Many people acquire a dog on impulse and later regret their decision. They discover that their chosen breed did not suit their lifestyle. It is too big or too active. It takes too much time to groom. Any animal shelter worker will tell you that the list of reasons people use when giving up their dogs goes on and on! Ultimately, when the dog is abandoned, given away, or euthanaised, it pays the price for its owner’s thoughtlessness.
Considering that animals are living creatures, potential dog owners must do extensive research to ensure they select the breed that’s right for them. Here are some things that need to be thought about.
SIZE: Do you have the space to accommodate a large dog in your home, or your backyard? Do you have the physical strength to handle a large breed? Think about the puppy as an adult. Consider how big it will get.
TIME: How much time do you have to spend with a dog? Will the dog be at home alone all day? If so, would you be willing to pay someone to walk your puppy at lunch time? Will you keep the dog in a crate, or let it run loose in your home? Do you look forward to long daily walks, or would you be happier with a lap dog? Remember that time is precious. Do you honestly have enough free time to properly train, socialise, and care for a dog?
TEMPERAMENT: Most dog breeds have natural instincts that have been bred into them for generations. Terriers, for example, like to dig. Other dogs pull. Some breeds like to run. Some dogs are instinctively protective. Do your homework and ask what characteristics are common to each breed or crossbreed. Know what you are getting into.
TRAINING: Don’t confuse willingness to learn with intelligence. Some of the most intelligent breeds can be the most challenging to train. Talk to trainers, vets, and other pet owners to find out what type of dog best suits your lifestyle, your patience quota, and your training ability.
AGE: It takes a great deal of time and patience to properly train a puppy. Bearing this in mind, if you are a busy person, a puppy may not be a wise choice. But this doesn’t mean you couldn’t provide a good home for an adult dog. Adult dogs from animal shelters or rescue societies can make fantastic pets. Best of all, it has grown to full size so you know for certain what you’re getting!
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Did you know that most giant breeds actually require far less exercise than many medium-to-small breeds? Don’t fall victim to the belief that big dogs need to be in the country and need lots of exercise. Many small breeds are more hyperactive and need hours of daily exercise!
SAFETY: Can you make an informed decision that enables you to select a dog for safety? While there are many things you can do to ensure your puppy grows up to be well socialised, some personality and breed traits cannot be changed. This may present you with more problems than you are prepared to handle. Regardless of what breed of dog you choose, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Never invite disaster by leaving your dog or puppy alone with small children.