Choosing the right dog for your house is a time consuming and tedious task, which by no means should be done in a jiffy. You first need to think very hard whether you really have the time to look after a dog and whether your own living space is going to make it comfortable for the next ten to twelve years at least.
This is more important since a dog’s average lifespan is about twelve years during which you are duty bound to care for it. Unfortunately, when choosing a dog, most people allow their hearts to rule their heads and end up making the wrong choice. Here’s how to end up choosing the right dog.
Think before you leap
The dog hunt should ideally begin with the whole family getting together to take a final call on whether it really wants a dog. It should also discuss in the minutest possible details whether all family members or at least a few of them will be able to spare the time to exercise the dog, take care of its daily grooming, and toilet activities and arrange for its meals on a timely basis.
Your children should not eat until the dog is fed, for example. This is a teachable moment. Your children can learn about responsibility which is needed to raise an animal.
The latter is most important as dogs maintain very tight time schedules for their meals and the unavailability of their diet at the desired hour makes them extremely restless and cantankerous.
Moreover, you also need to judge objectively whether you have the required space in the house to spare some for the dog without cramping it. It’s only when you come to the firm decision that everybody in the family is willing to jointly take care of the dog when you should purchase one or pick one up from the shelter. Otherwise don’t.
Once you get a dog, be prepared for increased expenses by way of vet’s bills, annual vaccination charges, dog food, and medicine for regular de-worming. Can you actually afford them? Moreover, you also need to add costs for boarding kennel charges should you have to keep the dog with a professional care giver when you go on vacation.
An additional charge could be for hiring the services of a trainer to train your dog, especially if it’s a big breed like a Bull Mastiff, Alsatian, or Doberman which need proper training to be sociable, particularly with strangers. This is most critical, particularly with the aggressive breeds and you will be held responsible for your dog’s behavior in the long run.
Safety and security
What matters most is a dog’s security and safety, particularly in its formative years. An insecure dog is bound to be ill behaved, snappy, and perpetually irritable. The question that you need to ask yourself, therefore, before getting the dog is: is my home safe enough to shelter my pet?
Do I have the resources to guarantee the effort, money, and time required to ensure my dog’s happiness and good health? If the answer to any of the questions is a no, then think twice about getting that dog. It just won’t work in the long run.
Choosing the right dog
The final choice depends on the type that best suits you. For instance, a terrier’s temperament will be different from a guarding, herding, or retrieving breed. There’s fortunately an abundance of books and periodicals that give a lot of relevant information regarding breed differences that will help you conduct a thorough research before you make a commitment.
Go through them carefully and also contact breed societies that dedicate themselves to certain breeds for the right information. Surfing informative websites that give out useful doggy information is also another practical way of knowing about dogs before making a final selection. Be careful about Facebook though, that site is known to put out fake news.
In case you decide to flip the switch for a crossbreed, you have to consider that judging its predominant behavioral trait may be difficult. This calls for getting as much prior information about the dog as is possible before bringing it home. However, numerous crossbreeds are carriers of the best characteristic traits of both their parents and make excellent companions.
Infants and children
This is yet another major issue when choosing the right dog. If you have infants and/or children in the house, it doesn’t make sense to bring in the guard or herding breeds as these tend to be more aggressive. A carefree poke or pat from a child may invite a most unwanted bite or scratch which may lead to fatal consequences also.
Even though certain larger breeds like Great Danes, Labradors, German Boxers, and Golden Retrievers are known to be excellent companions for children, ideally a toy breed like a Pug, Bulldog, or Yorkshire Terrier is more safe with kids in the house as they develop a natural affinity with them. Unlike Melvin Udall in As Good as it Gets who did not get along with anyone!
The adult dog
If you think of taking in a grown dog, check first whether it’s house trained and if it has any juvenile habits like chewing shoes and cushions. However, adult dogs usually reflect traits from their previous upbringing and there may be problems that need to be overcome.
Thus, before bringing it home, talk to its previous owners or the staff of the charity center which is giving it away about its tastes, preferences, and personality traits. Make careful notes of any abnormalities, be it physical or mental which would need treatment while also carefully considering whether it would be the right fit for your home.
This is most critical as certain dogs, which have unfortunately had a rough past are so mentally scarred that it’s almost impossible to get them to behave normally. Remember, it’s the dog’s previous history and temperament and NOT its appearance that you should judge first.
The vet’s opinion
It’s always advisable to take a vet along with you when you go dog hunting but this is not practical and not necessary. The vet is trained to look for physical anomalies to judge the general health of a pup that you intend buying and this is why you take the dog you to buy to the vet early on so any deficiencies or issues with the dog can be dealt with quickly. Umbilical hernia, eye problems, and rickets are common in puppies, which most professional dog breeders tend not to mention.
Also while inspecting the litter, choose from those pups that are curious and active rather than the ones who seem to be woozy and exceptionally quiet. Or take the latter so you can take them to the vet, cure the dog hopefully, and then you have helped out a sick animal on top of gaining a valuable pet.
Having considered the above mentioned factors, go ahead and bring your dog home. You will not only have a lifelong and loyal companion, but a fabulous addition to the family as well. Enjoy!