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

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. While I love all dogs, many consider some of the smaller breeds to be “yappers” and this can annoy some folks.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


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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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