Choosing the Right Dog For You

Looking for a new dog is extremely exciting. But anyone looking for a new dog should be advised: picking the perfect new best friend takes a little bit of work!

 When looking for a new pet it’s important to follow some guidelines. The first thing to realize when starting off on this journey is that going slow and steady during this process is the best pace. One error new pet owners make is rushing ahead in their excitement. Slowing down gives you time to make sure you have enough space in your home, as well as to do extra research.

Careful research makes happy partners!

 

 When considering your potential new best friend, ask a lot of questions, like:

  •  What sort of lifestyle do you lead?

If you live a busy life and you’re not home all day (and you really don’t want a cat), you may want to consider a smaller dog. Smaller dogs don’t need to be walked quite as often – although they still need exercise. They can also use indoor potty mats, so if trained properly, they won’t make a large mess! However, if you have the time, a larger dog might suit you just fine.

Note: Make sure you consider how much you can exercise your dog. If you don’t think you can provide enough exercise, a dog may not be the best pet for you right now.

  •  Do you have children or allergies to consider?

Some dogs are less likely to trigger allergies, so make better potential pets. At the same time, a dog’s size is important to consider if you have children. Smaller dogs are very easily injured, and younger children especially rarely know their own strength. If you have small children, a small dog may not be the best choice.

  •  Do you live alone or in a family household? How will you decide who does what and who the dog’s primary caregiver is?

If you live alone, then you only need to consider your time and energy. If you live in a family, you need to discuss everyone’s schedule and decide ahead of time who will do what for the dog. Make sure you’re all in agreement – that way everyone knows the dog is cared for.

  •  How old do you want your dog to be?

Age is another important factor. Do you want an older dog, or a puppy? Remember: puppies take much more time to care for. They’re energetic and require all the training that an older dog already has, including potty training. So, which dog would easily fit into your lifestyle?

Other things to consider and research based on your lifestyle and preferences include:

 What sort of breed might you want? Is the breed a big deal to you?

  • Are there some breeds you know you don’t want based on general temperament, fur coat length, size, or other factors?
  • Some dogs inherently cost more due to traits found in the breed. Are you financially sound enough to care for all dogs or are there breeds you should avoid?

 Also remember that while it’s good to do research into dog breeds, it’s important to avoid picking a dog solely based on how it looks. It sounds very obvious, but some people still pick an animal based on how beautiful or cute it looks, only to realize later the personality may not fit with what they wanted after all.

 After doing some research and evaluating your lifestyle, it’s time to begin meeting with potential dogs! Find a local shelter or pet store and pace yourself. Take the time to meet the animal! Play with it, pet it, feed it, and take it for a walk if you can. Doing things like this will let you get an idea of the dog’s personality, how it handles, how it interacts with people, and so forth.

 While meeting an animal you’re interested in, the next step is to check him over. Does he appear healthy? (Bright eyed, lively, a shiny coat and good appetite are good signs to a dog’s health.) Are there  behavior issues coming up during your time you interact with him?

 Be willing to ask any animal shelter or breeder you visit about what criteria they use to tell what animals are available for adoption. Get a dialogue going about any dog you’re interested in!

 During this entire process, be open-minded. Maybe you have an idea about what dog you want but another one turns out to be even better! You never know!

Your new best friend in on the way!

 Once you make your decision, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a packet with dog or puppy care information from the breeder or adoption group you visited. These will ensure you have all the information you need. Check information on the breed of dog you picked up as well to make sure you know what you may be taking on; while dogs do vary as individuals, it’s best to be prepared.

 Finally, after adopting or buying your new dog, take him to a vet to ensure he’s in good health, and enjoy training classes together to ensure a smooth, happy transition to family life. After all, he’s all yours to love and enjoy!

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