Have you heard the cliché, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”? It does hold truth: you should not pick your new companion by the perfect picture in your head.
Unless you are a professional full time dog trainer, your dog will probably not act like or look like the perfect dog you’ve seenin the movies or on TV. Eddie, Lassie, Tramp, Rin Tin Tin, Beethoven, Benji, Toto.
Every year thousands of dogs are turned over to animal shelters because families discover they brought home a biter, barker, digger, or jumper. But with a little planning, you can find the right dog to fit your family’s life.Finding your pet takes time; be patient and find out about the dog that you would like. What kind is most suitable for you, your home and your lifestyle? The perfect match will be your companion, friend and a family member for life.
First, step back and honestly assess your household. New pets are a commitment. The type of new pet you get reflects the level of commitment required. Take a close look at your life and consider the changes you will have to make to ensure that your pet is going to get the care and attention needed. Life will change.Dogs come high on the list of time, energy and money.
Secondly, consider your time. If you work during the day, are you able to come home at lunchtime to walk your dog or can you afford a pet walker or daycare center? Anxiety, loneliness and boredom are the starting point for many behavioral issues which can turn into nightmares. Never underestimate the level of commitment when owning a dog.
Third, do your homework and consider temperament. Finding a dog that will be easy to handle and train, particularly if you have children, reduces many unforeseen problems. All puppies are cute, but it is hard to know what their temperamentmay be. Sometimes a more mature or older dog will be perfect as its personality is already established.
Consider how dominant you are. The level of dominance of your new pet should be similar to yours, so that you are fully compatible. Some dogs need a very strong leader in their owner in order to feel secure.
Next, consider size. You may have already set your heart on the size of dog that you want.The size of your dog does have a major impact on your life. A big dog will need more space, both in the house and out of it. A great big dog, hurtling around is no joke! Large dogs need a sizeable car to travel in, a larger sleep area and tougher toys.They eat more, they cost more to treat at the vet and they make more mess after a muddy walk. On the plus side, many large breeds are wonderful with children, are quieter and are able to do many outdoor activities with you comfortably.
Little dogs on the other hand are a bit more user friendly, Small dogs, cute and cuddly, can at the same time be vulnerable to injury from being kicked, trodden on or shut in doors caught by the wind. Little dogs can become yappy dogs as well and, like small children, are sometimes allowed to get away with things that need to be corrected later.
Next blog: Caring for that Perfect Dog
Barbara Talcott is the owner of A Pet Boutique: A Cat & 9 Tails and Zippity Doo, a pet waste cleanup service.