Selecting the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

Even the most logical person can be swept away by the cute puppy syndrome. Puppies need to be selected by their personalities, not their looks. You will be living with this dog for about the next decade, so be very sure the dog will fit in your lifestyle.

Selecting the Right Dog

• Research a variety of breeds so that you know their common characteristics. Even if you are looking for a mixed breed, know what each of the breeds are like.

• Assess how much time and money you have to spend on your new dog. Breeds with large grooming needs will require regular trips to a groomer. Some breeds will need a lot of exercise and a lot of time from you. Some breeds are more assertive, such as terriers or working breeds, which are likely not the best choice for new dog owners or will require more time.

• There are no guarantees that a dog will exactly match how most of the breed acts, but research on breeds will help. For example, you might learn that herding breeds, such as Shetland Sheepdogs and Border Collies, have a strong inclination to herd livestock, are bred to run and work for hours at a time, and will use barking, nipping/biting, chasing or a combination of all of these to control their herd. So, if you live in an apartment or have small children who take up much of your day, a dog that requires abundant exercise, loves to bark and chase small moving objects is not going to fit for your current lifestyle. You might instead want to consider an older dog with a mellower personality that will mesh well with your children and your household.

Family with Dog

• You should also decide on whether you have the right lifestyle for a puppy or an adult dog. House training, basic training, socialization, and “puppy proofing” your home will take much time, effort, and patience on your part. If you have a busy life, then a puppy may not be the best choice for you. There are many advantages to taking home an adult dog, such as the likelihood that the dog is already house trained as well as may have had some training from the previous owner or owners. Also, an adult dog already has a developed personality that you can observe and the adult dog you acquire may not require the same amount of physical work as a puppy.

All dogs need basic medical attention, training, grooming and exercise.

After you decide on the breed, What Next?

If you want a purebred, you can find a good breeder by:
• Asking friends who have worked with a local breeder.
• Visiting, for local breeder info.
• Contacting a breed specific rescue group.
• It is even estimated that 25 – 30% of dogs in animal shelters are purebreds.

Mixed breeds are a great way to go:
• Visit internet sites such as
• Visit your local animal shelters to see if a particular dog meets your criteria.

Remember that breeders, rescues or shelters will want to interview a buyer to make sure that the dog is going to a good home.

Ask a Professional

You may want to enlist the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist. Many dog professionals offer consultations to help you sort out the type of dog that is right for you. They often have good connections and know what to look for.

While looking for your dog, keep in mind the commitment you are making.

It doesn’t matter if you decide on a purebred or a mixed, each dog can provide your home with love and companionship. Remember that some dogs are better to fit your lifestyle than others. So, take some time to make the right decision. Selecting the right dog will help ensure that both of you will enjoy your years to the fullest.

Posted with permission from the APDT site:

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