How To Get the Best Dog for You and Your Family
You have decided to get a dog…YAY! This is a very exciting adventure, but I hope you really took some time to think about this because it is a big commitment that is long term.
There are a lot of things to consider when getting a dog. This is a big decision that is going to bring in a new family member to your household and some new responsibilities.
You now also have more big decision to make…What breed of dog and where to get him from! I’ve made a list of factors you should consider before just running out and buying a dog.
1. Adopt or Shop?
Adopting or purchasing your dog both have their pros and cons. We adopted our dog Bruin and we really lucked out. He is a fantastic family dog, but unfortunately not all are. When adopting always make sure you can meet them prior to saying yes.
I feel with a lot of adopting being done online many new owners are not getting all the facts. Also, many dogs are being transported from states that have an overpopulation in stray dogs to states that don’t have a big issue with strays. Not that this is a bad thing, but the transportation or their life on the streets before going to their new home can effect how a dog behaves. Some can be really skid-dish, overly protective, or not fond of kids or men just to name a few. Some training can help with this and I believe all dogs deserve a chance, but it is just something to consider.
The best scenario is the dog going to the best home for him and if you find a good organization that really considers many factors when placing the dogs and allows meet and greets I find the best match can be found! My fiance, my German Shepherd, and I met with 5 different dogs during our adoption process, which allowed us to determine who was going to be the best fit for all of us! You can find breed specific rescues, but I’d say a bigger percentage of dogs being adopted are mix breeds. Mix breeds tend to be healthy with less genetic health issues. Adoption is great because you are giving that stray pup a home!
By no means am I against buying a dog, but it must be from a reputable breeder. Good breeders are in it to better the breed while others can be in it just for the money. Those in it for the money can be over breeding and not doing proper medical checks. Both can lead to unhealthy dogs with major medical issues. Just do your homework! Ask for medical records and to see the parents of the puppies. Buying a specific breed can help you have a better idea of some of the dogs needs and personality will be ahead of time.
2. Energy Level
I feel this is a pretty common reason owners need to re-home their dog. There are low energy dogs that don’t require much exercise and enjoy being lap dogs and there are dogs that are very high energy and will need at least an hour(if not more) of some pretty intense exercise. Every dog should get a least an hour of walking a day to explore the world, work their minds, and to keep them balanced. Depending on the dogs energy level not their size will depend on the pace!
I feel dog owners need to realize this is their responsibility when bringing a dog into their home and caring for it. A dog that does not have a daily work can become very frustrated and have a build of energy. They will then have to release it themselves, which can come out in different way like chewing, excessive licking, barking, chasing their tail etc. So make sure you are committed to giving a dog the exercise it needs and that their energy matches your families energy level.
If you like to be outside a lot and being very active you will do great with a high energy dog. If, maybe you are older and don’t get around as easy as you use to a more lower energy dog will be a better fit for you!
What size dog is going to be best for your family? One of the first things to look at is the size of your home. Some bigger dogs are lazy and would do okay in an apartment, but just remember you will probably have to be stepping over or bumping into him multiple times a day.
Are you looking for something smaller to snuggle on your bed or couch with you? How big is your car for family vacations or trips to the vet or groomer? Do you think you will eventually have multiple dogs in the future? Just all things to consider and just because a dog is smaller it does not necessarily mean less energy!
Smaller dogs typically cost less to groom and feed, and they don’t chew through toys as quickly. If finances are tight, it might be something to consider.
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4. Coat Type
Can you handle a dog that sheds? Well, all dogs shed, but how much and what they are shedding is all things to consider. Double coated dogs like a Husky or German Shepherd will shed a lot more especially during the change of seasons.
There are also dogs with fur but not double coated that tend to shed less and then there are dogs that have hair and only shed small amounts like we do! Dogs with hair are the best choice if someone has allergies. A dogs coat type will also determine how often he will need to be groomed.
Buying a purebred dog can give you an indication of how that dog will typically behave, their energy, and give you an idea of there good and bad traits, but in the end they need to be looked at at an individual basis. Some dogs are more stubborn and maybe harder to train because they were bred to chase small animals or follow their nose.
When considering energy what is going to be best for your family a confident alpha dog or a more shy submissive dog. Submissive dogs can be easier to train, but can be weary of strangers, where alpha dogs may require more work to keep them in line, but would love being around big groups of people and okay with lots of commotion.
6. Grooming Requirements
Your dogs coat type and breed will determined how much grooming is required. A small short haired dog could be easy enough for to wash in your own sink or bath tub, but a shedding Husky is going to make a disaster of your bathroom if you ever tried to wash it at home.
Smaller dogs are easier to take care of and cost less for food, grooming and toys. Some may be able to use a pee pad during the day, if that is your thing.
Also, the dogs with hair means it never stops growing and will at some point require a haircut, which I say leave to the professionals unless you are handy with a clipper.
Do you love the cute fluffy look on a shih-tzu? Just know the longer you leave your dogs coat the more brushing at home and trips to the groomer will be needed. Just something to think of when figure out your doggie budget.
7. Your Schedule/Travel Plans
Dogs can’t be left alone for days with little to no supervision like cats can. Typically, you don’t want to leave your dog without a bathroom break for more than 10 hrs (many dogs sleep while you are gone, and don’t drink much water, like our pup Bruin, so they can hold it longer)
If you are gone for long stretches or travel a lot, your are going to have to plan for your dog’s care. This could be with neighbors, friends and family, or, if you have the resources financially with your career, you can hire someone to watch and walk your dog. You could swing by during a break if you work or go to school near your home.
If you aren’t able to provide consistent care for these pack animals, you may want to consider a cat, an easier breed or wait until you are able to manage the responsibility, especially if you are set on a specific type of pooch.
We hope this helps you make the right decision when looking into getting a new dog. It’s exciting – Let us know what you decide!