How To Pick a Dog That's Right for You

Sure, that puppy at the pet store or animal shelter has the big puppy eyes and the cute little tail and is a big ball of energy, but how do you know if it’s the right dog for you?

Your first clue should be whether you’ve been planning to adopt or buy a dog or whether you are looking at this puppy as an impulse decision. Bringing home a new pet is like bringing home a new child; you should be prepared financially and emotionally and make sure that your lifestyle fits with the needs of your new puppy.

Step 1

What are your living arrangements?  Let’s look first at your living arrangements. Whether you live in an apartment or a house makes a difference. Whether or not that house has a fenced yard or any yard at all has a large impact on what type of dog could live in that type of home. If you live in a patio home or condominium complex, there might be restrictions on the size and number of pets you are allowed to have. For example, it’s doubtful that a 175 lb. English Mastiff would be happy in a 3rd floor studio apartment. Don’t forget, that puppy is going to grow up and you will need space large enough to accommodate his size. Consider local zoning restrictions as some jurisdictions have recently enacted laws banning certain breeds of what they consider to be aggressive or violent dogs.

Step 2

What is your lifestyle?  Next, let’s explore your lifestyle. Are you a jogger? Perhaps an energetic dog is best for you. Do you work long hours? Perhaps a more laid-back dog that doesn’t need a lot of exercise is right for you. Your personality has to meet that of the dog. Do you have the patience to train a strong-willed dog or do you need one that is easily trained? For example, Jack Russell Terriers are considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds, but are hyperactive and need a lot of attention. Do you have small children? Some breeds are not compatible with small children because they can’t handle the stress or commotion of children chasing them or pulling on their tails.

Step 3

Can you afford it?  Have you thought about your finances? Your puppy is going to need veterinary care, grooming, food, water, toys, bedding, and other things. Some breeds are more prone to certain medical conditions and need more care. Long-haired dogs require more effort to keep their coats clean and often require professional grooming. On a related note, long-haired dogs normally shed more and more often than shorter haired dogs, so your carpets may need to be cleaned more often, etc.

Step 4

Thought about what gender?  Although some people have strong feelings about the gender of a pet, there is no strong scientific evidence to indicate that there is any significant difference between the temperament of male and female dogs. The only consideration you need to make here is getting your pets spayed or neutered to prevent growing your family with additional little paws.

Once you’ve chosen your new dog, don’t forget that he or she is going to need some things. These items can be found online or in your local pet store or discount store. Your dog is going to need a bed or crate as his very own nesting space. Your new little loved one is going to need food, a good bowl, and a water bowl. Your new pampered pet will be absolutely adorable, of course, so you’ll want treats for your new best friend. What about toys? If you don’t want Fido playing with your shoes, you’ll want to get him a couple of toys. A collar and a leash are must-haves for your new dog. Finally, depending on the type of dog you have adopted, you may need some grooming tools.

In review, consider your finances, your time, the ages of your children, your living arrangements, and local pet laws when you are looking at bringing home a new puppy or adult dog. Good luck and enjoy your addition to your family.

Collin writes for Check out the site for great deals on Dog Kennels and Pet Doors.

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