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Choosing the Right Dog

Many of us lead very busy lives. A dog is a real commitment—as well as an abundant source of unconditional love and affection. So, remember that before you consider adopting a dog, make sure you have the time. He will need routine attention (scheduled walks and play time) and obedience training. A dog is a special part of the family, and should not be treated as an outsider.

Assuming you have the time (and patience for obedience training) and are able to spend an additional $400 or so per year on pet care, here are some tips on what to look for when choosing a canine friend:

  • SIZE
    If you want a big dog, that doesn’t mean he will be happy outdoors, or make a good watch dog. Size has little to do with temperament.
  • HAIR
    Let’s face it, fur can be a problem in some households. And, coat length doesn’t necessarily translate into shedding. Some short-haired dogs shed a lot, while others only shed once or twice per year.
  • COMPANION OR GUARD
    Any dog you choose should be chosen because you want to love him and care for him—and the affection will be returned to you tenfold. Most dogs will alert you if a “bad person” comes close to the home. But that, to your dog, often can mean friends and family members as well.

A puppy is like a human baby, requiring lots of attention and training. They will go through teething and house training, so be prepared for “potty” mistakes and having costly items shredded by those sharp puppy teeth.

Remember that an AKC dog only means that he’s registered, and does not mean that you’re getting a “good dog”, physically or temperamentally. Remember, an estimated 25% of shelter dogs look to be purebred, so if you’re interested in a specific breed, check out the shelter! Plus, mixed-breed dogs often give you the best characteristics of their breeds with fewer of their genetic problems.

You will find an abundance of healthy dogs needing good homes at a shelter. Ask the kennel attendant for assistance, as most will know the dog’s temperament. Many will already be housebroken and trained. At shelters, you’ll find many great adult dogs which will adjust to a new home more quickly than a puppy.

Structure your life to include your new pet, attending to his exercise, educational and emotional needs, and you’ll have a wonderful friend for life.