How To Choose a Dog

Before you choose a dog, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is your budget? Can you afford the purchase price (or adoption fee), the annual care bills, such as food, veterinarian care, toys, and grooming costs?

  • If you rent your home, does your lease allow you to have pets? If so, is there a restriction on size or how many?
  • Do you want a high energy dog or a lap dog? Are you going to take your dog camping every weekend, or will you expect him to be an indoor or apartment dog?
  • Do you have a fenced in backyard, or do you plan to walk your dog every time he needs to relieve himself?
  • Do you have small children who may injure a toy-sized dog?
  • Are you ready to train a puppy or would you rather have an adult dog that is already trained?
  • Who will take care of your dog when you can't?
  • Are you partial to a specific breed?
  • Once you have asked and answered these questions, you can begin looking for a dog by following these steps:

    1. Research the dog breeds that match your preferences. Look at such things as breed temperament, genetic health concerns, and exercise needs.

  • Locate your local breed club, dog rescue group, pet shop, do an Internet search, visit the local animal shelter, or check the newspaper classified ads.
  • Inquire about dogs that meet your needs.
  • Meet with the owner/handler and animal, preferably without children the first time.
  • If the dog is still a puppy, ask to meet the bitch (mother dog).
  • Ask questions about the dog's health, vaccinations, the owner's return policy, and the dog's general history with other animals.
  • Ask if the dog has been tested for aggression and his level of training.
  • Spend time with the dog, observing his behavior.
  • Schedule a return visit with your children. Observe the dog's behavior with your family.
  • Ask for the opportunity to take the dog home for a test visit. Be prepared to purchase food, toys, bedding, leashes, etc.
  • If possible, take the dog to your vet for a check up prior to adoption or purchase. If not, make sure the seller has a return policy for sick animals.
  • When paying for your new pet, ask for a receipt, a copy of the adoption or sales contract, and for the AKC papers, if the dog is a registered purebred.
  • Do not expect your dog to bond with you right away. Some breeds are standoffish until they get to know you.
  • By taking the time to consider what you really want from a dog, you can gain excellent companionship from either a purebred or a pound puppy.


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    Very good information. If everyone followed these steps, we would have fewer dogs without homes.

    By Eleanor Scheidemann