How to Choose Your Family Dog
Is He the One?
Let's face it, even the ugliest puppies are cute in their own way. With so many cute little fluff-balls, which one is the right one for you? A puppy is a puppy...until they're not anymore. Choosing the right size dog for your living arrangements is key not only to the dog's health but your home's health as well. Whether going for a full-bred or those adorable little mixes you had to have in the window of the pet store, asking a few questions can decide if they are the right puppy for you.
How Large do They Get?
Asking this question is vital, especially for those who live in a small home or an apartment. Having a dog the size of a small horse in an apartment (i.e. Great Dane) won't be a very good choice for you nor the dog's sake.
Have They Had Their First Vaccines?
Most breeders, shelters and pet stores will make sure the puppies have their first vaccinations. Having these can almost guarantee you're getting a healthy, happy, cute little bundle of fur.
Ask to Play with the Puppy You're Looking to Purchase.
Temperament in dogs is a direct reflection of how they are raised. For example, a puppy that was never disciplined and taught not jump on someone, will jump on someone every time they come into your home. Ask the seller to allow you some one-on-one time with the puppy, if the puppy cowers away or seems frightened, chances are this may not be the best puppy to get. A puppy who bounds over and immediately starts playing will achieve a higher success rate in creating a bond with their new owner, (you), and may be slightly easier to train as they trust you more.
If you're looking for a full-bred puppy, also ask to see AKC registry papers. These will show that both the mother and father of the pup are full-bred, and will also guarantee you're getting your moneys worth.
Also ask to see the mother and father if they are on-site. Seeing the size and temperament of the parents can give you slight glance into the future as to what your new little pup will grow up to be.
Getting this information can help to ensure you're getting a high quality puppy. Of course if going to a shelter to adopt, sometimes all of this information is unavailable as not much is known of the puppy or dog when it came to the shelter. If this is the case, always ask to be alone with the puppy, take it for a little walk on a leash around their facility. A dog who acts skittish, frightened, bares teethe, growls or puts hackles up may not be the best choice to take home. As much as you may want to help the dog, your safety is more important, especially if you have small children at home as well.
Scared to come home to the picture on the right? A destructive dog can cause quite a bit of stress in your life. That being said, there's no need to spend a fortune on fancy obedience classes. With a bit of patience, (sometimes a lot of patience), and some tasty training treats, even the most stubborn dog can become a star student for their master. Training a new puppy is very important. Start off with simple commands such as:
- Lay Down
- Heel (so you're not being pulled every which way on walks)
Once your furry friend has mastered these commands, start working with more advanced commands. A puppy's mind is able to learn much easier than an adult. An old dog CAN learn new tricks, but it takes A LOT more work to teach them.
For Further Reading on Obedience Training
Great Pups for Apartment Living
Apartment dwellers need love too! Finding the right pup to have in your 1 bedroom, not so spacious apartment can be challenging. Most apartments have breed restrictions, as well as size restrictions for their complexes. Add the fact that you may not live in a complex with much grass and finding the right breed can be downright difficult. Below are a few breeds well-suited for apartments. Keep in mind, no matter the breed, socialization and adequate daily exercise help to keep puppies calmer and happier which makes for happier owners as well.
- Australian Terrier
- Basset Hound
- Boston Terrier
- English Bulldog
- French Bulldog