Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to Find the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

By Linda Cole

Finding the right dog isn't always easy. There are nearly 500 dog breeds recognized by kennel clubs throughout the world. With so many choices, purebred and mixed, how do you find the right dog for your lifestyle? Basically, it's a combination of common sense, doing your homework on breeds, and understanding that some dogs can be harder to handle.

Purebred or Mixed?

You want to feel comfortable around your dog. The first thing to consider is why you want a dog. Secondly, do you want a purebred or a mixed breed? If cost is a consideration, visit your local shelter or rescue groups for purebreds and mixed breeds, or contact breed specific rescues for purebred dogs. Buying from a responsible breeder is more expensive, but you will learn about your pup's history and health, see his parents, and have someone happy to answer all of your questions. They will have questions for you, as well.

Energy Level

Do you want a dog that watches you toss a ball and then gives you a look that says, “You're the one who threw it over there. I'm not going to get it,” one who is eager and ready for a five mile run, or something in between? Regardless of size or breed, all dogs need some daily exercise and some need more than others. How much exercise are you willing to give your dog each day? A bored dog can be destructive if he isn't given an outlet to get rid of pent up energy. A daily walk adds stimulation to your dog's mind. We would get bored doing the same thing every day, and so do dogs that never get outside their enclosed area.

Living Space

Size can matter when it comes to space inside and outside your home, and so does the location of your home. Do you live in an apartment, small house, large house, the suburbs, a small town, downtown, or in a rural area? Is there a spacious backyard or one just large enough to justify owning a lawnmower? Is there a fenced-in secure area? How close are your neighbors?

Size of the Dog 

If you have an apartment that reminds you of a closest, a Great Dane might not be your best choice, although as long as you provide him with plenty of exercise on a daily basis, it might work out if you don't mind having furniture rearranged when you get home. Your biggest consideration when it comes to size is can you control the dog and will he be comfortable in the space you're asking him to live in? Getting the right sized dog to fit your comfort level makes it easier for you to control him and keep him safe if you have a family that likes to rough-house. Size also matters when it comes to mealtime. A premium quality dog food like CANIDAE Life Stages is less expensive in the long run than lower quality brands because it doesn't take as much food to fill him up.

Coat Type

Some breeds require more time spent on grooming than others. A dog's coat can be wiry, long, short and with an undercoat, or single coat. Some coats need to be trimmed and some don't, and some breeds shed more than others.

Time for Training

All dogs should be taught basic commands, which gives you better control and helps you keep him safe. They all need to be socialized with other pets, people of all ages, and in different environments. It's not difficult to train a dog if you work with him on a daily basis until he learns what you are teaching and then reinforce it so he remembers. You might be surprised how quickly most dogs learn commands when you're consistent, dedicated, patient and respectful. Five or ten minutes a day is all you need. It's important to be able to handle your pet. Not all dogs are easy to control, and certain breeds should not be owned by someone who doesn't understand how powerful and strong willed they are.

Other People in the Home 

Do you have young children or an elderly person living with you? No matter what kind of dog you decide on, young kids and dogs should never be left together unsupervised. Some dogs may not get along with older people who don't always interact well with them. It's important to make sure everyone in the home is comfortable with the size, breed, temperament and energy level of a dog before you bring him home.

Choose a dog wisely, for the right reason, and for your specific lifestyle. It's worth the time and effort when your perfect pet snuggles next to you on the couch, happy you picked him.

Top photo by Sadie Hart
Bottom photo by Jon Hurd

Read more articles by Linda Cole

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...