choosing your best friend is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
how you make this decision will have a great impact on your life, and an even bigger effect on the dog’s.
it will determine the success your friend will have in your home and – like choosing your life’s partner – it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
it takes careful thought and consideration.
whether dreaming of a pure breed puppy or rescuing a dog from a shelter, there are many factors to consider.
it is not enough to have an attraction to a specific breed based on their looks or perceived personality. they must have the qualities that fit into your lifestyle.
too often, I have seen energetic border collies adopted by sedentary families, who are shocked to find that the dog has endless energy. dismayed that they can’t keep up, they are forced to rehome the poor pup.
or the young family who purchased a puppy, thinking it would be great for the kids to grow up with a pup, but are stunned by the constant supervision the pup requires.
poor mom suddenly realizing she has a another baby on her hands. sleepless nights, included.
with a little education and thought, these mistakes can be prevented, so before you adopt the newest member of your family, consider the following:
- lifestyle. what is your energy level? how much time do you have to give to exercise, grooming, training, etc? what are your family’s limitations (be honest with yourself).
- research breeds. though all dogs are individuals, there are some characteristics that are consistent within the breed. For instance, beagles love to sniff (I have yet to meet one that doesn’t), so if you dream of brisk walks with few stops, you may want to consider a different breed.
- age of the dog. puppies are tons of fun, but lots of work. think about whether you have the time to devote to training and socializing a pup. for the first few months, it’s a full time job. if you adopt a puppy, you really are getting a baby.
one that nips, chews, has accidents and doesn’t sleep through the night. if time is scarce or you are inexperienced with raising a pup, a mature dog may be a better choice.
- budget. buying or adopting a dog is a financial commitment, in addition to an emotional one. you’ll need to have funds for medical bills, food, grooming, toys, beds and much, much more. emergencies happen and we need to be prepared.
- research breeders/rescue groups. make sure they are reputable and have high standards for the families that adopt/purchase their dogs. if they care where their dogs go to live, that most likely means the dogs have been in good hands while in their care (never buy from a pet store).
when those fireworks go off and you are in love, there’s nothing like it. the warm, fuzzy feeling that you have when you’ve found the dog of your dreams is truly one of the greatest joys of life.
like all love affairs, there comes a time when we must come down to earth, and start the work of being in love. your smart choices will guide you through this time, so you and your pup will have a love that lasts forever!