The idea of adopting a dog has been on your mind for months now. Every time that you see a puppy in the window of your local pet shop, your heart crumbles at the idea of holding that puppy in your arms. Their selection is huge and all these cute and friendly little critters offer you a sad puppy eye look telling you they wish to share both your heart and your home. Unfortunately, you cannot bring them all home. So the question that is on your mind is: “How to choose the right dog?”
You have thought about all the care, the veterinary bills and all the expenses involved. You have already thought of the limits that it will add to your lifestyle. You are also ready to spend the time needed to train and walk the dog as well as for cleaning up after that adorable creature. Still, you are more serious than ever about adopting man’s best friend. Well, here are a few tips that will help you in making the best possible choice for yourself, your kids or someone with special needs.
- Is anyone allergic to dog fur? Well, if it is the case, don’t worry – not all dog breeds have fur. In fact, some have none such as the American hairless terrier or the Chinese crested. Others have wool, such as the poodle, and some like the Maltese have hair.
- Why do you want a dog? Do you wish to adopt a dog simply for her company? Will this dog be surrounded by kids? Will this dog be trained as a service dog, a rescue dog or a therapy dog? Will this dog deal with people with special needs such as those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder or seizures? What about a guard dog? The reason behind this adoption will help in selecting the best breed for you or his new master.
- What size of dog should I get? Well, in some cases, size does matter! You see, if you want a dog for its company and intend to treat it like your baby, a smaller breed such as a Pomeranian, a miniature Poodle or a Chihuahua will suit your needs very well. If you intend to run or participate to numerous outdoor activities, a larger breed such as the Labrador retriever may be the breed for you. If you intend to train your dog as a guard dog, I suggest a larger breed than the Chihuahua, such as a Great Dane, a Doberman or a German shepherd.
Read about various dog breeds and the tasks they specialize in. Kids are better suited with a patient and friendly breed such as the Golden retriever, whereas a miniature Poodle will tend to be jealous and unwilling to share the attention with someone else. Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers and German shepherds tend to become good service dogs, rescue dogs and police dogs. Therapy dogs are mainly rated on their attitude, their lack of aggressiveness, their role as a companion as well as their level of obedience.
- Should I pick a male or a female? Well, it depends on you. You see, a male tends to become larger in size, more aggressive and certainly display more energy. If you intend not to have it neutered, you will also have to handle a ladies’ man. He will also try to exercise his dominance over you or others as well as certain objects. You could also end up having to deal with the fact that they mark their own territory with their scent, not always a wanted trait. A female will most likely be smaller, more patient and affectionate. On the other hand, she can become more irritable when in heat, attract unwanted attention and leave bloody traces on your furniture and carpets when having her period. And don’t forget, if you do not intend to have her neutered, you may as well use her for breeding purposes or avoid male companionship at all costs if you do not wish for her to end up pregnant.
- What dog breed should I pick? Well, read about various breeds that interest you. You should learn about their character traits, typical health problems, type of behavior and their natural habits. For example, a Doberman will be better as a guard dog as opposed to being around young kids. A Labrador retriever will be more patient and friendly with children or for hunting purposes but will not be as well suited as a guard dog. Investigate – do some research on the Internet. Read about the dog breeds that interest you.
As you can see, adopting a dog does not just involve holding a cute puppy into your arms. It involves a lot more than that! Every person is unique, as is every family environment into which you want to welcome a canine companion. My husband adopted a Labrador retriever for his mother years ago. She has Alzheimer’s disease and that dog was the best gift she ever received. He offered her companionship, watched over her, protected her and never became impatient with her despite her becoming angry at him at times when confused by voices challenging the nature of his presence as she also suffered from dementia.
In fact, the dog was so close that I believe that her death broke his heart. He had such a good nature that we insisted on adopting another dog of this breed after his death. Our dog’s purpose is to be a good companion and protector for both our children, who are living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This dog is our children’s best friend! As you can see, the original question – “How to choose the right dog?” – may be on your mind but only you can answer it properly. The choice is yours but the right choice needs a few things to be taken into consideration prior to your final selection.