How to Pick the Right Dog for You!
by Jessica Turquette
So it’s time to make an addition to your family, you’re ready to bring a new best friend home to share your life and love with, but a little consideration will go a long way before you make a decision. It’s very tempting to take one of those puppies from the people giving/selling them at the supermarket, but choose wisely for there is a dog to match every personality and one to conflict as well.
There are a few main points to consider before you make your choice, and it all starts with you…
1. How much time do you have to give to a dog? If you have lots of it, puppies are a good choice. If you have less time to give consider an adult dog for adoption rather than a puppy, as puppies need the most time investment to become good dogs. Regardless of age, dogs are a big commitment so consider that they need daily walks, and lots of love and attention to be a happy, well-adjusted member of the family.
2. How active is your family? Consider a dog that is compatible with your energy level. If you are a marathon runner, there are many active breeds that will be able to train with you like Retrievers, Jack Russells and Pointers. If you’re more of a couch potato, maybe consider a Mastiff. The dog you bring into your home will thrive if they meet your energy level.
3. How much dog can you afford to maintain? This question is often never considered, but it’s very important. If you have two 100 lb. Labs, or two 5 lb. Chihuahua’s your cost of ownership will be very different. Cheap dog foods can often result in more ear infections, skin irritations, and lots of extra filler in the foods, so your dog needs to eat more to get the same nutrition of a higher quality food, you have to pick up lots more poop and visit the vet more often. Higher quality foods can cost more per bag, but you dog will eat less and have less health problems in the long run saving you money and less time on poop patrol. Dogs with a coat that require regular grooming need to visit the groomer every 4-8 weeks and often that cost is overlooked in maintaining a happy, healthy dog.
Finding resources about dog breeds is easier than ever; we recommend checking breed specific books, websites like www.akc.org, and meeting the breed in person. These resources can give you a good idea of what you will be getting with a specific breed, but in truth they won’t tell the whole story. Every dog is an individual and can exhibit all or none of the traits known to a breed. There’s also the idea of mixed breeds or mutts, often they can exhibit certain traits from each breed they are mixed with, but more likely these traits will be subdued and quite often Mutt’s can be healthier and more well adjusted that a pure bred dog making them an excellent choice!
Using knowledgeable and ethical breeders is essential to getting a good dog, but there are easier and less expensive ways to get the dog of your dreams. More often than not there is a rescue agency for each pure bred dog out there. You can learn a lot from these agencies about the breed, as they see many of these dogs at their worst and help them become their best. They often have great advice, and get to know their dogs very well so they can find just the right forever home for them. We also recommend using your local animal shelter or Humane Society as a good place to learn about and find your perfect dog. When a dog comes into these agencies they are often assessed by behavioral specialist and they can tell you many of the things you will need to know about your dog. They can also ensure you find a good match. Avoid pet stores with cute furry animals in the window, as many of these shops use animal mills, although not all of them do, and will likely advertise it if they use ethical breeders.
The most important part of picking a dog is to resist the impulse of puppies (although carefully mulled over can be an awesome choice too!), take the time to ensure there is room in your life for a dog and making sure your energy levels match. Once you’ve considered these options you’re ready to bring into your life the joy that only the unconditional love of a dog can bring!
Have more questions, please stop by the Moab BARKery and ask away. We are always happy to share what we know about dogs with you.