Taking a dog into your home is a major commitment, one not to be entered into lightly. There are many factors to take into consideration before bringing home an animal for which you’ll be responsible for a long time. Think of him as a member of the family because that’s how you’ll need to treat him if he’s to enjoy a long, happy life. In that context, think carefully about how a dog will fit in with your family. Is he too big or too small? Is he a breed that tends to be too frenetic and hyper or too aggressive and unpredictable? Does he fit within your lifestyle? Remember, the criteria you use to select a dog should be based on how you live.
If you have a lot of valuable furniture or someone in your family has allergies, a dog that sheds a lot and needs frequent grooming may not be right for you. If you’re a person who likes quiet, a dog that barks at every passing sound probably won’t be a good fit for you.
Ultimately, the kind of animal you choose should be driven by your reason for wanting a dog. For example, if you’re looking for a guardian-type dog, one that’s capable of protecting you and your family, then a large and intimidating breed such as a Doberman or Rottweiler would be your best bet. If you’re an avid hunter, an English spaniel or English springer spaniel might make a good bird dog. However, more than 90 percent of the dogs owned by Americans today are house pets, a dog who’s there for companionship and enjoyment. If that’s your reason for getting a dog, then seek out an animal that suits your personality and your family members’. Bear in mind that mixed breeds are generally healthier and require fewer trips to the veterinarian. Pure breeds often have genetic problems caused by overbreeding, which can result in extensive costs due to procedures and prescriptions. It’s something to think about, especially if you don’t have a lot of money in your budget for a dog that needs lots of veterinary care.
Sample some breeds
Visit your local Humane Society shelter and spend a little time with different kinds of dogs. Most shelters will allow you to take a dog into a separate, enclosed room or outdoor space so you can get to know each other. Just remember that most shelter dogs will be a bit frazzled and stressed; they spend an awful lot of time in cages and will probably have an excess amount of energy to burn off, so don’t let that put you off. Another advantage of visiting a shelter is that you can enlist the aid of an adoption adviser, someone who can help pair you with the right dog for your situation.
If you’re just looking for a pooch pal to hang out with, make sure the adviser knows that. They’ll probably steer you toward a beagle, Maltese, bulldog, or collie. Take the same approach if you’d like to take home a pet you can train to catch a frisbee or romp and play with the neighbor kids, something like a golden retriever, Australian shepherd, or a shorthaired pointer. Whatever your decision, remember that it’s important to get it right, so take your time, be patient, and get the dog that’s right for you.
Preparing your home
You don’t want to bring a new dog home, open the front door, and let him find his own way around. Do the prep work for him in advance. Find a comfortable space where your new pet can be comfortable and feel secure about retreating to when things get a little too hectic. Get some chew toys and a nice size-appropriate dog bed, and place his food and water dishes there. Spend plenty of time with your new friend to help him acclimate and get used to his new surroundings. It’s a great way to bond and build trust.
Be selective when finding the right dog for you. Think of it as doing your new pet a favor by finding a good home for him. Don’t forget that he’ll need plenty of love and attention at first to make him feel right at home.
Written by guest author Jessica Brody - firstname.lastname@example.org