A C D Ownership
Am I ready for Australian Cattle Dog ownership?
A dog requires care and attention every day. If you acquire a Australian Cattle Dog, will you have the time and be willing to:
Will these be pleasurable activities rather than burdensome tasks? Will you resent the dog because it ties you down? Or will you derive pleasure from even the mundane tasks such as "poop scooping" simply because they give you an excuse to go outside and spend time with your dog?
Do you rent or own your own home?
It is difficult to find rentals which will accept a dog of the size and activity level of a Australian Cattle Dog. How would you answer the following questions?
Does your job require frequent moves?
Will your current landlord allow dogs the size of Australian Cattle Dogs? Do you have it in writing?
Is there a deposit required? If so, how much is it and have you figured that into the cost of dog ownership?
Does your rental have an adequate yard to keep your Australian Cattle Dog in while you are away from home? ((modify - not just yard)) Things to consider are size, landscaping (which you will need to replace if it is destroyed by your dog), fencing height and strength, shelter and shade, and proximity/disposition of neighbors. What if the dog barks all day ?
Own Your Home
If you own your home it is easier to add a dog to the household but you should consider the following things carefully:
How much do you value a lush lawn and beautiful shrubs and flowers? If you acquire a female be prepared for yellow spots on the lawn at the very least.
Will you be disappointed, enraged, ready to get rid of the dog if it digs and chews its way through the landscaping? Or will you see it as an opportunity to change the yard around a bit? Will this create a family feud if another member of your family is the gardener?
Do you have the patience and time to raise your dog through its destructive chewing phase inside the house?
Consider the proximity of neighbors and their tolerance for dogs, especially those who might be annoyed by barking dogs. If you alienate neighbors, it is more complicated to move as an homeowner, compared to a renter.
Does everyone in the household agree to acquiring a dog?
Sometimes one member of the household wants a dog so badly that they forget to check with other members. If you have children and you think they want a dog -- remember that YOU will be the one responsible for ensuring that it is properly cared for. You will also be responsible for all expenses, training, and exercise. If you already have an overwhelming domestic routine, DO NOT add a dog to the household. Similarly, if your spouse or housemate is not as thrilled about the acquisition of a Australian Cattle Dog as you are, step back and reconsider whether an ACD, or any dog, is suitable for your household. Ultimately, dogs which are placed into households where there is not 100% agreement on whether or not to acquire a dog, usually wind up as one of the millions of dogs given up each year because "they just didn't work out." The dog in this situation often pays with its life.
Can I afford a Australian Cattle Dog ?
Aside from the initial purchase price ($400-$1000 on average in 2003), there are other expenses which are ongoing and fairly substantial, including but not limited to:
Food/Treats -- $30 to $40 per month ($360 to $480/year)
Routine Veterinary Care (Vaccinations/Heartworm Preventative/Annual Exam) -- $200 or more depending on your location. If you have the teeth cleaned annually, add $100 to $200 per year.
Non-routine Veterinary Care (Ear Infections/Accidents/Illness) -- Allow $500 per year "just in case."
Spay/Neuter -- $80 to $200 (once in a lifetime expense)
Grooming/Shampoos/Flea Control -- $20 and up depending on whether a Flea Control Service for yard and house is needed.
Miscellaneous Supplies and Toys -- $0 and up -- most people probably spend $100 per year on collars, leashes, toys, and Australian Cattle Dog-decorated T-shirts, mugs, etc.
One Time Equipment Purchases -- Crate $70 to $80, Baby Gates $30 each, Dog House $70 or more, Chain Link Dog Run $200 to $1,000 or more.
Replacement Purchases -- Budget $1,000 for the first year if you have extensive landscaping and children who don't pick up their toys. If you are diligent in your puppy training, you could probably get away with less than $100 worth of stuff destroyed by your puppy.
Grand Total (not including the one time expenses and replacement costs) = $1,380 per year.