Finding Your Match

Finding Your Match - Victoria Stilwell's Positively

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Finding the right dog is not as simple as falling in love with the cute face in the adoption photo. As responsible pet guardians, it is our job to ensure the new addition fits our lifestyle so we are able to attend to the dog’s needs. What are some factors to consider when finding your match?

Size. An important trait to take into consideration is the dog’s full grown size. It’s fairly easy to guess a purebred’s adult size, but mixed breed’s can be a bit trickier. Typically, the rescue/shelter workers and your veterinarian will be able to give you a good estimate based on presumed breeds and size at the current age.

Age. Consider your current schedule and what needs you will be able to fulfil. If you work a full-time job, puppy potty training could be problematic. The adolescence period can also be a challenging time, which is why we find so many teenage dogs needing homes. Think through your current schedule and how much time and effort you will be able to dedicate to this new family member.

Activity level. Are you an avid runner? A hiker? Maybe you enjoy walks through your neighborhood. Understanding the breed (or mix of breeds) energy requirements can help to ensure your dog will enjoy your favorite activities as well.

Grooming requirements. Tumbleweeds and fur-covered clothes are guaranteed with a double-coated breed. Consider how often you will be able to groom your potential dog or how frequently you are willing to pay a groomer. Are you okay brushing your dog a few times a week or would you prefer a dog with a coat that gets trimmed every few weeks? Keeping up with your dog’s grooming is essential so it’s important to consider what you are willing to do.

Trainability. Do you want to compete in obedience trials with your dog or are you really interested in trick training? If so, an independent breed might not be your best option. Perhaps you are more interested in therapy work. Understanding a breed’s strengths can help you find the right fit.

When adding a new, furry family member, make sure you take some time to understand the breed characteristics. While there are always breed variations, talk to the rescue, shelter, or foster family to learn about the dog’s individual personality traits. Remember that your new dog will go through a transition period as he settles in, but seeing him come out of his shell will be an amazingly, rewarding experience.

What are some things you look for when finding your match?


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Positively Expert: Kelsie McKenzie

Kelsie McKenzie is a dog blogger and marketing grad student with a mild Great Pyrenees obsession. She enjoys learning about canine health and behavior and social media marketing.


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  • flowerfairy

    Excellent advice. I just fell in love with a cute photo (having just said good advice) but ... I knew a lot about the breed (collie) and had done research. God she is soooo cute though!

  • Tami Muscat

    I have 4 dogs. 3 different breeds just jumped head first into them. My friends had one of the breeds (7 Total) and they were smart, brave, small-what's not to love? The other was a breeding female that was 8 years old a needed a forever home. I was very lucky, When it came to adding a giant dog into the mix ,I did my research thought I had chosen well and the breeder said No you want this breed-trust me. I have 4 happy dogs running in age from 15 years to 1. I'm a lucky lady. Victoria, I love you and was lucky enough to find a trainer that uses your methods. My BRT passed her CGC test first try and is in training to be my service dog. If you ever came to Sacramento CA I would pay to go to your seminar.

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