Choosing your next furry companion can be daunting, but we’ve put this article together to help!
So, you’re ready to welcome a furry, four legged friend into your life. Congratulations! Dogs make wonderful companions-- there is definitely truth behind the saying that they are “man’s best friend.” But before you embark on this journey, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and look beyond you desire for a dog, and instead consider if a dog is a good choice for your lifestyle, family, and living arrangements.
Everyone would like to avoid finding out a dog is in fact not a fit, requiring you to return the dog to the breeder or the shelter. In order to avoid that unpleasant situation altogether, we’ve put together this article so you’ll know if getting a companion dog is a good choice for you. Keep reading to find out the answers to:
Are you ready for a dog?
Getting a puppy vs. an adult dog
What breed and temperament are right for you?
Dogs are a lot of work, but if you’re up for it, they make amazing companions and pets.
Is a Dog the Right Decision for You?
A child that never grows up
Many current dog owners casually make the statement to potential dog owners that if you’re interested in a dog, you must be ready to care for a child that will never grow up. Dogs are dependent upon their human parents for everything-- food, water, exercise, medical care, play, and companionship. While dogs offer lots of opportunities for fun, they’re also a lot of work.
Before deciding which breed would be right for you, first take a step back and look at your lifestyle and living arrangement-- that’s always a good determining factor on whether or not you’re ready to invest in a dog. Do you travel a lot for work or pleasure, keeping you away from home a good deal of the time? If so, a dog might not be the right choice for you. Dogs need constant care, and do well with a human companion who is around for them. What kind of home do you have, a house, apartment, condo? This will also be a deciding factor in the type of dog you should consider. Some rented places do not allow dogs over a certain size, so that should also be taken into account.
If you have children, this is also another important factor to think about. Some breeds are better than others with small children. While that is only a generalization-- there are exceptions to every breed-- it’s a good jumping off point when deciding which kind of companion dog is right for your situation.
It’s important to make the decision whether you have the time to invest in training a puppy correctly, or would do better with an adult dog.
Puppy vs. Adult
What type of workload are you ready for?
While all dogs need care, some need more than others. If you’re interested in getting a young puppy, this would measure high on the workload scale. While they are completely adorable, puppies need a huge amount of care and attention. Puppies will need to be housebroken and trained, so If you do not have the time or energy to do either of those things, don’t get a puppy. Some people are instant on puppies because, yes they’re cute, but they feel that’s the only way to get a great companion dog-- which is completely wrong! There are many adult dogs-- who are already trained-- who would love to give you their unconditional love everyday.
Adult dogs require much less work-- unless they had previously not been trained. Often overlooked in the adult dog category are senior dogs, who are very low key and looking to spend their golden years in a comfortable, loving home. It can be hard taking on a senior dog-- since they might not have too much time left, or require special medical care-- but their owners are rewarded with the absolute love and affection their senior dogs give them.
Keep in mind what type of dog is best for your family, living situation, and bank account!
What type is right for you?
Purebred vs. Crossbred vs. Mutt
So now that you’ve considered if your lifestyle is right for a dog, and you know whether or not you’d do well with a puppy or an adult-- it’s time to check out the types of dogs best suited for you. An important question to ask yourself while looking is whether or not you prefer to have a purebred dog, a crossbred dog, or a mutt. There are unique attributes to having each of these possibilities as your next companion dog. Purebred dogs are the most expensive, as they come with papers that document their lineage-- proving the purity of the breed. They are also susceptible to many medical ailments, however, due to the overbreeding of most dog breeds.
A crossbred dog is a dog that is the result of breeding two different purebred dogs-- such as a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle, creating a Labradoodle. These types of dogs have become quite popular lately, as the benefits of two breeds of dogs are found in just one dog.
But don’t forget about taking a trip down to your local shelter, where lots of dogs are waiting for their forever homes! Mutts are a great option for those looking for dogs that don’t have the medical issues that a purebred dog might have. Because they are a mix of different breeds, they are less susceptible to the medical ailments that could affect crossbred or purebred dogs. They are also more even in temperament that purebred dogs as well.
Temperament is Key
When considering dog breeds, decide which type of temperament would best suit your lifestyle. There are dogs who are very active, and need to be exercised and walked frequently, such as a Boston Terrier, Australian Shepherd or a Dalmatian. If a low key dog is more your style, consider getting a Basset Hound, Beagle, or Bulldog. There are also many smaller dogs that were specifically bred to serve as small companions, such as Pugs, Chihuahuas, and Pekingnese. Depending on where you live and how much time you have to devote to the exercise of your dog will determine which type of temperament is best for your situation.
Some dog breeds and mutts are more even tempered as well, which might be a better choice if you have young children. Labradors and Golden Retrievers are great options for those with young ones in the house. But if you’re looking for an exercise partner, consider one of the shepherd dogs or a younger mutt who is just full of energy. There are always exceptions to the rules, so make sure you take the time to get to know you dog and see if their temperament is match for you and your family.
Having a dog can be such a wonderful experience-- their unconditional love and loyalty are just some of the reasons why they are the most popular domesticated pet. Making sure you’re ready for a dog-- and choosing one wisely-- is also an important factor, and will ensure you a lifetime of happiness with your dog.