Choosing Your Dog Can Be Challenging. Here Are Some Suggestions For You. Take The Process Seriously, But Make Sure To Enjoy It!
Deciding that you are ready to welcome a dog into your life may be a fulfilling and exhilarating milestone; but the real fun begins when you start looking for that one special pooch to bring home.
The common mistake that would-be dog owners make is to easily sway for the first pair of expressively large, pleading eyes that they meet as soon as they enter the shelter. But like dating, there’s more to choosing a compatible companion than just looks – there are many more factors to consider.
The Journey to Meeting Your New Best Friend
Most animal welfare advocates promote adopting from animal shelters as the best way to get a dog. Most of these dogs come from a history of abuse or neglect, and thus deserve a second chance at a happy, comfortable life. However, because of their painful past, they may not easily warm up to new people, and they may have a wary, careful nature.
Understandably, shelter dogs may not be the best fit for everyone, especially for busy individuals who do not have long periods of time to spend to get them to warm up, or families with little kids who are still learning about how to gently handle pets. That being said, the shelter is still home to some of the most loyal, loving dogs and thus are worth a go-see. There are some interesting books if you would like to learn more about shelter dogs.
Next to adopting from a shelter, accredited breeders and pet shops are the better places to look for your new family member. Do not buy from puppy mills and backyard breeders who view dog breeding and selling as solely a profit-making scheme, because more often than not the animals from these places are not well-taken care of.
Wherever you may decide to buy, make sure that the place is properly accredited with the pertinent license and documents required in your state. Not only does this ensure that are you supporting the animals’ safety and welfare, but it also guarantees that you will avoid getting scammed.
The Right Breed for You
There are so many breeds of dogs to choose from, and while not all dogs of the same breed have the exact same traits, there are general characteristics about behavior and health that describe each breed to help you narrow down your list. Potential dog owners should usually consider a breed’s energy level, exercise needs, and intensity for their lifestyle.
Busier people who live in apartments may have less time to give their dogs ample time to run around and play, and may need a calmer, quieter dog that will be fine living in a smaller space and won’t disturb the neighbors. Families with kids and other pets or people that usually have visitors over should consider a breed’s friendliness towards kids, strangers, and other animals.
If someone in the family is allergic to fur, it is important to consider hypoallergenic breeds that shed less. And while we’re in the topic of fur, it also pays – literally – to consider the amount of time (and money) that one is willing to spend on for grooming, because while some dog breeds barely need any combing or fur-trimming, others easily get matted fur after skipping a brushing session.
Trainability is also another factor to consider, especially when you plan on teaching your new best friend a lot of cool tricks. Some dogs are more intelligent and easily trained than others, although dog lovers also appreciate the challenge of teaching the hard-headed ones.
Health-wise, different breeds would have various dispositions to certain diseases, whether age-related or genetic. It is best to talk to the vet about what to watch for. Some dogs may also be sensitive to cold or heat, so think twice before bringing a heat-sensitive dog to a place where it’s always sunny and warm.
A Fulfilling Moment in the making
While it can be challenging to make decisions, the dog-hunting process is still a wonderful, fulfilling journey in itself. At the end of the day, whatever dog you choose and from wherever it came from, give yourself a pat on the back as you bring your new friend home. Life is just about to get better for the both of you.