Are you desperate for a canine companion? We know the feeling. In this article we are going to take a look at how to convince your parents to get a dog. Man oh man, you want a dog so bad! Your mind is full of images of you playing with your new puppy, feeding him, and watching him grow up.
Of course, you’ve imagined petting him, walking him, sleeping side by side at night — your best friend for life. But your parents don’t seem so charmed by the idea. Apparently, begging works well for dogs, but no matter how much YOU beg, Mom and Dad just keep saying “no!”
If this is your life right now, you probably feel really sad. And frustrated. And confused. So many of your friends have pet dogs, so why can’t you have one too? If you want a pet dog, don’t give up — we’re about to show you how to convince your parents to get a puppy (or grown dog).
I Want a Dog but My Parents Say No
Ah yes, the big N.O., aka your parents’ favorite word. They say it a lot. In fact, they said it when you begged for a bicycle (but you now have one). They said it when you asked to get your ears pierced (they are pierced now). And that cool little cell phone in your pocket? That was a solid “no” when you first presented your idea, too.
From these (or similar) experiences, you have learned that patience and persistence pay off. And while they might never admit it, your parents likely admire you and feel proud of you for showing both qualities! But this time, your parents really seem to be digging in their heels with this “no” business. So let’s take a minute here to try to figure out why!
Why Don’t Your Parents Want You to Get a Dog?
It’s not that your parents don’t want you to have a pet dog. Actually, they probably DO want to give you something that you say will make you so happy. So why would they say no?
For a minute, think about what your parents do all day. They work, right? You see them go to work and come home. Even if they work from home or at home, they’re pretty busy all day. They run a lot of errands and drive you places you want and need to go. Don’t forget they fix dinner and do the family laundry. Plus, they remind you to do your homework and your chores. And are even out of bed before you even though they go to bed after you do. Those are two busy people!
Maybe when your folks think about adding a pet dog to your family, they don’t even see cute, wriggling puppy cuteness – they just see more work for them to do! So maybe the best strategy here is not to convince parents to get a dog, but to convince them that getting a dog won’t create more work for them. Ding ding ding! But before we do this, we have to get to the root of their concerns.
Find out Why Your Parents Don’t Want a Dog
Sometimes a straight-up question will get you farther than all the begging, whining, shouting, crying or silent treatment in the world. Pick your moment, though – don’t ask your question when you can see your mom and dad are super-busy. Watch for a quiet moment, and then ask your parents, “Why don’t you want me to get a dog?”
Then listen quietly and carefully to their answers. This is KEY, because once you know exactly WHY your mother doesn’t want a dog, for instance, you can come up with really good counter-arguments to convince her she DOES want a dog. (A “counter-argument,” by the way, is a great strategy to use any time you don’t get what you want right away. You see it a lot on those lawyer shows on television. You can just listen to the other person’s reasons and then use those reasons to convince them that they are wrong and you are right!)
We’ll help you get started with some counter-arguments to popular reasons why parents may be anti-dogs. First off, they think dogs are too expensive.
My Parents Say a Dog Is Too Expensive
Here is an example. There you are, trying so hard to figure out how to convince your parents to get a dog, and your Dad says, “I’m sorry – a dog is just too expensive.”
He isn’t wrong, by the way. Dogs CAN be expensive. Did you know that buying a pet puppy or dog from a dog breeder could cost $500 to $1,000 JUST for the dog? This cost doesn’t include shots, spaying or neutering, a microchip, food and water bowls, and a dog bed. Not to mention blankets, toys, leashes, pet insurance, grooming, a crate or anything else your new pet dog will need. In fact, if your dog gets sick and needs to go to the vet, this can be very expensive indeed.
Now your Dad is probably a pretty busy guy already. He probably doesn’t have time to sit down and figure out how to get a dog in a way that won’t be so expensive. But you have time, right? So when you hear your Dad say, “A dog is too expensive,” you can (think to yourself “aha, time for a counter-argument!” and then) say to him, “But what if I find a way to get a dog that isn’t so expensive?”
Thankfully, there’s a less expensive (and better) alternative. In nearly all cases, adopting a dog from a shelter is much cheaper AND you can get more for your money, too.
Adopting Is Cheaper Than Buying
So start out by looking at adoption fees at your local dog shelters. There are so many great pet dogs at shelters right now waiting to be adopted and to have a great family to live with! The ASPCA states that 6.5 million companion animals enter US shelters every year!
While adopting a dog from a local rescue shelter is not usually free, it definitely won’t cost you $500 or more. The typical cost range, which is often called a “rehoming fee,” is typically anywhere from $25 to $300. Plus, if you adopt an adult dog rather than a puppy, they may have already had their spaying/neutering. This can really keep new pet costs down. They might also have had dog obedience training, which would mean you may not have to pay for an obedience class to train your new pet dog.
Still, don’t forget that the cost of your dog is not just how much it is to buy him. He will need insurance, a collar or harness and leash, a bed, a crate, a puppy playpen, bowls. Not to mention the weekly bills for a good quality food.
Many shelters also have lower cost pet items for sale to help the shelter raise some money. Typically, shelters that do this are selling pet items donated from people who have lost or turned in their pet dog. So you might be able to get some great supplies for your new pet dog for less than you would pay by shopping at a regular pet store.
Also, in your efforts to learn how to persuade parents to get a dog, have you considered what you can contribute to the cost of a pet dog? Maybe you have allowance money saved up. Perhaps you have (or could get) a part-time job. If you are willing to invest your own money to get a pet dog, your parents may start to warm up to the idea. That shows them how responsible you are and that you are really serious about getting and caring for your dog.
*Special “adoption days” are also common at dog shelters. On these days, you may be able to pay no fee or a very low fee to adopt a pet dog. You can ask the shelters or look on their websites to see when the next adoption day is scheduled.
Okay, so you’ve figured out how to cover the extra costs of owning a pet. But what if money isn’t the issue. What if your parents say they just don’t have the time for a pet dog? Here’s how to convince your parents to get a puppy (or adult dog) in that case.
My Parents Say We Don’t Have Enough Time
Much as you might not like to hear it, this is a valid reason to not get a pet dog. DO you have enough time? Truly? Here, think about YOU specifically – not your parents. Do you have enough time every single day to take care of most of your pet dog’s daily needs? Are you willing to get up early to take your dog for a walk before school?
Do you have sports or after-school activities that would prevent you from walking your dog regularly after school? Would you be willing to give up some or all of those activities to take care of a pet dog? Are you home to feed your dog in the morning and evening? What if your dog gets sick? Will you clean up after her without complaining and stay up with her at night if she needs you?
If the idea of getting up earlier, taking at least two walks each day, and picking up dog poop isn’t appealing, think again. What about training your new pet dog to obey commands, brushing and grooming her? If giving her food and water and being there when she needs you doesn’t sound just wonderful, you may not actually have time right now to get a pet dog.
This is something you should think through very carefully. A dog is not a person, but it is an animal with daily, regular needs that someone in your family will have to care for. They also need to be looked after during the day. You can’t go off to school and leave them all day either. If you don’t have a parent who stays home some of the day, they will need to pay for a dog walker or puppy daycare! But if it is to be your pet dog, that person should be you as much as possible.
So what you need to do now is not figure out how to convince parents to get a dog, but figure out how to convince your parents that YOU will take care of your dog, not them. What kind of track record do you have? Because let’s be real: if your parents can’t trust you now, you’ll have some work to do.
My Parents Say I Won’t Help Enough
Here again, your parents may be making a good point. Will you help enough? What is “enough?” You may be trying to figure out how to convince your mom to get a dog, but all she hears is you asking HER to take care of your pet dog. You probably wouldn’t like it if your mom got a pet and then asked you to take care of it for her, right? So it makes sense that she may not be as excited about the idea of a pet dog as you are.
You have to convince her that you are going to help a lot. In fact, so much, that she won’t even have to remind you to feed or walk or clean up after your new pet dog. If you don’t have a great track record of responsibility, it’s time to start building one.
How can you do this? Start by completing all your chores without being reminded. If you have a curfew, stick to it. You can even help out around the house without being asked — and of course, make sure your room isn’t a dumpster. Hopefully, in time, your parents will see that you can be responsible. But what if they say you can get a dog, but not a puppy? If your heart is set on a little pup, we may be able to help you out.
My Parents Say We Can Get a Dog but Not a Puppy
Hmmmm. This is interesting! Why would your parents be willing to allow you to get a pet dog, but NOT a pet puppy?
After all, puppies are so CUTE! They are cuddly and warm and soft! All your friends will ooh and aah and be so jealous! So how can your parents say “no” to a cute puppy? Quite easily, actually.
While you learn how to convince your parents to get a puppy, they’re probably imagining the worst. Unlike your puppy dreams, they imagine your new puppy teething on the living room couch. They may visualize the pup peeing on the plush carpets or pooping all over the house. Not to mention crying and squealing while getting his (expensive) shots and refusing to walk on a leash or learn to obey and worse.
Puppies are a LOT of work! They are definitely a lot more work than an adult dog (aged 18 months or older). But if you get an adult dog, someone else has done a lot of that work (and paid for some of those puppy-only costs) for you. So maybe it IS better to get an adult dog instead! It is worth thinking about. If you cannot convince your parents to get a puppy, embrace the idea of an adult dog. After all, an adult dog is WAY better than no dog at all — trust us.
How to Persuade Your Parents to Get a Dog
If you have read all the way to this point and you still want a pet dog like you want air to breathe, we commend you. But even more so if you’re willing to share some of the costs and the lion’s share of the responsibility to take care of your new pet. At this point then, there is only one thing left to do:
TELL your parents this. Then PROVE it.
First, pony up some cash. Break your personal bank and hand over those dollars and dimes you’ve been saving. Start mowing the neighbors’ grass or get a summer job to save for your pet dog. Write out your daily schedule and block out the times reserved just for you taking care of your dog. Show your parents your schedule and prove you have thought this through carefully. It certainly helps when they see that you DO have (some) cash and the time to make a new pet dog your first priority.
How to Convince Your Parents to Get a Dog – Summary
If you’ve tried everything you can think of and your parents still say “no,” there is one more thing you can do to try to win them over. Try writing a letter to them. Maybe, in all their worry about costs and time and responsibility, your parents have just forgotten all the GREAT things a pet dog can add to your lives.
Dogs can make for wonderful pets. They aren’t called “man’s best friend” for no reason! So if at first you don’t succeed, keep on trying, and good luck! We’re rooting for you because we know all the joy a dog (whether pup or adult) can bring to your life.
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References and Further Reading
- Money. White, M.C., Here’s How Much It Really Costs to Adopt a Pet.
- ASPCA. Pet Statistics.
- Psychology Today. Coren, S. PhD., DSc., FRSC. Just Being Near You Is Rewarding for Dogs
- National Geographic. Arnold, C. Puppy Eyes Evolved So Dogs Could Communicate with Us.
- Next Advisor, Time.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website