Now that you have decided to introduce a dog into your home, you and everyone else in your household might be ready to bring home a new 4-legged family member right away. Don’t just rush out to a pet store to pick out a dog, though. Instead, take your time so that you end up choosing the right dog for your family... This simple guide can help.
What to Consider
First, you should ask yourself a few questions so that you can get a better idea of what to look for in a dog. These are some of the things that you’ll want to consider when choosing the right dog for your family.
- Do you have children? If you have children, it’s important to look for a breed that is known for being patient, gentle, and good with families. Smaller dogs are often a no-no for families with small children, as they are prone to being injured by children who haven’t yet learned how to handle dogs gently and responsibly. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid breeds that are known for aggression since they could put your children at risk.
- How much time do you have to spend on dog care? Of course, no matter what type of dog you choose for your family, you and your loved ones must have time to dedicate to that dog’s care. However, some dogs require a lot more work than others. If your family is busy, for example, you might not want to choose a long-haired dog that requires a lot of grooming.
- Is your family active? Although all dogs need exercise, some dogs require much more exercise than others. If you and your family love to spend time outdoors, then you’ll want to choose a dog that is active enough to keep up. If you and your loved ones prefer to spend time indoors, on the other hand, you’ll want to look for a dog that doesn’t need constant exercise.
- How much are you willing to spend on a dog? It’s important to make sure that you are financially prepared to take care of a dog before bringing it home, but some families obviously have more money to spend than others. If your budget is tight, then purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder might be difficult. If this is the case, you may want to look into adopting a mixed breed, since it’s generally much more affordable.
- Would you prefer a puppy or an older dog? Many people immediately think about bringing home a puppy when they decide to bring a dog into the home. However, if you have a busy schedule or just want to give an unwanted dog a much-needed home, then adopting an older dog is something to consider. If you want to raise a dog from a young age, then it’s important to make sure that you have the time to dedicate to training and caring for a puppy.
- Do you have other pets? If you have other pets in your home, such as cats, you’ll need to look for a breed and specific dog that is known for getting along well with other animals. Additionally, you’ll need to be careful about introducing the new dog to your previous pets to help make sure that everyone is getting along and interacting safely with one another.
- What is your living situation? If you live in a small apartment, you have to think about the amount of space that you have available. You may also have restrictions about the types of dogs that you can have in your apartment home. In these cases, a small or medium-sized dog is often the right choice. If you have a bigger home and a nice, fenced-in yard, on the other hand, a bigger dog might be a good fit.
Once you determine the answers to some of the questions above, you can begin the process of choosing the right dog for your family. This is going to require you to do some research about the different breeds that are out there. The American Kennel Club recognizes 193 different breeds, and there are many combinations of cross-breeds and mixed breeds out there as well. To get started with researching breeds, you can try these ideas:
- Do your research online. There are tons of pictures, videos, and articles online that you can use to begin your breed research. For one thing, the American Kennel Club’s website is a great resource for breed-specific information. There are also many websites out there that provide information about different breeds.
- Talk to a few breeders. Few people will know more about a specific breed of dog than a person who breeds them. Of course, not all breeders are created equal, so you’ll need to look for responsible breeders to talk to. You can then ask questions and learn more about the breed that you’re interested in, and you might meet a great breeder along the way who can help you in choosing the right dog for your family.
- Go to a dog show. If possible, try to attend a dog show in your area. This will give you the chance to see many different breeds in action, and you may meet a good breeder or others who are involved in the dog industry this way, too.
Making the decision to bring home a dog is not something that should be taken lightly. Putting some careful thought and consideration into this big step and doing plenty of research will help you make the right decision. Not only will this help make dog ownership more enjoyable for you and your family members, but it will be better for the dog’s health, happiness, and well-being, too.