Things To Consider When Choosing A Dog
So, you want to add a new furry friend to your family…congratulations! Have you decided what type of dog you are going to get? Do you want a specific breed, a rescue dog, how about a pound pup? There are several things to consider when deciding what dog is best for you and your family. After all, you want a dog that will fit YOUR life style or you could have a problem on your paws…oops, I mean hands.
Things to Consider
Schedule: First and foremost, what is your schedule like? Are you at work most of the day? Will your dog be home alone for hours on end? Many dogs don't mind being alone, while others will completely lose their minds. Vizslas for example, hate to be left alone. If left alone for too long, they will "act out" and you just might come home to a chewed up couch pillow (or worse). While some dogs act out by chewing, others bark…a lot. If you are considering a puppy, then obviously, you must be able to get home several times per day in order to let him or her outside. If you can't make it home, you will have to make arrangements for a friend or family member to help out. It is very important that you do a complete assessment of your schedule and figure out how much time you actually have to devote to a dog. If you find that you are strapped for time, it may be best to delay getting a dog. After all, all dogs (even those that don't mind being alone) require attention, love and most of all, your time.
Unfortunately, not many things in this world are free…dogs included! Caring for even the smallest of dogs WILL COST YOU hundreds of dollars per year in food and medical care. Obviously, the bigger the dog, the more money he or she will cost to feed! Other costs include unexpected medical care, grooming, and kennel fees (if you plan to travel). If you are having financial problems, it is best to "put off" getting a dog until you are in a better financial position. It is no secret that when economic times get tough, pets suffer. If you do add a dog to your family, consider getting veterinary pet insurance. Though you will have to pay a monthly premium, it can save you a lot of money in the long run (depending on the policy that you purchase!).
If you are a couch potato, it would be a very bad idea to get a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd! Both of these breeds are "working dogs" and require a LOT of exercise! Consider your personal activity level BEFORE you choose the type of dog that you would like to own. If you love to exercise and don't mind long, daily walks and trips to the dog park then by all means, get a Border Collie! If you don't even know what a treadmill is and the only place you walk to on a daily basis is to your refrigerator, then consider a Chihuahua or Basset Hound! Fair warning…ALL dogs require exercise! Though some may require less than others, it would be downright wrong to NEVER walk your dog…no matter what type of breed he happens to be!
Coat type is a very important factor to consider when choosing a dog. If you have allergies, your options will be limited as there are only a few "hypo-allergenic" dog breeds in the world. If you don't mind shedding and the cost of grooming, then you are in luck! There are MANY long-haired dogs with demanding grooming needs (think Old English Sheepdog or the Afghan Hound). Dogs with short coats, such as the Beagle and the adorable Labrador Retriever don't require as much coat care as long-haired dogs, however, they still shed! If you are obsessed with cleanliness and hate the thought of vacuuming, you can always get a Xoloitzcuintli…they have NO hair at all! Can you say bald is beautiful!
When it comes to choosing a dog, size DOES matter (sorry, that was bad…but I couldn't resist!). When deciding what type of dog is best for you, you must consider the space that you live in! For example, if you live in an apartment, then for obvious reasons, a Saint Bernard would not be the best choice. If you do happen to live in a small space, you do not have to rule out large dogs all together. As long as you are willing to fulfill your four-legged friends exercise requirements, all should be fine (fair warning: if you don't exercise your large dog, you will have a problem, I promise!).
Whether or not to get a dog should be a family decision! If you have small children, this too should be considered. Certain dogs do not do well with small children. Small dogs such as Chihuahua's can be delicate. Small children are often too rough for very small breeds and should be taught how to properly handle ANY dog that comes into the house (there should be set rules and regulations)! Other dogs, such as Mastiffs and Great Danes may be too big and too rough for small children to handle. You should seriously consider any children living in the household when deciding whether or not to get a dog (and what type). Finally, NEVER and I repeat NEVER surprise someone with a dog (as a gift). Dogs are not presents…they are huge commitments!
Getting a dog is a huge commitment…one that comes with many responsibilities! It is a decision that should be taken seriously so that you get the best dog for your life style. Dogs are absolutely wonderful, loving pets! They are not disposable! So please, if you are considering adding a furry friend to your family, take your time, do your homework and make the best possible decision for not only you…but for your family as well!
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