Choosing a Dog

Dogs can make great companions and with the right care, provide your home with many years of delight. But, with so many different breeds to choose from, figuring out which type is the right dog for you and your lifestyle can be quite an undertaking.

Before making your decision, here’s a few things to ponder over:

  • puppy or adult dog; small, medium or large; pure or cross breed
  • the type of lifestyle you lead – how much spare time you have
  • what sort of accommodation you live in, how much space you have
  • how much time you have for exercising, training and grooming
  • the amount of money you’re prepared to spend on your pet
  • are there any other pets in the household; what age are the children
  • do you buy from a registered breeder or adopt a lost dog

Getting along with your dog is often over- looked. You’re going to be living with them for a long time, so you need to make sure they have the personality that fits with your lifestyle. Do you want a dog that is active or subdued? A dog that is easily trained or strong-willed? A dog that is friendly to every- one they meet or one that loyal to family but aloof toward strangers? A dog that needs a lot of attention from family members, or a dog that is content to be left alone during the day?

If you already have a dog in mind, do some research and learn more about its needs and characteristics. Certain breeds can be prone to hereditary diseases or conditions. Some of these can be screened, such as hip or eye problems. Many breeds have been developed for a specific purpose and this can have a profound impact on the way they behave socially.

Some final points to consider:

  • Meet both parents – temperament is partly inherited so if either is shy or aggressive, then think twice.
  • It is essential for dogs to be well socialised with both humans and other animals.
  • Every dog should receive basic obedience training; know how to sit, stay, drop and come when it is called.
  • Firm ground rules must be laid down for your dog, but children must also learn to follow rules – such as not annoying the dog when it is sleeping or eating.
  • Children need to understand that a dog is not a toy and must be treated appropriately.

All of these things will influence the way you interact with your pet on a day to day basis and ultimately will determine whether you meet each other’s needs, and thus share many a happy times together.