I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to resist those online quizzes – the ones that are so ubiquitous on Facebook. Some quizzes are actually pretty helpful when it comes to gaining insight into your thoughts and emotions. You can analyze your relationship, find out if you’re at risk for a heart attack, learn what job is best for you, and so much more!
If I’m completely honest, though, I’m a sucker for those “click bait” quizzes. You know, the ones that go something like, “What type of sandwich are you?” Apparently, I’m just plain old grilled cheese – who knew?
Thanks to online quizzes, I also know how likely I’d be to survive a zombie apocalypse; simply stated, those zombies better watch out, because I’m in it for the duration! If I were a mythological creature, I’d be a Gorgon. My dream mate is either George Clooney or Beyoncé, depending on which quiz I’ve taken. Oh, and if I were a color, I’d be purple.
Just thought you should know
To get serious, though, there are a lot of quizzes out there that purport to tell you what kind of dog breed you should choose, and even what kind of dog owner you are. I’ve taken more than a few of those “Am I a Good Dog Owner?” quizzes, and I’ve found that, depending on the criteria, I rank anywhere from outstanding to merely adequate.
Flawed “ Am I a Good Dog Owner ” Quizzes
The problem with a lot of the quizzes I’ve taken is that they assume things that aren’t necessarily relevant. For instance, you can get a low score if you say that you don’t walk your dog. This automatically disadvantages people who don’t actually walk their dogs, but who make certain that they get plenty of exercise by means of a huge, fenced-in yard and lots of playtime. You could also lose points if you say that you don’t groom your dog, even if you have a breed, like my Boxers, who don’t really need grooming.
Every person is different, and every dog is different, and what might be a “bad” answer for one person could be a perfectly good answer for another.
So, with this in mind, I decided to try to make up my own “Am I a Good Dog Owner?” quiz. It’s a bit different from the usual ones, though, in that I’m going to give you an idea of what the answers should be following each question. You’ll also find it different in another way, but we’ll get to that later on. So, here we go, with…
…Ash’s “Am I a Good Dog Owner?” Quiz
Answer the following questions as honestly as you can. I’ve tried to provide an answer for every type of person, but if you think I’ve left anything out, I’d welcome comments and suggestions (the comments section is at the bottom of the page).
1. What attracted you to your particular breed or mix?
- It was a cute dog.
- I talked things over with my family, and we decided that this was the best dog for us.
- Nothing, really. I just kind of decided on the spur of the moment.
- The dog was free.
- The dog needed a home and I was able to provide one – nothing to do with the breed, really.
What I’d suggest here is that cuteness is a perfectly valid reason for choosing a particular breed, but it shouldn’t be the only reason. You need to think about how the dog will fit with your family. If you have kids, for instance, you don’t want a dog that’s prone to aggression, or small enough that rough play could cause the dog to be injured.
Also, consider whether getting a certain breed is even the best choice (for more on this, see Purebred or Mutt – Making the Right Decision).
As to the “spur of the moment” thing, sometimes this works out. You weren’t really planning on getting a dog (or maybe you were thinking about getting one, but it was still sort of in the “maybe someday” scheme of things), but you did, and now you’ve had him for years and love him to distraction. Sometimes, though, people make impulse decisions and come to regret them. Then dogs, through no fault of their own, end up being re-homed or surrendered to animal shelters.
2. What things do you buy for your dog?
- Treats and food
- Toys, treats and food
- Grooming tools if he is a breed that needs grooming
Okay, if all you buy for your dog is food, what are you even doing here? How would you have felt if your parents had said, “Hey, I feed the sprog, what else do you expect me to do”? You would probably have been a very unhappy child, and believe me, a dog that gets nothing more than what it takes to keep him alive is also going to be pretty unhappy.
When you were growing up, you needed a lot more than just food. You needed toys to help you learn and grow, and you needed to be bathed regularly, and maybe you didn’t exactly need the occasional ice cream cone, but it was still a pretty nice thing to have, right? I’d also hope that your parents had you inoculated against various childhood diseases, and made sure that you got any medicine you needed when you became sick, which brings me to my next question.
3. When did you last take your dog to the vet?
- I take him twice a year.
- I take him annually for a checkup and shots.
- I take him when he looks sick.
- I take him when it looks as though he’s so sick he could die.
Okay, twice a year is great but maybe not really necessary unless you’re dealing with an elderly dog, or one that has health conditions that need to be monitored. An annual checkup, though, is a must.
Obviously, if your dog seems to be ill, a trip to the vet is in order, and you should never let it go to the point where it becomes an emergency; that’s only going to lead to heartbreak.
4. How often do you walk your dog?
- I walk him every day, twice a day.
- I walk him once a day.
- I walk him every few days.
- I don’t need to walk my dog; he gets plenty of exercise at the dog park or in the yard.
The final answer is usually fine, provided that you’re really sure your dog is getting adequate exercise.
Some dogs require more exercise than others, and if you have a very active dog, you probably will need to walk him a couple of times a day. More sedentary dogs can get by with being walked once a day. There’s no such thing, though, as a dog whose only means of exercise is getting a walk every few days.
5. How much time do you spend playing with your dog?
- I play with him for 10-20 minutes each day.
- I spend half-an-hour to an hour playing with him.
- I play with him for more than an hour.
- I play with him for at least two hours.
- The best thing in my life is playing with my dog, and I do it as often as possible.
- Why would I play with my dog? He does just fine amusing himself.
If you chose the last option, then listen up! Your dog loves you and wants to spend time with you. If you can’t be bothered, why do you even have a dog?
6. How much time does your dog spend tied up in the yard?
- Just long enough to “do his business.”
- He’s usually out there for a couple of hours.
- He spends the day tied up outside, but I bring him in at night.
- He’s always outside, but he has a dog house.
See the comment on the above section.
7. What do you look for in dog food?
- It’s cheap.
- It’s healthy.
- I vary it a bit;I don’t like eating the same thing every day, so I don’t imagine my dog would, either.
- I give him table scraps.
- I go with what my veterinarian says is best.
In other posts, I’ve pointed out that I feed my dogs store brand. I don’t do it just because it’s cheap; I do it because my vet has checked out the ingredients and has verified that it’s a good food for my non-athletic, non-showing dogs. If your dog isn’t showing or participating in agility trials, you can probably also feed a store brand. Mix up the brands a bit if you like.
Don’t go with table scraps, though. I know that in decades gone by, that’s mainly what dogs were fed, and your grandma will probably recoil in horror when she finds out that you’re feeding actual dog food as opposed to what’s left over after you’ve had your meal. The fact is, though, that a lot of foods that are just fine for humans aren’t good for dogs (See Your Dog Is Not a Human, so Don’t Feed Him Like One).
When in doubt, your veterinarian is always the best source of information as to what food is right for your particular dog.
8. What would you do if your dog got hit by a car?
- Put him to sleep without even finding out the extent of his injuries
- Give him some aspirin and hope for the best
- Take out a second mortgage if needed to pay for his veterinary treatment
I really hope you didn’t choose anything other than the last option. If you did, then you can close out of this quiz right now, because you are a BAD dog owner.
9. You’re moving. What are you going to do with your dog?
- Give him away
- Put him to sleep
- Surrender him to an animal shelter
- Leave him behind on the curb and hope that someone picks him up
- Take him with us
This is another question that really has only one “right” answer. Do I really need to tell you what it is?
10. What is the best way to punish your dog?
- Tell him “No”
- Give him a beating
- Kick him
- Slap him on the nose
- Shout at him
- Why would I punish him??? Isn’t positive reinforcement better?
Are you seeing a trend here?
11. Your dog has peed in the house, but you didn’t see him do it. What will you do?
- Tell him “No,” after the fact
- Rub his nose in the urine
- Clean it up
- Just leave it; he’s only going to do it again
If you chose the last option, you’re beyond lazy. You’re also right, though; he’s going to do it again, because when you didn’t bother cleaning up after him, he got the idea that peeing in the house was perfectly acceptable.
Rubbing his nose in it is going to have much the same effect. You’re just saying, “Here’s the pee.” You’re not correcting him in any way. It’s far better to keep an eye on your dog, look for signals that he needs to go potty, and then take him outside. A “No” once you discover the pee isn’t going to do any good, either; your dog’s not going to connect the act of peeing with the reprimand because too much time will have passed between what he did and the correction you’ve delivered. You’re just going to confuse him.
12. Have you ever mistreated a dog?
Okay, I know this is a tough question, but please answer honestly.
- No! Never! It’s unthinkable!
- Maybe once. I’m not really sure what constitutes abuse. I yelled at my dog once.
- I’ve had dogs that have frustrated me beyond all reason, and I’ve thought about it, but I’ve never done it.
- Abuse? Do you mean like when I hit him because he’s barking too much?
- Oh, who gives a s***? It’s just a dog.
I don’t think I really need to tell you which answers here would indicate that you are not a good dog owner.
13. Do you answer “Yes” to the question “Am I a good dog owner?” this quiz notwithstanding?
- I’m not sure.
Clearly, if you’ve decided that you’re not a good dog owner, it would be a bad decision for you to get a dog.
A “not sure” here doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get a dog; it just means that maybe you should go back over your reasons for wanting a dog, and give some serious consideration as to whether you should get one. If you’ve honestly answered “Yes,” then we’re done here. Go get a dog.
So, now, you’re saying “But Ash, how do I add up the numbers? Is it so many points for the first choice, so many for the second, and so on?
Nope. No points given; no points deducted.
This is one quiz that you’ve taken that really doesn’t have right or wrong answers, at least not by the numbers.
What I’ve tried to do here is give you things to think about. That’s all. And if you’ve answered all these questions to the best of your ability, and with full honesty, you know, right now, whether or not you are a good dog owner. I don’t need to give you numbers to validate what you already know.
So, now that you know whether or not you’re a good dog owner, you can get back to what really matters: being the best owner your dog can have.