So you’re ready to bring a new dog into your home and you realize the responsibility associated with a 10 to 15 year relationship with a new furry friend. And even your family is ready! Now, what comes next? A trip to the shelter? A call to a breeder? Whoa….hold on…not so fast. There are many things to consider before adding a new canine kid to your household.
First, give some thought to your entire family and your family’s lifestyle. It’s important to choose a dog who suits your personality and lifestyle requirements. It pays to do the upfront work to ensure you make the right choice. This doesn’t automatically guarantee that the dog you choose will be “the perfect dog,” but proper research will help you learn what type of dog may be most compatible for you and will go a long way toward making sure that you have a lasting, long-term relationship with your dog.
There are a myriad of things you need to consider, but here a few key questions:
How active is your family and where do you live…. apartment or home with large yard? If you have a very active lifestyle, then a high energy dog such as an Australian Shepherd could be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you like holding down the couch with a dog at your feet, then you need to look for a more sedate breed.
Do you have children? Most dogs merely tolerate children, unless they’ve been raised with children from puppyhood. Do the appropriate research to discover which dog breeds are best with kids, then make sure your new furry friend has lots of good experiences with little people.
Are you prepared to invest in training? Dogs aren’t moral creatures and aren’t born with good manners, so the investment in a solid positive training program will help you give your dog the foundation training he needs to exist in your world.
Can you tolerate lots of shedding? Almost all dogs shed to some degree, but some breeds are virtual shedding machines, so know what you can and can’t tolerate and choose wisely.
Is affordability an issue for you? Be prepared to spend anywhere from $700 to $2,000 a year on healthcare, training, grooming, boarding and feeding.
Do you have a large enough yard with appropriate fencing to keep your dog out of harm’s way? Dogs will always do what works for them and if you’re away at work all day, there’s nothing to keep your dog from roaming unless he’s safely in your home or a proper fence.