Choosing The Right Dog


Photo by Jayme Dukart |

When looking to add a new four-legged addition to your family, there are many factors to consider. Before making this life-changing decision, you need to familiarize yourself with as much information about what type of dog will be the best fit for your household.

Adopt or Shop?
Whether to buy a dog from a breeder or adopt from your local animal shelter is an emotionally charged topic. For many, the sheer number of perfectly healthy, adoptable dogs on death row in rescue shelters around the world make this decision a no-brainer. Victoria herself has only ever owned rescue dogs, and the argument for finding that perfect match which also saves a life is a strong one.

There is a stigma that adult dogs in shelters are 'there for a reason,' but often times the reason they end up in shelters has nothing to do with a behavior or temperament issue. Shelter dogs make fantastic lifelong pets, and there are many breed-specific rescues and shelters that have purebred dogs available for adoption.

Buying a purebred dog from a reputable breeder can also be rewarding, especially for those with emotional attachments to certain breeds or specific needs. The important thing to be sure of when buying from a breeder is whether or not they breed for health and temperament as opposed to just cash in their pocket.

Puppy or Adult Dog?
Puppies are a lot of work, especially in the first few months. Your whole family should be prepared to participate in training and caring for the new addition. Puppies cannot be left alone for more than a few hours at a time, and must be supervised when freely running around your home to prevent toileting accidents or inappropriate chewing.

If you choose to adopt an older dog, you will be able to leave him alone for longer hours if needed, and may have less training to do in the beginning.

What Breed or Dog Type Is Right for You?
You will also need to decide what breed or breed mix is right for you. Even if you adopt from a shelter and don't care about breed, you still need to know what type of dog is right for your household and lifestyle in terms of energy level, size, level of prey drive and other characteristics.

Do your research on the breed that is best for your family BEFORE visiting a shelter or a breeder. If you jump in too quickly, you are more likely to make an impulsive decision and end up with a dog that is not the right fit.

If your local shelter allows it, fostering a dog for a few weeks can be a great way of ensuring that you're ready for a new dog as well.

Bottom Line
If you do your research in advance, you are going to come home with a dog that is a great fit for your family and will bring many years of joy.

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2 thoughts on “Choosing The Right Dog

  1. Mollymoo42

    I picked my rescue dog (a 2 year old pom) because he was the right size for my apartment and the only dog (of 96 rescued from a puppy mill) that didn't bark. Also, he was afraid of cats. That was 5 years ago. Wow have things changed. He's best buds with my cats and he loves to bark but I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. He's the best dog for me.

  2. Alicia Nicole Salazar

    The more you learn about dog behavior, you realize that behavior problems aren't unique to shelter dogs, but are common in all dogs. A puppy from a breeder will have common puppy problem behaviors like chewing, jumping and nipping that an adult dog at the shelter might not have. Our 6 year old GSP was surrendered for chasing his old owners cat. When he came home with us he was perfectly housetrained, easy to groom, great with kids and a proffesional fetch player. It was obvious right away, at the shelter, that he sat to get attention and had been well trained. He just needed a home free from cats. He has been a perfect fit.

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