Monday, February 23, 2009

Should everyone own a dog?

Just now I watched a bit of Jon and Kate plus 8 - only the last 10 minutes or so of the new episode wherein the family gets a pair of puppies. I couldn't actually tell what kind of puppies they got and no doubt I could google it, but whatever, that's not the point anyway. The part of the show I saw was where they brought the dogs home and put them in their basement, and then a bunch of discussion about having two puppies. At various times, the puppies are seen peeing on the carpet or tile. At one point, Kate says "I've potty trained 8 kids, I didn't want to potty train the ones in fur too. You let the dogs outside and they play, then they come in and pee on the carpet." Another time, she says that some of the little kids don't like the puppies because the puppies bite.

I've really stopped watching this show for the most part because I'm starting to find it kind of upsetting. I think it's great that they've chosen this lifestyle to earn their income and why shouldn't they take advantage, I suppose. When the show brings in enough revenue to support the purchase of a mansion, why not go ahead and buy it. I wouldn't deny that they need space.

But do they really need dogs, specifically puppies? I mean really, house training a puppy is a difficult process even if you don't have kids. I think it's ridiculous that Kate would express surprise that the puppies would be "let outside" and not pee. They don't instinctively know to pee outside, you have to teach them that it's the right thing to do. Also, you can't let puppies bite and nip, you have to teach them it's not okay to do that. And finally, if you are a clean freak, don't get a puppy. They *will* have accidents and you *will* have to clean it up.

We aren't perfect dog owners or anything, but I feel like I did a substantial amount of research prior to getting Kodi. I knew we wanted to take her to obedience school and I knew that puppyhood would be a tough go at the beginning. Of course, her breed does come with a great disposition and a general attitude of wanting to listen and behave well... but we, particularly the hubby, spent a lot of time in training with her. People often tell us that she's so well behaved, and they can't believe she'll listen so well. She isn't perfect but she is well trained, if I may say so myself. I find it so irritating when people obviously aren't interested in training their dogs, or who think that having a puppy is either a great novelty (the fun of which wears off quickly) or a pain in the rear (in which case, why did you get one!?)

To be honest, we kind of wanted Kodi to be a little bit older before we had a baby... I think she'll handle it well but at the same time she is still a puppy and is still full of energy. It'll take work to train her to respect the baby as a pack leader :) One day I'd love to have a second dog - maybe in a few years!

I'm hoping that in the first half of the episode, Jon and Kate talked about things like obedience training, spending lots of time with the puppies in training, teaching the kids how to take care of puppies and not to provoke them, etc. But I sort of doubt it. Too bad. The show is watched by so many people that the family could have been a great influence on future dog owners. Instead, we're left with more of the Kate-screeching over pee and having to clean it up. Unfortunate.

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