It may surprise you to learn this but things do in fact cost money.
I know Don. We were confused too.
Some things that cost a weird amount of money? Dogs. Even that free puppy* from a fellow Dog Snob will still cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars in the long run or if you’re unlucky, in the short run too.
“They see me rollin’. They hatin'”
You may think you’ve budgeted for dog basics (food, routine vet care, etc), but in case you didn’t know, shit happens. And in the dog world, shit happening is usually quite expensive.
We’ll need to repeat the calm part.
Have a dog with absurd allergies (we’re looking at you Mr. T), prepare to spend way more than you ever thought buying organic goat meat for raw feeding.
Have a dog with behavior problems? Better save up for that behaviorist, which have initial consultations often starting around $200.
First question: Is the head spinning all the way around normal? Second: will he just grow out of it?
Feel like taking a fun class with your dog? Get out your credit card.
One more class and sloth is going to need to make some room.
Want to compete? Pfft.
We don’t go to compete…
Does your dog have a touchy stomach? Prepare to sell your first born child to the vet to cover your bills.
The budget will never be that tight… maybe.
Oh yeah, and if you live in a major city? Be prepared to pay even more for basic services than your friends in small towns.
She got me throwin’ my money around.
According to a few sites we found, including this one, the average amount spent on dogs yearly is between $580 to $875. Um…what? Did they mean per month? Every three months? No? Well then… we feel silly. The only way this makes sense to us is that there are a whole lot of “zeros” averaged in there to skew the average. The three of us only wish that our yearly average was anywhere in that range.
All of it… on your dog. Do it now.
Back to that competition thing and our noises of derision…Want to compete with your dogs? Oh dear. Better take out a loan.Conformation is it’s own little realm of poor long-term financial decisions. Chalk is surprisingly expensive, after-all kids..
Is it really cheating if everyone does it?
But… let’s take a look at Obedience because it’s something we know a bit about. We’ll start with the absolute basics for the average novice competitor for a year (or something like that because we’re not all that scientific. Fang did most of these estimates, is painfully cheap and in a cheap area so Busybee nearly had a stroke reading the prices)
Dog: We’re going to assume the dogs are bionic, indestructible and able to survive without food.
Probably the cheapest pet you’ll ever have.
Classes: $80 per 8 weeks. 6 Sessions a year (48/52 weeks approx) so $480 per year for the minor-keener. If you want to train with an expensive trainer or you live in ‘not the sticks’ it goes into price brackets we don’t like to think about (and that BusyBee would rather not talk about because it might make her wallet weep more than it already does).
They can shake in the corner from trauma though. Documented fact.
Floor Time: Live somewhere with shitty weather? We do! So the indoor space with actual floors is a godsend, but it’s not a free godsend. $3 if you’re willing to share but if you want the whole space, $20 an hour.
You’d think it would be this special but it’s not.
Training Equipment: Think your old collar will work? Ha! We could tell you’re new! $350 in a year seems like a lot until you begin to add things up. Utility articles, dumbbells (Try 3 when the first two don’t fit), leashes, collars, tugs, balls, long-lines, crates**, treats, PVC (The miracle plastic) and the list goes on. This isn’t even including anything special. We’re talking bare bones basics here. The good news is, it’s all reusable… at least until you have a dog of a different size…. *sigh*
A metric fuck-ton of stuff. Not to be confused with a fuck-ton which is about 204 fucks less.
Trialing: Entry fees start at $20, if you’re in a cheap area. Averages in other areas are in the $22-28 range. Gas, lodging, food, parking (Conformation shows charge for parking and it’s never cheap.), emergency fund that is inevitably spent in concessions at any large trial. There are also those optional titling classes which are oh so tempting to add to our alphabets, and the Wildcard classes where you can train in the ring (sort of, not really, don’t shoot me.).
That’s one way to enter all the classes. Cloning!
Miscellaneous: Rule books, books in general, notebooks, seminars, videos, mental acuity training (Don’t laugh it’s real), Fun Days, Show-and-go’s, Match Shows, Buddy Training, Petco because when you train in their stores they’ll give you dirty looks if you don’t buy *something*.
And the kitchen sink… in case you didn’t get that by the picture.
For a dog to finish a UD (Essentially the last of the basic stream obedience titles as the rest require multiple classes to qualify for), it must be shown at least 9 times with qualifying scores. That’s 9 times where nothing goes wrong enough to have issues. Assuming the trial is literally down the road, you have a perfect run and you never need to spend money a CD to a UD has an opening price range of $200-300. Utility is called Futility for a reason. Some people can do it in 9. Most people do it in many many more.
But at least the bar has been set a little lower
UDX requires qualifying in two classes in a single trial, 10 separate times. The nice part is they charge you a little bit less for two classes. It’s still $30+ but it’s better than $50. A single UDX is therefore about another $300.
OM/OGM/OTCh titles increase those numbers exponentially and we do mean exponentially.
Depressed yet? We are! And they say obedience competitors are cheap…
Fake it ’til you make it.
On the bright side you can sometimes win money, assuming you’re the best that day. If you’re lucky your entry fee is covered. If you’re not lucky, you get a handmade piece of braided polar fleece to be destroyed in under 38 seconds. Why do we do this again?
So what is the moral of the story? Dogs are expensive. Doing things with your dogs is even more expensive. Why aren’t they allowed to be claimed as dependents on tax forms??
We could get behind a drool-tax ‘cuz that’s just gross.
*Potnoodle’s got foster puppies and somehow Fang may wind up with one. Because four dogs aren’t enough apparently.
**Fang has two of the Noz2Noz crates which are lovely and great and Z has destroyed both and the cheap emergency replacement. She now goes everywhere in the metal pet crate. She is why we can’t have nice things.
But that blue one is a destroyed crate and the idiot sticking out is Z.