Dog Goals – Yep, You Want Them

Dog goals make life with your dog even better. But, I know you’re thinking what are dog goals. My dog doesn’t have any goals besides eating, going for a walk, and getting his belly rubbed. Well, this is about you. What are your goals for you and your dog? Did you set any before you got your dog? Have you re-evaluated them? For instance, I had very specific goals with my dog, Henry when I adopted him. I wanted us to become a therapy dog team for kids in need.

If you didn’t have any goals set when you got your dog, it’s ok. You can still set your goals now and create your plan now. If you did set your goals at the beginning, it may be time to re-evaluate them. For example, I definitely have revisited and adjusted my goals with Henry over the years. With this in mind, today let’s dig in and discover the world of dog goals and how to create them.

The reason you want to know what your goals are for your dog is that you want to always be focused. Especially, when your dog digs that hole in the middle of your freshly planted flower bed or has an accident on your favorite rug. You need to remind yourself of the reason you have your dog.

*Update: April 9, 2024

do you have dog goals

In this article, I discuss what to do before you get a dog.

Budget Tip:

Knowing your dog goals will prevent you from getting side-tracked. For instance, if you get a dog and want to do agility training, but discover that the classes are or equipment are more than you expected, then start a dog agility account. The idea is to stay focused on your purpose. But also be willing to change course, if you need to at any point. Like you discover you rather learn how to teach your dog tricks instead or whatever the case is for you. It doesn't have to break the budget if you are focused and plan.

Why do I need to create goals with my pup?

The reason you want to know what your goals are for your dog is that you want to always be focused. Especially, when your dog digs that hole in the middle of your freshly planted flower bed or has an accident on your favorite rug. You need to remind yourself of the reason you have your dog.

Let me illustrate the nature dog goals a bit further

For example, some people get a dog on impulse. They see those big brown eyes staring at them and they’re hooked. That’s not the way I encourage people to find their dog. But if that’s the way you got your dog, that’s ok as long as everyone is happy. You can even set a goal for yourself and your dog now. 

However, I’m talking about answering the simple question “Why do I want to get a dog?” Or if you already have your dog, “Why do I have my dog?”

The answer can vary widely. Additionally, the answer can often shift over time. For example, if you got your dog to help your kids learn responsibility, but now they are away at college, you may want to reassess the goals for you and your dog. 

What are the top common goals when getting a dog?

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it does include the most common goals of bringing a dog home.

1. Companionship 

dog goal friend

This is always a good one. Who doesn’t like to walk in the door and be greeted by a warm, happy, cuddly little pup that doesn’t care if the boss thought everything you did today was wrong? Or that you had to walk five blocks to get to your office building because you forgot and left your building parking pass in your other purse.

Yep, your dog simply loves you. Even when he digs up your tulips you carefully planted and you scold him. He still loves you. That’s the beauty of a dog. No matter what muck you’ve been through or brought home, he’s just going to love you. Having a dog for companionship can be a wonderful dog goal and you will find many ways to bond with your dog. 

In this article, I talk about how to bond with your dog.

2. Personal Protection 

Sometimes people get a dog for personal protection. This type of dog is generally highly trained and can be very expensive if purchased pre-trained. However, the peace of mind this type of dog can provide a person or family may very well be worth the price. It’s also possible to rescue a dog and train it to become a personal protection dog. Either way, if your goal with your pup is to have a dog for personal protection, I encourage you to seek out a well-certified trainer in personal protection.

Not sure how to find a dog trainer? Learn how to find a positive dog trainer, in this article.

3. Responsibility For Kids 

dog goal kid dog

As mentioned, earlier, dogs are a great way to teach children about responsibility. They can learn about taking care of another animal who is dependent on them. However, I always recommend that mom or dad supervise and make sure that the dog is well cared for. While the dog is a nice way to teach this lesson, it’s still a living being and not a science experiment.

4. Health 

A great way to help improve your health is by getting a dog. Some people just need a bit of encouragement to get moving and a dog is a great way to do it. What better way to go for a walk or run than with your dog?

Besides, petting a dog has been medically proven to lower your blood pressure. I know, personally, if I’m feeling down and spend a few minutes playing with my dog, I will generally feel better. That’s a release of the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin. 

3. Running (or Training) Partner 

It’s always easier to exercise and train for competitions (if you’re an athlete) with a partner. However, some early morning or late night hours often make it difficult to do so with another person.

Do you know you can strength train with your dog? In this article, I walk you through the details.

A dog can be a perfect partner for some people in these situations. Of course, it’s always important to keep in your dog’s well-being too. I like to use a cooling vest during the warmer months. It keeps my dog cool for hours, especially if I soak it in ice water for 30-60 minutes before putting it on him.

In this article, I explore various exercises to do with your dog. 

6. Animal Companion 

dog goal companion

It can be a nice thought to get a dog as a companion for your current furry friend. I have done this many times. As long as everyone gets along well, it’s generally not a bad idea. Senior animals seem to get a bit more energy from younger ones. Besides, it gives the senior pets a whole new purpose. For example, your senior dog can teach the new dog the rules of your home. 

Not sure if you’re ready to get a second dog? In this article, I detail the questions to ask to determine if you’re ready.

7. Showing 

Some people will seek out a dog specifically for showing it. While I don’t know much about the dog show world, I have enjoyed watching dog shows on TV. In fact, I even had a cat who absolutely loved watching the big dogs each year on a stroll across the TV at The Westminster Dog Show. I have learned that there is a lot that goes into showing a dog and finding the right type of dog to show.  

In this article, I reveal how homemade dog treats can save you a lot of money.

8. Giving Back 

Another goal some people will have when they decide to get a dog is to give back. They will train it to help others. This could be a seeing-eye dog or a therapy dog. For example, I adopted Henry with the goal of turning him into a therapy dog for kids.

While this is a great goal, it’s also a big journey with a lot of work involved.

Curious if your dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog? Find out in this article!

Henry graduating from one of his training classes.
Henry graduating from his therapy dog class.

How do I know if I need to readjust my goals?

There could be many reasons to revisit your original intent with your dog. These can include:

  • Dog’s health changed
  • Your health changed
  • Change in environment (kids left for college or new spouse)
  • Different work schedule
  • Training determined
dog goal companion friend

For example, Henry and I went all the way through the training for him to be a therapy dog. He did great! However, when it came to actually getting him certified, I discovered he needed time to release his excitement when meeting new people. Unforunately, this isn’t a trait that is acceptable in therapy dogs. However, he’s a great therapy dog for me. Plus, he motivates me to exercise more. Thus, I readjusted my goals with him over time.

Related articles:

Summary of Dog Goals 

There are many goals or reasons people may have for getting a dog. These reasons may change over time. A few reasons for getting a dog can include companionship, protection, running/training partner, health, responsibility for kids, companion for another animal, showing, and giving back. 

While I covered many goals or reasons for getting a dog or puppy, these certainly are not all of them. 

do you have dog goals

What are your dog goals? Have you set dog goals or adjusted them? 

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

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