Your Guide To Choosing A Dog
The topic of choosing a dog or choosing a dog breed really touches my heart, because I’m a firm believer that all dogs, no matter what the breed, are products of their environment.
There are no bad dogs — but there are dogs who react badly due to the life they are forced to live or the position they are put in at any given moment.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a dog happy. When you provide a safe and happy environment with children that respect the family dog, it’s a winning situation for everyone.
Getting A Dog For All The Wrong Reasons
As a long time dog owner and rescuer; there is nothing more upsetting than someone getting a dog for the wrong reasons including; a gift, because someone else has one, because you want to tie him in the back yard for protection, because someone told you to, status or fashion statement, etc.
All too often you hear on the news about a dog biting someone, but how often do you hear the entire story, I never do! What kind of conditions did the dog live in? What were the owners like? Sadly many dogs of specific breeds end up in the wrong hands for all the wrong reasons — and ultimately the dog is condemned for reacting to what he was taught or the conditions in which he lived.
Did the owners teach their children to respect animals of kind. Did they teach their kids that the family dog is not a toy and to be respected? Children must be taught at a very early age that it’s not acceptable to pull on a dog’s fur or poke and jump on them.
I’ve heard people say “if that dog ever bites my kid”, well I can understand protecting your child — however, the problem is that these responses usually come from people who have had little experience with dogs or simply don’t care enough about the dog and how he feels. Children need to be taught to respect the family pet at all times.
I even know of a family who would go to the shelter rescue a dog and after a year or two, take the dog to the vet and have him put to sleep because they wanted something new, like it was car!
Those who understand canines know that dogs want nothing more than to make their owner(s) happy. So, after reading the above and if you truly feel that you identify with being a responsible dog owner, check out the ten tips below:
10 Tips For Choosing A Dog or Choosing A Dog Breed
- Determine why you really want a dog. It should be for companionship and because you want to help give back to an animal in need and you’re willing to commit to it’s needs. AVOID GETTING A DOG SIMPLY BECAUSE YOUR CHILDREN ASK YOU TO!
- The size of your living quarters should help you to determine what size of dog to get? If you don’t have the room then, getting a Great Dane should you live in a one bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor, might not be a good idea!
- Do you have any physical restrictions yourself? Look at your own physical size and condition to help determine what size and breed might be best for you. Obviously if you’re 5′ and 100 lbs., a bull mastiff might be a bit much for you to handle when walking. Look to the small or medium breeds such as Border Collies or a smaller mixed breed, etc.
- Although all dogs shed a little, if shedding is a big issue for you, then breeds such as labs probably aren’t going to work for you. Look to breeds such as terriers, poodles, schnauzers, certain spaniels and water dogs like Portuguese Water Dogs or mixes of these breeds.
- How is your dog going to go outside to do his business? Do you have a fenced yard and how big is it? If you only have a small space to work with, then the size of the dog will matter. Large breeds need more room. Choose your dog based upon what you have to work with at home. You want him to be able to have enough room to walk around and comfortably do his business.
- How are you going to exercise your dog? Walk on a leash daily, take to the dog parks, etc.? Dogs need physical exercise and stimulation — again, choose your dog based upon what you think you can comfortably handle while fulfilling Fido’s physical needs.
- While I love all dogs, many consider some of the smaller breeds to be “yappers” and this can annoy some folks.
- The quality of dog food that you feed is critical to your dog’s health as he ages. DON’T waste your money on cheap food. Determine how much you can afford to spend on your dog’s food, then look at the size of the dog so you know how much it will cost to feed him.
- While some breeds are totally laid back like Labs, others are not. Example; my Yellow Lab could sleep through a tornado, yet my Doberman is very quick, jumpy and alert. This doesn’t always have to do with breed though. FOOD and NUTRITION and certain health issues play a huge part when dog’s are hyper, nervous, etc. This tip for choosing a dog breed is just to give you a little insight as to how dogs and breeds are different that way.
- Don’t get hung up on choosing a dog because of breed or intelligence. Just be completely ready to make the commitment to provide him or her a good life and a forever home. Use common sense.