Picking The Dog That’s Right for You


animal                 shelter imageSo you want a dog? Before you rush off to the local breeder who has puppies available, the local shelter, or your neighbour whose dog just had it’s fourth unexpected/unwanted litter stop and think for a while. What are you looking for in a dog? A friend, companion, and foot warmer for sure, but what else?

Before you get a dog, do a lifestyle check on yourself. What do you do? Are you home during the day? Are you active? Are you a couch potato? How big is your house? How big is your yard? Does anyone in the house have allergies? How much time will you have for your dog when you get it? Is this to be an indoor dog or an outdoor dog? Seriously if you’re a total couch potato you aren’t going to want to get a high energy, high maintenance dog such as a Border Collie which requires at least an hour a day of intense physical activity just to keep from going insane. Border Collies that are not working (doing something), exercised regularly and often can be so destructive as to be beyond belief.

Read about the breed characteristics of different dogs. The hundreds (perhaps thousands of years) of breeding for specific traits, such as those of the Border Collie to herd, are genetically hardwired into the animal and you shouldn’t expect the dog to go against all that it has been bred for. If you want a quiet, slow moving, and docile dog you wouldn’t choose a Jack Russell Terrier which was bred to be an enthusiastic, energetic, tireless hunter of rodents and badgers.

Know what to expect before you go looking for a dog. For instance a Border Collie will love to herd, and will tend to try to herd children nipping at heels and the backs of legs in doing so. A family with young children would probably be better served with a different breed of dog. A high energy dog such as a Jack Russell Terrier can be a great companion around young children. The kids will keep the dog fit and vice versa (perhaps) and the noise of the dog will let you know where in the house the kids are. Don’t get a JRT if you want calm and quiet.

No one dog is right for every person. Pick an animal that suits you, what you do, and what you enjoy so the dog can enjoy with you. Don’t think that just by getting a dog it’s going to change you from your coach potato self to a long distance walker. If you are looking for a life style change, change your life style for a year then get a dog to fit your new life style. The new wears off of walking a dog half an hour twice a day if that is not what you enjoy, it pales even quicker when it’s minus todangcoldatseveninthemorning.

All too often people find the puppy cute and irresistible. Six months later after it’s eaten the legs off the chairs, dug up the lawn, or grown to the size of a small horse then “little” puppy gets dumped at the local animal shelter. Know enough to at least anticipate what you are getting into when you bring a dog into your life. Remember with luck you’ll have that companion for upwards of fifteen years.


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