How to choose a dog is a process that goes way beyond falling for the first one that attracts your attention. While "good chemistry" is important, if your decision is based on that alone, it may well lead you down the rabbit hole.
For the dog's sake, and yours actually, you've gotta take a few more things into consideration before choosing a pet.
First of all, are you dog savvy? Have you boned-up on all the responsibilities that owning a "Rover" entails and fully understand what's involved so that the decision to get a dog is not impulsive? If you have, then you'll know it's not a trivial matter.
Here's something else to think about: What are your future plans? Can you confidently commit to lovingly take care of a pet for up to 15 or more years? Before you answer,
Read this article
"How Could You?" and then come back.
Healthy dogs live fairly long lives, and they get very attached to you. Buyer's remorse is not a good feeling when it comes to the prospect of giving up a puppy or adult dog - many sad faces at shelters will attest to that!
Still with me? Good!
So having thought these things through, if you're still on board, we'll move on to the nitty-gritty of choosing a dog, before you make a final decision
With a little know-how.... choosing the right dog will be a breeze and you'll have no trouble selecting a four-legged friend that will best fit into your family and be a treasured pet for years to come.
So let's get to it.
Do you want your dog to be in harmony with the type of things you like to do? This factor bears consideration if you want your dog to be included in your activities.
For example, if you are a high energy person, or family, and thrive on lots of outdoor activity, such as:
Perhaps you are drawn to the excitement and fun of competitive dog sports and would enjoy owning a breed that
you can train and enter into canine agility trials.
If this has appeal, selecting a dog breed for these activities will
take your search toward dogs that are natural athletes and that have the ability to focus and follow commands off leash.
Although all dog breeds can compete in agility, some of the breeds easiest to train for it are Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Welsh Corgies.
Just remember one thing, this sport requires both dog and master to have plenty of stamina.
Apart from the energetic canine sports, the beauty of the conformation shows has great appeal for those interested in working toward champion status for their purebred dogs.
Many people develop an interest in this hobby by attending dog shows or watching them on television - especially the famous Westminster Dog Show.
Make A Note: Attending dog shows is a great way to learn more about dog characteristics and dog breed temperament. Plus, it's really fun to watch dogs enjoying all the activity and getting pampered at the same time.
Taking proper care of a dog does cost money and many people in their excitement to have a pet, don't take this into consideration. Big mistake!
So, before you venture into pet land, do take a look at what's involved money-wise.
First you have the cost of obtaining your chosen pet. This can range from $50 to $100 at your local shelter for a mixed breed; up to $600 for a specific breed from a breed rescue or non-pro breeder; and up to $2,000 or more depending or rarity for a purebred.
Here are some of the recurring fixed costs:
And here are some of the other needs:
In addition to the regular expenses, most dog lovers like to purchase treats, toys and birthday presents for their dogs. It adds up very quickly!
And, according to the latest stats it's growing. The most recent data revealed that Americans spent $70 billion on their pets last year. Of that amount. 20 billion went to vet expenses, 32 billion for food, and 16 billion for supplies and OTC meds.
After that shocker, pick yourself up off the floor and let's move on.
Is someone at home most days to take care of a dog, or does everyone have a job? Most dogs are such social beings, that many will suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for more than a little while.
Lap dogs can go more places, but other breeds left alone may bark or howl endlessly - your
neighbors may justifiably be a little put out.
If you can't take your dog with you, think of selecting a dog that is more laid back or perhaps consider
two dogs to keep each other company. The other alternative is
doggie daycare, but there is a cost involved.
Whichever dog(s) you select, if they are home alone, just make sure their outside area is safe and they have solid dog houses to give them shelter and keep them comfortable no matter what the weather.
And, by all means leave some distractions...toys, nylabones and even some
pet calming music
to while away the time till you return.
Space - If you are attracted to the larger breeds, do you have the room? Using the Great Dane again as an example, it's pretty obvious that this breed needs a good deal more room to roam than a Yorkshire Terrier, but it's surprising how often large dogs find themselves in small apartments or condos. Go figure!
Hair - Some like it long, some like it short, but most of us don't like it on the couch. Do you have a dog-proof house - perhaps with sealed wood or tile floors. And maybe a leather sofa instead of fabric? Definitely something to ponder if you're not too fond of running the vacuum! Also, be aware that grooming needs will differ between the long and short-haired.
After you've come up with a clearer picture of your chosen pet, go one step further ...
True dog lovers are willing to make many adjustments for furry friends as they consider the advantages far outweigh what we do for them. However, owning a dog does mean making a commitment for a number of years.
Before choosing a dog for your family, one final thought..
If you missed this article "How Could You?" up at the top, check it out now. Its message is profound and really brings home the responsibility we have to a dog when we bring one into our family.
After all, this site is all about the ultimate care of pets!
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- Extensive List of Small Dog Breeds
- Choosing Dog Breed Quiz
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- Terrier Dog Group - Lively, Fun and Smart!
- The Toy Dog Group - Diminutive Dogs With Big Personalities
- Non-Sporting Dog Breeds - Oh, I'll bet they'll play a game with you!
- Rare Dog Breeds - In a class by themselves
- Dog Buyers Guide
- Cool Dog Names