Choosing the right type of dog that suits your lifestyle can be a long, difficult process. Dogs are friends for life that teach us compassion, love and the true meaning of friendship. Once we become dog owners, we start to build a bond with our four-legged friend that will last way beyond our time together so it is vital that we take the time we need to fully prepare for such a wonderful experience. Dogs are extremely sensitive animals and will feel any mood swing or unhappiness affecting you. Be as mindful when choosing your pet as you would be when making a new (human) friend. After all, dogs are life companions!
The first and most important stage when deciding to buy or adopt a pet is determining what you're looking for in a dog, and what kind of dog will suit your family setting and lifestyle. Every dog breed was developed for a specific purpose, either to help people carry out a particular task such as hunting, herding, protecting or simply as a domestic pet. Research the different dog breeds based on the traits you are looking for in an animal companion.
Are you looking for a very friendly and active dog who wants to play or do you prefer a quiet dog that just sits quietly and lets you stroke it all the time? Are you planning to have your dog assist you during work or do you want a pup that will enjoy a simple stroll at the park before returning to relax on the couch? Once you are able to answer this simple but important question, your choice for dog breeds will begin to narrow down to less options.
Once you have a clear picture of why you want to become a pet owner begin researching the different types of dog and narrow down the choice to the one that displays the temperamental and physical features you are searching. Browse dedicated websites and maybe go on one of the national kennel clubs sites to get a better idea of the breed standards, speak with pet owners who are familiar with the dog breed you've chosen and read books that can help you get more information. Your choice should be based on knowledge of the breed and not only on appearance or pedigree.
You may often find people trying to sell you a puppy by telling you that having purebred papers can guarantee a better dog than a non-registered one. But this is not quite true! Registration simply means that the pup's parents are members of a recognised breed, and that the puppy's ancestry is of the same breed over many generations. Having a purebred registration doesn't necessarily mean that your pooch is healthier, more intelligent or a guarantee of excellent temperament compared to a non-registered one.
If your heart is set on a particular dog breed it is now time to begin the search for the right breeder. This is a very delicate and important step that requires more research and plenty of care! Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest and unprofessional people claiming to be dog experts and breeders who in reality are in it just for the money. Take your time when looking for the person that will deliver your new puppy, and know the question to ask and the signs that you're dealing with a reputable dog breeder. For example, never buy a pooch from a someone who refuses to show you the breeding facility, the puppy's parents or who only seems interested in getting your money. Responsible breeders are passionate about the breed and only want the best for their puppies. So ask questions about the parents, their level of health and temperament. Demand answers and move on with your search for a better professional in case you are not satisfied with them.
You may want to check this article on the Key Points to keep in mind when buying a dog.
It may sound strange but just like fashion, dog breeds seem to go through trends. Extremely popular breeds or cross breeds, such as Labradoodles, Maltipoos, French Bulldogs and even Dalmatians, have a tendency to attract bad breeders who are only in the business to make money as quickly as possible. In order to produce the highest number of litters, these unprofessional breeders may cut corners on meeting the health standards and socialisation steps necessary to the wellbeing of your future puppy, so be especially careful when picking these trendy types of dog and only refer to reputable breeders.
If you have a particular breed in mind be sure you are aware of the possible genetical issues and specific care requirements that come with it. Remember, dogs are not toys but living beings that can't be returned if we're not happy or unable to keep up with the costs involved to keep them healthy and happy.
And let's not forget there are plenty of cross and mix breeds pooches waiting to find their forever home through adoption.
Having done some research on the dog breed you want can be of great help when choosing your future pet as it will give you the background knowledge to ask relevant questions and notice any unusual physical and temperamental features.
Whether you adopt from an animal shelter or purchase a pup from a breeder you'll want to first see the pooch with your own eyes. Don't be afraid to ask specific questions about the disadvantages of owning the particular dog you want. Good breeders or shelter managers should speak not only of the wonderful aspects of that breed but also about the not so attractive traits. For example, Basset Hounds have a tendency to drool a lot, Samoyeds will cover your furniture in white hair, and French Bulldogs may often experience respiratory issues. Do some research on the internet, chat with other dog owners and maybe even contact a vet before locking eyes with the puppy of your dreams. Taking both "the good and bad" into account will avoid unwanted surprises once you're four-legged friend comes home with you.
One of the defining aspects of being a dog owner is the requirement your pooch has to exercise. Although some breeds may need true athletic owners, many others will only need a few short walks around the block to remain fit and healthy.
Regardless of the type of dog you'll be bringing home, your lifestyle will need to adjust to a certain level. So you understand how vital it is that you thoroughly consider your lifestyle and compare it with the activity levels of the type of dog you want. Thinking this through will help you gauge the amount of physical exercise needed by your future pet. If you are a runner or often go on long walks in the countryside, short-legged breeds or Toy Dogs may not be the best option for you. Conversely, if you enjoy spending weekends watching movies on the couch any type of working breed may suffer from a lack of stimuli.
If there is one thing any dog needs is a confident and consistent kind of leadership. Being able to follow the routine of a firm but positive decision maker is essential for your pooch to trust your guidance and willingly accept your decisions. Some breeds may display a dominant or stubborn kind of temperament while others may appear shy or even fearful. No matter what, you'll need to be prepared to handle any situation so that the responsibility of taking care of the family doesn't fall on your pooch.
Even though you may consider yourself a "strong leader" among other people, you may find that this is not the case when trying to communicate confidence to your pup, especially if you are a new owner with no previous experience. The ability to care for a dog with a dominant or rebellious temperament is acquired with time, patience and experience so stop for a second before choosing your pet and consider your history with dogs and your commitment to a lifetime of training: look at a breed that is best suited for first time owners.
Your living space is extremely important when choosing any pet, especially a dog. It may seem obvious but many of the larger dog breeds require a little extra space at home: not simply because of their size but also because they may be fairly active and accidentally damage your furniture or even hurt themselves while playing in the house.
If you're thinking of getting a Toy breed, a small studio apartment won't really affect your pooch's quality of living. However, if you are partial to Saint Bernards consider having a backyard where your pup can stretch its legs. The aspect of the available living space has also some relevance if you consider yourself somewhat obsessed with hygiene: a Husky's beautiful fur for example can become a nuisance if your dog has no access to outdoor areas where it can shed majority of the dead hair.
So make sure you have enough space for both of you to enjoy each other's company without restraining your furry friend's freedom.