Oh, the things to consider when choosing a dog! I remember, way back when, bringing home a dog from the shelter which I picked out simply because I thought she was “so cute”. Luckily things worked out extremely well as she was as sweet as she was cute! However, now knowing better, I realize that there are many more things to consider.
Human to Dog personality match-up
Dogs are like people with each having a unique personality all of their own. There are also certain traits found within breeds. When deciding on a dog you should make sure that the one you choose possesses all of the traits that you desire.
Imagine, if you are a couch potato, bringing home a new dog that requires tons of exercise! A dog that requires a lot of exercise but that does not get it, will develop bad behaviors. There would need to be a release of energy somewhere in there, and it could turn him into a dog that destroys things by chewing, or garbage picking, or worse.
The good news is that there’s a human-to-dog match for everyone (even the couch potato)!
Things To Consider Before Getting A Dog
Below are things to consider, that are sure to guide you in making the best choice for both you, and your dog-to-be!:
- Do you rent or own a home? (Some rentals require animal weight limits, or say “no” to dogs. Also, consider the noise factor, if you share a wall with your neighbor, dogs bark!)
- What is the size of your space? (A 120 lb dog may not fit nicely into a shoebox.)
- Do you work long hours, or are you away from your home for long periods of time? (Some dogs do NOT do well with being left alone for long periods of time, where others will take it in stride, so long as they can be let out within a reasonble stretch of time. You can also consider dog walkers, or pet sitters to help.)
- Do you want a dog to cuddle, or a dog with a more independent personality? (I am currently fostering a dog that follows me everywhere and requires lots of attention. This would not be the dog for everyone.)
- Are you willing to take on a dog with behavioral issues? (Find out what they are, and consider whether or not you have the capability to help a dog in need. But only take on the challenge if you are willing to give it your all. Dogs are returned to shelters all the time when people cannot deal with the issues, so be sure! It only hurts the dog to be moved from place to place.)
- Do you want a puppy, or an adult dog? (Puppies are cute, but require a ton of work! Remember, you’ll have to house train, deal with chewing and puppy biting, and possible late-night wake ups!)
- What is your age? (Not to be bleak, but you don’t want to outlive your pet. Senior pets are great as they are beyond those active, hyper puppy years, and are usually already trained and housebroken.)
- Are you intent on a particular breed? (Be sure to research the breed to see if the general traits match up to what you are looking for. The temperament may be different than you expected.)
- How much time are you willing to give up? (ALL dogs will require a significant amount of your time, but some more than others, with puppies requiring the most. But, other than that, consider if it is a dog that will require a lot of training, has a needy vs aloof personality, or has behavioral challenges. All of these things would require larger amounts of your time.)
- Do you have kids? (Some dogs are great with kids! Some are not. Be sure to check.)
- Are you ready to spend the extra money? (Dogs require food, veterinarian care, etc., and it all adds up. In addition, be prepared for a potential “surprise” cost such as a medical condition needing treatment.)
- Are you getting a pet because your child said they would care for it? (I will stifle my laugh here, but usually the child starts out strong, then tires out after awhile. So, be prepared to deal with that! I already fell for that one with a hamster.)
- Are you ok with the restrictions on your free time? (If you plan a long day away from home, or a vacation, you’ll need to make arrangements for the care of your dog.)
This list should get you well on your way to thought-provoking things to consider! It’s a bit of a long list, but well worth the thought versus making an impulsive purchase. After all, it’s a purchase that will result in a new family member for a life-time! 🙂