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How To: Choose The Perfect Dog
Where Should You Get Your New Canine
The first thing you should ask yourself is where you want to get your new family member. Would you like to adopt one from a local shelter or rescue group. Perhaps, you are going to purchase one from a pet store?
Local shelters and animal rescue groups have many different breeds, both mixed, and purebred. When you adopt you are saving the life of an animal and opening up a spot for another. However, when you adopt, you don't know the dogs history, good or bad. Most shelters will also require you to spay or neuter your dog within a certain time frame.
When you purchase from a reputable breeder, they will usually come with papers, and the dogs history. They usually also have a multitude of testing, and shots done already.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
- How physically active are you? Try to match your dogs exercise needs with that of your own. Dogs with short legs, aren't very good at running, so they will tire quickly. Active, fast dogs, may pull children over, or exhaust the less active.
- How old, if any, are your children? It's not only an important question to ask yourself regarding the dog, but also for your children. Young children can get knocked over by unruly dogs, or bit due to your children's sporadic movements.
- How much time do you have to commit to your dog? Most dogs are active and demand your attention at every possible moment. Some of them need to be enjoying a physical activity with you, while others are content napping beside you. If you are constantly away from home, maybe consider getting a different, more independent animal. If you take Vacations a lot, you will need to designate someone to watch your dog while you are away.
- How much time and money are you willing to commit to grooming? Bathing, brushing, clipping, and dental care all adds up. Every canine requires different grooming needs, short haired coats may not need to be clipped, but they still need routine bathing, often times with special skin care products, because their skin tends to dry out. Long haired coats will need more maintenance, which can get expensive. Some long haired breeds shed less then other long haired breeds. Do your research on the breed you're interested in. How much hair are you willing to put up with?
- How big is your yard? Large breed dogs will need a large yard to run around in, or at least a daily walk or trip to the dog park. Small dogs require less room, and may be perfectly content running around the house.
- What do you expect from your dog? Do you want a dog that will go hunting with you? A dog that will cuddle with you? Do you want a dog that is easily trained, for dog shows? Some dogs do not like the outdoors, while others can't live without it. Some dog breeds are stubborn and hard to train. Some breeds like their own space. This question is very important, because the dog will be part of your family, be realistic on what's best for you, and best for your canine companion. Do not get a dog breed that is not going to mesh in your family.
- Lastly, can you provide what the dog needs? Will you be able to afford to keep your dog happy? Toys, Vet Visits, Grooming Bills, Time, Space, Etc? Will you make your dog a part of your family, forever? Too many dogs end up in the shelter every day, because their owners didn't think about the full responsibility of owning a dog. With that being said, consider spaying and neutering your dog. Even if you take care of your dog really well, not everyone that may take/buy a puppy from you will.
Research, Research, Research!
There's plenty of books, magazines, videos, and websites on dog breeds. Do some research and find the one that's best for you.
The website I like the most for researching dog breeds is the american kennel club.