Whether for yourself or your family, our article shares ten tips to choosing a dog wisely. Determining what dog you want and what breed you may desire takes a considerable amount of thought and reflection – and it’s important to avoid taking any shortcuts or deciding based on just one factor alone.

Getting a dog means getting into a new relationship, welcoming a new member into your household and family. It is not a passing fad or an object you can discard when it no longer interests you. Too many people pick up puppies for matters of style or belonging and believe that a dog will bring them happiness, but they do not consider what they should give to their pets in return.

So when you’re choosing a dog, think not only about the pet you’re selecting but what you can bring to the table.

Once you’ve decided that you want a pet for the right reasons and once you know that you can capably look after a dog in terms of financial, emotional, mental, and physical support, it’s time to get down to brass tacks.

Another major point to consider is that your dog deserves his space. Kids being kids can often interfere with this space. It’s important to teach your children the importance of allowing your dog to eat and rest in peace. In fact, place your dog in a room with his fresh water and food at meal time and closing the door allows the dog to feel safe. He can eat slower and enjoy his food. Give him a bed away from noise. A place he can go to for rest away from noise, toys, etc.

Ten Tips to Choosing a Dog

  1. Consider the Why

As mentioned, go over why you want a dog in the first place. If your children are banging down your bedroom door and begging for a new companion, think about it but do not simply give in for the sake of it. You want familial input, but you also need to make sure you’re getting a pet for the right reason.

  1. Consider the Space

Look around your living quarters and ensure that you have enough room. Make sure that you have plenty of space if you’re considering a bigger dog. If you have, say, a loft apartment, you may want to consider acquiring that Great Dane.

  1. Consider Your Self

Along with knowing your space, know your own limitations. If you’re a small person, dragging around that aforementioned Great Dane will take a bit of energy. Do you have the strength and energy required to contend with a larger, more active dog? Again, remember to think about what you can bring to the table.

  1. Consider Your Tastes

Let’s get real here: dogs shed. Not all dogs shed equal amounts and not all dogs will leave your place resembling a proverbial hair farm, but you do want to think about the issue. Labradors shed a fair bit and are probably out of the running if you’re against the hair invasion, while there are certain other breeds like terriers and different spaniels that may do the trick.

  1. Consider Your Yard

This tip relates to your living quarters, of course, but you want to think bigger. Do you have a big backyard for a dog that needs to run around? Or do you have a tiny deck that can barely hold a BBQ and a small stool? If you don’t have enough room for your pet to get proper exercise, make sure you have a way to accomplish it with regularity.

  1. Consider Exercise

Your pet needs exercise. Period. If you plan on walking your dog, do you have the space and time to do so? Or are you going to hire a dog walking service? Consider the potential expense, both financially and to your time, and ensure that you can properly give your pet the time he or she needs to get out there and move.

  1. Consider the Noise

This is a tough one, but some people just do not enjoy dogs that bark. Here’s the thing: all dogs bark. Some dog breeds, like beagles, bark with a level of irritation that has to be considered. The Yorkshire terrier is noted for having a shrill woof, while a greyhound is known for being rather quiet. These are, of course, generalizations.

  1. Consider the Food

Along with exercise, room, a yard, and exercise, your pet will need food. You do not want to skimp on the budget for your pet’s food because it will come back to you, believe me. Make sure you have enough money to pay for quality food for your dog and make sure that you’re buying a dog that won’t eat you out of house and home. Larger dogs obviously require more grub than smaller pups.

  1. Consider Energy

Some pets have a higher level of energy than others. Some, like the aforementioned chatty beagle, are among the more active breeds. Dogs in the herding field, like border collies and shepherds, also have a great wealth of natural energy. Conversely, the Old English sheepdog and King Charles spaniel are among the most docile breeds. Age is also determining factor with regards to energy levels in most dogs.

  1. Consider Your Dog’s Health and Well Being

Last and absolutely NOT least, taking care of your dog and providing for his/her good health is vital to how your dog reacts to life in general. When you feel good, you look and act good. This applies to our pets as well. It’s important that you take into consideration how to best care for your dog and do what’s best and necessarily what you’re told is best (over vaccinating, using chemical flea and tick products, feeding kibble dog food, etc). Your dog will be what you put into him or her, literally. Many vets consider cancer to be an epidemic among dogs now. Discover 10 strategies for cancer prevention in dogs.

Article last updated 7/25/20

Other good reading: Find Your Perfect Dog

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Showing 6 comments
  • Dillons Mom

    Also a p s….with all that great stuff Dillon gets for meals, he gets Grizzly Salmon Oil…..2-3 squirts…great stuff for coats….I try and get it on sale…usually they’ll have a 1/2 price sale…..or coconut oil, which is good also, and the Super Walmarts carry this.

    If people have a hard time giving their dogs pills, what I suggest instead of those “pill pocket” things, wrap the pills in either a piece of liver, or what’s really perfect, chicken hearts….you can tuck pills right up in the little cavity……I realize this may be a little graphic, and I appologize….but for those of us who feed raw………………..


  • Dillons Mom

    Regarding feeding “raw” there are some really great websites and very helpful people on them. You go by the dog’s weight, health, etc.

    It’s a percentage of protein, liver, other. Dillon’s 72 lbs, so I give 8 oz protein (venison when our nice neighbor hunts, chicken, pork, beef – I use heart primarily as it’s very inexpensive, fish, buffalo)

    5 oz organ – I use liver,

    and 3-5 oz other I use giblets plus a small amount of veggies, fruit, and some plain whole mild yogurt (staple in my house). Solid Gold’s Sea Meal (a wonderful supplement) and extra Calcium.

    Dillon’s a busy guy. He’s a registered therapy dog, plus we’re training in the tracking that I mentioned. Obedience – we’re working towards a CD (Companion Dog title) but I want to train him up to Utility possibly before we start trialing.

    He does a bit of Open, teaching him in Rally, agility and he’s done a bit of nose work, which is alot of fun for him, because on bad weather days – we do “find it” with one of my $ store gloves v b g

    And I work full time…..

    Oh yes, Dillon takes thyroid meds too – almost all byb dogs have T problems and controlled by meds.

    Janie, instead of taking up space here, I’ll email you privately about his background.


  • admin

    Hi Dillons Mom:
    Thank you so much for sharing this great info., I appreciate it very much. I’ve never used the hound mitt so I’m really glad that you mentioned it. I’ve just recently tried the “Zoom Groom” on Maggie my lab which seems to work well too. Jenna (my dobe) has a pretty thin coat due to hypothyroidism. Like you said, dobes get very flaky when nervous and they also shed a great deal when nervous.

    I think that any dog that is fairly healthy should be tried on raw. I do want to mention though that older dogs or dogs who are sick with a weakened immune system should not be placed on raw.

    I didn’t realize that Dillon was so active and involved in tracking, etc. I bet he does great, huh?

  • Audrey

    I just have to comment on one thing, the shedding issue. I noticed you have terriers listed as not heavy shedders. Please don’t get a jack russel. They shed twice a year, very heavily I might add, and lightly all year long even though you might get a short haired terrier. My jack can sneeze and shed at the same time…lol! If you can run your hand over their coat, and lightly tug on the fur, and a handful of hair comes out, they shed. I have to comb my jack daily to remove the loose hairs, otherwise she will itch like crazy.

    • admin

      Hi Audrey:
      I had no idea, thanks for sharing this with us. JRT’s must be like Dobermans that way. Many people think because Dobe’s have short hair, that they don’t shed – not true. Although I have to say that I’ve seen a tremendous difference in dobe’s shedding since I changed her diet. She used to shed a lot more than she does now. 😮

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