How to Choose the Right Dog
So you’ve decided to get a dog! Congratulations! However, are you ready? There are over a hundred dog breeds, each with their own personality and care requirements. You should try to match a specific breed with your lifestyle. A large, active, attention-needing dog will not be happy with an owner that works 10 hours a day, and that owner will most certainly be frustrated with such an over-bearing dog.
Things to Consider:
Long-term commitment: Most dogs will live at the very least 10 years. Are you ready to take care of it for a decade or longer?
Financial: Those 10+ years aren't going to be free, either! Remember the expenses of keeping a dog- vet bills, food, toys, flea treatments, boarding for vacations, collars, leashes, and the million other dog accessories you may find yourself needing!
Room: Do you have enough room for a dog? If you live in a tiny apartment in downtown Manhattan, a Great Dane is certainly going to feel confined. Big dogs are going to need a nice yard to run and exercise in!
Time: Your dog will want to spend time with you. If you aren't willing to give them that time, you shouldn't get a dog. Certain breeds will require more time and attention than others, and for various reasons. Some dogs require a lot of grooming. Others will need tons of exercise. Still others are satisfied just being on your lap while you surf the internet. Try to get a dog you can fit into your schedule.
Other Issues: Do you have a good reason for wanting a dog? Though this may sound silly, many people will see a dog on TV or in a movie, and will want one of their own. Thanks to the popularity of the TV show Frasier, Jack Russell Terriers have soared in popularity. However, many families that purchased a Jack Russell found themselves involved with a very demanding breed! Jack Russells are very smart, bull-headed, and active! Research a breed before you buy!
Also, if you are looking for a dog to accompany you on hiking trips, hunting, or other rough activities, you obviously won't be choosing a dog like a tiny Yorkshire Terrier. Make sure the dog you choose is the right dog for your hobbies and interests!
Do Your Homework
Make sure you read-up on the breed you are interested in. However, your research shouldn’t stop there. Once you’ve decided on a breed, make sure you check out the place you purchase your dog. Be wary of pet stores or “puppy mills”- many times these poor dogs are plagued by in-breeding and various health problems. Once you’ve sorted through your priorities, you can make an educated decision- then both you and your new dog can begin a loving, rewarding relationship!