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three really good reasons to not get a dog


    Atlas, the labradoodle, joined our family this past christmas.

    Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about having a dog. Here’s what I’ve discovered: there are three very good reasons not to get a dog.


    I mean, this one is pretty obvious. Dogs are animals and by default that means they are not overly concerned with wiping muddy paws before coming inside and relieving themselves in discrete locations. And they shed. Oh, the hair! We thought we were safe with our choice of a labradoodle, but come to find out, the non-shedding factor is as unpredictable as the weather. We bought a shedder.



    Each night after wrestling the kids into jammies, brushing their teeth, reading books, saying prayers, tucking them in, I come downstairs to a pup who thinks it’s his turn for some attention. So we play fetch and I rub his belly and give him a treat and within seconds of turning on the tv or sitting down at the computer or opening a book, he is in my face or on my lap asking for more. He needs walks even when it’s raining and playtime even when you’re tired and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing tug-o-war with him for an hour – he’ll still want more.



    First you buy the dog. Then you buy the dog some stuff {toys, dog bed, food}. Then the dog destroys the toy and chews up his bed and needs fancier food for his sensitive stomach and you spend more money. Then you go on a vacation and pay to board the dog. But you feel bad and so you spend a little extra so he can have some special doggy play time during his lodging stay. He needs grooming and vaccinations and a new leash because he chewed through it and a bigger collar because he grows like a weed. He costs a lot of money.



    There is something so right about having a dog in our family.

    Atlas is inconvenient; he’s messy and needy and costs money I could find of 384 other ways to spend, but we really can’t imagine not having this sweet puppy in our lives.


    He is cute. He is fun. He makes us laugh. He licks up crumbs. He is happy to see us. He is loyal. He is part of our family.

    So, even though there are three really good reasons why you should not get a dog, there are even more reasons why you should.

    But maybe try to find a non-shedder.

    58 thoughts on “three really good reasons to not get a dog”

    1. We officially own the same dog! Atlas meet Argus- the most destructive, hilarious, frustrating, and lovable pup I have ever met! Just last week he ate my down jacket, compression running socks, and headphones, and walked across the state highway after taking himself for a swim because he was bored at the doggie baby sitters. I showed my husband this site and we both thought it was hilarious! We own doppelgängers! Check out his pic here!!! I wish I could show you more!

    2. I had a few dogs while growing up, my first one was a boxer. When I lived alone and out in the country for several years I had a lab/mix and added a border collie.

      Now I have rescue who is a mixed breed. We think she has Rhodesian Ridgeback, some lab and who knows what else. Her name is Allie and after my husband and step sons , the love of my life.

      I recommend purchasing a GoughNut. Some friends of mine developed it for heavy chewers. It is the safest chew toy out there in the market. They are based in Modesto, CA. I have had Allie’s for 5 years and she was destroying everything, until I received the goughnut. Their web site is:

      Good luck.

    3. This post captured my heart. I lost my black labradoodle at Christmas. She was 11. Yes, yes… the mess is true… but I sure can add to your list of attributes… she added to every minute of every day.

    4. However much he costs in time, money, inconvenience he will repay a thousand times. That pic of your boys and him (with his clever face) is adorable.

    5. My husband and I also thought we were getting a non shedder when we got our labradoodle only to learn after the fact they need to be 2nd or 3rd generation, ours is 1st. Our dogs name is Jasper and he is such a lover, so I overlook the shedding. He also is one of the smartest dogs I have ever seen and also one of the fastest, he runs like a greyhound. I guess we’ll keep him.

    6. I am so there with you on this one! We bought an English Lab puppy at Christmas this past year as well and I agree with EVERY SINGLE THING you just wrote. I feel like I spend most mornings just trying to make sure Hunter (our puppy) gets enough exercise so he doesn’t destroy the house! I have to also admit that I am not so secretly relieved that yours sheds because I really wanted a Labradoodle so as to not have the shedding factor but my husband wouldn’t go for it. The shedding hair is highly annoying! Luckily, we chose a yellow lab and we have lots of beige carpeting and furniture. But forget it if I want to wear black! I now am invested in lint rollers from Costco to get the fur off of furniture and clothes. . .

    7. I laughed when I read this post because it is so true! They are all those things, but having them around totally outweighs all of that. My husband and I are renovating an old house and we have a Great Dane named Gracie. The newly renovated floors are already scratched in places, she continually tracks in mud from our backyard that still needs sod, and she chews on a lot. But when she comes over and nuzzles me to be petted, or falls asleep with her head and paws crossed in my lap, I couldn’t care less about all of that other stuff.

    8. Our dog is a toy poodle, so no shedding, but he has had his share of small scale destruction over his little life. He was so needy too as a puppy…I felt just like you do, that it was like adding another helpless child to our existing two, another dependent that looked to me for everything. It felt like a burden and mistake at first. Sometimes I think of the expense over the years, there is the groomer, the food, the medicines, the vet, the kennel.

      Our dog mellowed continually as he grew older, becoming less and less demanding and more and more pure comfort and joy. He is eleven now, naps away most of every day, gets me out for a lovely daily walk around the neighborhood and is utterly a true member of our family. My relationship with him has given me a connection to nature I didn’t have before, it has made me appreciate all animals in a subtler way.

      The only bad thing about the dog deal now is knowing how devastated I’ll be when he is gone. I bet your dog will start to settle down and be less trouble before too long.

      Let me add: I enjoy your design sensibility and your blog so much but have never made a comment. Thanks for the inspiration I get from your home and DIYs! You are extremely talented.

    9. My favorite quote would be “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness never owned a dog”

      This post is really, really wonderful and so true to heart! Dogs are some inconvenient things but they’re also a whole lot of WONDERFUL! I also LOVE that my kids are growing up with dogs (we have 2!) and that they won’t remember much different. They love dogs, they’re not afraid of other dogs in the least, and my hope is that someday they will have dogs of their own too. It’s crazy how fast our little (or big) furry friends can warm their way into our hearts.

    10. I love, love, love this! Well said Emily. And that picture of Atlas with your two boys….priceless! Those happy eyes and the huge smile on his furry little face show pure joy. What a lucky little guy he is.

    11. oh boy, i hear you on the messy! we have a black lab, and i was a little jealous when you said you got a labradoodle. the black dog hair is the bane of my existence, but it’s nice to know someone else can relate. :)

    12. I must admit, I was a bit concerned at the beginning of this post. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, though, and kept reading. Everything you said is true, but most especially the end. No one on earth loves with such a pure, unselfish, nonjudgmental love like a dog. I wouldn’t want to live without one!

    13. With two labs who SHED A LOT, I can say I feel the exact same way. Our yellow lab is 12 (Ryan gave her to me as a college graduation present-my first dog), and she has been with us through it all. Trigger is 2 and Ryan calls him ‘monster’. Pretty sure I could do with out the shedding, but the dogs, I could not. :) Atlas is adorable! I had no idea labradoodles have the possibility of shedding! What a bummer! ugh.

    14. We also have a labradoodle, Winnie. He’s apricot color though. We went 16 years of marriage and two kids without a dog and now can’t imagine our life without this crazy doodle. He is so huge (much bigger than we thought), his mom is a labradoodle (50/50) and his dad a standard poodle. No shedding, thank goodness since we have allergies and asthma. He is almost 4 and still a bit mischevious, but a lot calmer now.

    15. Love Atlas! A year ago this week we said good-bye to our 14 year old yellow lab/shepherd mix after an illness…he was my fifth child. It hurt my heart too much to think about getting another dog but on a trip to Road Runner Sports with the intent to buy clearance running shoes for our daughters before they headed back to college…had no idea a Lab Rescue group was hosting an adoption day. We came home with four pairs of running shoes and an eleven month old black lab. While the ache for my old dog is still there…our new addition has melted our hearts…leaving black fur & destroyed toys everywhere….wouldn’t change a thing.

    16. Hah! How funny! We obviously love our labs (hence the moniker labbie1 up there…)

      We travel full time in a 5th wheel and have been doing so for 4 1/2 years now. When we decided to take to the road, we had 2 pugs and a 160 lb newfoundland/mastiff mix. People asked us if we were going to take the dogs. My husband, bless his heart, just said, “would you take your kids?”

      Nuff Said!

      We now have added another pug, so 3 pugs and a 160 lbs newf mix. PERFECT! :) You are so right about the problems–AND the rewards which are so much more than the problems…

      If you labradoodle got a lot of his personality from the lab side, he will start chewing at about 6 months and be destruction on 4 paws until about 18 months when he will miraculously become the most perfect companion ever! Just love him through the chews… :)

    17. I was sooo wondering where you were going with the post but found myself nodding yep yep yep!! We have a mix lab-boxer great with kids – the grand-kids love him although he is 12 years old and on old timer meds every once in awhile the puppy comes out of him. He loves his daily walk through the woods although he comes home huffing and puffing. He was my mom’s companion while we worked; when she fell he managed to lift her up with the help of his collar; when the ambulance came to take her to the hospital he howled and sniffed quietly…when she never came home he went into a depression for a year! We bought him a house in the country and slowly he came out of his depression – same with the cat who is 14 still alive and suddenly came out of his depression after 3 years! Now they both demand my husband sings them songs so they can go into a deep slumber…they don’t like rock n roll! but alas they are now are kids…..ah! the beauty of retirement!

    18. We have 2 dogs (who shed like crazy) a cat and a toddler, so basically we have a circus in our house! One product I found early on when we only had 1 dog was Lupine collars and leashes. They’re wonderful and they are guaranteed forever, so if Atlas chews through either the collar or the leash, they will replace it free of charge, no receipt required. A great company, you should give them a try. And they’re reasonably priced too!

      Good look with that sweet pup!

    19. I never considered myself a dog person at all so it took some convincing for us to get our Shih-tzu rescue dog. I really, really didn’t want something else to look after. BUT, he has wormed his way into my heart just as much as everyone else and I am happy he is here now. Thank goodness he doesn’t shed though! I don’t think I could have coped with that. :)

    20. Oh how I can relate to this post on soooooooo many levels!! You took the words right out of my mouth :) I even just came in from throwing the frisbee, and she is now resting on my lap wanting more!! lol

    21. Oh how fun labradoodles are!! We have a chocolate one and he doesn’t shed at all, like ever, thank goodness!! The dirty part, yes and the non stop playing, still at 2 years old, but we wouldn’t trade him in our lives for the world:0) Thanks for a great read today!!

    22. We have three mini dachshunds and all of these are true, well except for the shedding, but they are so worth it! I couldn’t imagine our life without our girls!

    23. Oh the joy of having a puppy!! I promise things will get better as he gets older. Although the shedding never changes. Me and my husband joke that our house as a “fur” infestation. It is impossible to get rid of and it seems to travel with us where ever we go. But like you we wouldn’t trade our pets for the world, they are part of the family. :)

      1. So laughing with compassion to Amy’s comment. Mom of 5 year old twin boys, I feel you pain! We have one little dog and will be adding to the family circus once we get moved. So glad our new house doesn’t have carpet! You pup is adorable, Emily! His eyes are just something.

    24. Hi!

      First of all, I LOVE your blog for so many, many reasons and always want to comment about how great you are but never have. So thanks for all your inspiration and for being real!

      BUT, I had to comment because I’m a Labradoodle & Goldendoodle breeder and I just wanted to clarify that SOME Doodles DON’T shed and others do. There are different types of generations and the earlier generations (such as Atlas) DO shed, although not nearly as much as a purebred Lab/Golden but the later generations DON’T shed. Just hate for anyone reading your blog to completely ignore the breed b/c they read on here that they do. But, you are right, either way they are a wonderful addition to a family despite things that may be inconvenient! :)

      1. Thanks for the clarification. My in-laws have a 3/4 standard poodle 1/4 lab and he does not shed at all. We knew our risks, but took them because of Atlas’ sweet demeanor and those eyes :)

    25. Yes, Yes, and Yes! …and after he gets the fancy food, he still needs to go to the vet for x-rays to find out he is also eating gravel. But, dogs love you no matter what…and that is priceless!

    26. I love this post! We’re a family with 5 (!!!) dogs and all of your reason are very valid. But, the good reason are so true, too – He is cute. He is fun. He makes us laugh. He licks up crumbs. He is happy to see us. He is loyal. He is part of our family…. Exactly!

    27. We just got a dog, an Airedale terrier, about 2 months ago and are going through the same puppy phase as you right now! She needs so much of me… but at the end of the day I love that sweet girl and wouldn’t trade her for the world. Is this what kids will be like x10?

    28. ‘dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole’.

      so glad you are raising your family with a pooch:)

    29. We have an Australian Shepherd. He sheds like crazy, but I wouldn’t give him up for the world! We don’t have kids yet, so he’s our baby! He is one of the sweetest dogs – nice to other dogs, strangers, kids. I really do think it’s because we followed the advice to socialize him as a small pup. We take him walking around our local college campus & to our friends’ houses to play with their dogs. We actually take him to “doggy day care” at my sister-in-law’s house to play with their Great Dane/Yellow Lab mix every day! They are best friends. He’s spoiled rotten and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

    30. Love your post, we have two dachshunds and yes they are a lot of trouble but they keep my husband’s blood pressure down, they make him get in the floor and act like a fool to play with them, and oh they love us so much! On a side note about the shedding, we started adding raw coconut oil to their food everyday, OH amazing… No shedding, their coats look like new money they are so shiny, skin is not as dry, it’s some good good good stuff. We also give Nupro powdered supplement to their food. Just FYI!

    31. While I get the three reasons not too, I get the bazillion reasons why to do so. Been a dog persob my whole life. However, I have shih tzu and they don’t shed. I thought that was part of the good thing about havng a labradoodle was that they don’t shed.
      It’s too late to return him for faulty hair….tee hee! You’re hooked, in love!

    32. Atlas is so adorable! I love the shot of him running towards the camera. What a goofball camera ham. I love my two adorable recue mutts despite all the messes and the costs. I consider myself lucky to be able to afford pets. Thanks for this story. Loved it and the amazing photos.

    33. I think that we have experienced all three of your “why nots” and I too could think of about a hundred more (complete roll of toilet paper shredded in my room just this morning). But we love our girl Lucy. She’s 20 months old, weighs about 43 pounds and is a miniature golden doodle . That is to say that her daddy is a miniature poodle and her mama was a standard golden doodle. This makes her 75% poodle and may be the reason she doesn’t shed. Occasionally we find small tufts of hair around, probably stuff that either gets caught on her collar or something resulting from an offending itch she was chewing at. The technical term for her breed is F1B. I would have rescued a dog if I had been able to get past the shedding. We had the dark floors before we had the dog so there had to be a compromise. She’s perfect for us. Just the right size, the perfect temperament (though she may love strangers a little TOO much) and she loves our boys (6 and 9). Plus she’s a red head…thus the name Lucy. But you can find them more yellow or even white. So while a rescue is ideal, she is our ideal. Good luck to anyone already looking, I highly recommend the golden doodle! BTW don’t get me started on Pinterest, too many cute puppies to resist the urge to get another one!! Thanks Emily!

    34. When my son was 10 we heard, “All I want is a Golden Retriever.” My husband, who had a crazy golden that eventually had to go live on a farm with lots of space, finally relented (love always trumps common sense). Fast forward 4 years and my son is 14; all he is concerned with is friends, his hair, going places with friends…you get the idea. But, that golden, she is as loyal as ever. Yes, expensive, destructive, needy, messy, but when your teenagers think their parents are lame, the dog soothes the bruised ego. She is my “baby” now. She is always happy to see me, never rolls her eyes, and never calls me embarrassing! She is my Lucy-Girl!

    35. PS- your big guy Atlas is adorable! Love the shots of his playful nature. What a great choice in breed for your kiddos!

    36. Ironically, I read your post while on hold with my vet trying to figure out how our comprehensive (read that: expensive) dog meds don’t get rid of ticks (which I discovered when we found one on my daughter, now necessitating a trip to the pediatrician to test for lyme disease).

      But with that said, our golden/aussie mix has insinuated herself right into our family and into my non-dog-person heart. If only she didn’t shed, she’d be perfect! (I’ve also written about this… titled it “I’ve gone to the dogs… well, one dog, anyway!)

    37. Oh doggy love! I love our pups and I can also relate to the woes of having dogs! We have a low shedding Queensland heeler who is smart, obedient and sweet and a big time shedder mutt ( lab/terrier), he is all love all the time and also a forever baby. I can so relate to the neediness factor at the end of a long day and at the same time, they give our family so much love and joy I can’t complain really. Dogs are so special and add such life to a home, even if I sweep/vaccuum daily to keep the fur down!

    38. I enjoyed your article but stopped reading when you mentioned you “bought” your dog. It’s too bad so many dogs and cats wait on death row at kill shelters all over the country for an opportunity and second chance at life. Many are our breeds too! It is sad when I hear people spending money to buy an animal – ADOPT DON’T SHOP!!!!

    39. Atlas looks just like our dog Casey. She is a Shepadoodle. That’s right, half German Shepherd, half Standard Poodle. She does shed some, but no where near as much as our old Shepherd mix. We could not imagine our lives without her. She is a one of a kind. :)

    40. Yes, all good points, Emily, and I’m so glad you ended on a positive note. I did a similar post and called it “The Joys of Dog Ownership,” which was partly tongue-in-cheek, because as much as we adore our dogs, they are a lot of work, they are messy and they are expensive. Just the heart worm preventative alone is expensive (heart worm comes from mosquitoes which are prevalent here). My husband and I don’t have kids, so our attention can be more focused on our three dogs. Even though they’re older, they still want and need lots of daily exercise.

      I’m so glad you are ultimately happy with your sweet pup. I think it’s good for kids to grow up with a dog. It teaches them responsibility and dedication. Dogs are awesome.

    41. We have two dogs and the hair situation drove me crazy until we got a roomba – best purchase ever! It doesn’t matter when or how much they shed, its picked up every single day and only takes us about 30 seconds to dump the contents each day. I seriously recommend it to everyone. Even the more indepth maintenance – about 10 minutes once or twice a month – is well worth the clean floors!

    42. We’ve been talking about getting a dog for a while now and when I’m expecially busy I find myself questioning why??? But eventually we will and while I’m sure some days will be frustrating, I’m also sure it will be perfect for my son.

      We want a labradoodle or goldendoodle but we’re hoping to find a cross between a doodle and poodle since their supposed to be more reliably non-shedding.

    43. Love this post. I just kept nodding my head and going, “uh huh…yep…so true” to all three of your points. But like you, I LOVE our dog so much that it makes all those other things worth it.

      He is a non-shedder though (poodle and lhasa apso), so I guess that checks off your last box :).

    44. I worried there for a second as to where you were going with this post :P
      Even though those 3 reasons are true I would never give up having our furry baby. My mom was never a dog person and one day she finally gave up and let us have one and now she loves him more than anything.

    45. This made me tear up a bit. My husband and I are HUGE dog lovers-especially of our own. Occasionally, while we’re in the living room at night and he’s whining for attention or I walk through our hallway and there’s yet another ball of hair hovering over the hardwood as a tumbleweed through the desert; I wonder to myself, do we really ‘NEED’ a dog?? Then a few seconds later I come to my senses and remember, we don’t *need* him but, he’s not a thing, he is our family and he makes us happy for so many reasons, they certainly outweight the hair, cost, and needs. Thanks for such a sweet post!!

    46. This makes me tear up a bit, my husband and I are both HUGE dog lovers! Every evening when he’s whining for some attention or I walk through my hallway and there is yet *another* ball of hair, I think–do we really NEED a dog? However, seconds later, I come to my senses and remember, he isn’t a ‘thing’, he is our family. You are right, there about a million reasons why we NEED him and far fewer of the latter. Thanks for such a sweet post today! :)

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