing, which is what we all want as humans (think of them as the permanent 3 year old that thinks dad is super amazing at everything).

  25. #25
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    I'll add that I was your son's age when we got our first dog. My parents (like you) were both dog rookies, and everything you're predicting will happen happened. I think the part you're underestimating is how much you'll love that dog once it becomes yours. It is a burden, but the person who does the most work often establishes the strongest connection. Unless you actively dislike dogs, a good or even decent one will win you over. Seen it happen countless times firsthand.

    My parents got the dog 100% for the kids, but got another one as soon as my sister and I moved out for college, and he turned out to be a hall-of-fame pooch.

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