What to Look for in A Dog

In the accompanying video, I discuss what to consider in selecting a dog. This is a very important topic, because choosing a breed whose needs are compatible with your lifestyle is the key to avoiding a lot of conflicts and unhappiness in the future.

Breed attributes to consider include:

  • Size (Will a big dog be happy in your small apartment or tiny sports car?)
  • Coat type (Are you OK with a dog who sheds, or requires lots of grooming?)
  • Temperament (Is the breed you’re considering known for being friendly around strangers or other dogs?)
  • And energy level. (Don’t consider a dog that requires lots of vigorous exercise each day if you work long hours, or can’t make the commitment to exercise the dog in other ways.)

I recommend that prospective pet owners consult a dog encyclopedia, such as http://www.thedogencyclopedia.com/, or http://www.dogsindepth.com/, to research the attributes of various breeds and select one or two breeds whose needs are compatible with your lifestyle requirements.

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a breed of two, I recommend going on to the American Kennel Club website (http://www.akc.org/), which lists breed-specific rescue organizations and reputable breeders on its site. By choosing a reputable organization, you’ll avoid inadvertently getting your dog from a puppy mill.

Of course, you can also select your dog from a local shelter. I recommend developing a list of the most important attributes you are seeking in a dog and asking the shelter staff to select four or five dogs that match your criteria. You might also want to complete the adoption paperwork and any required site visits in advance of your visit to the shelter, so that once you fall in love with a dog you’ll be able to take him or her home. Many rescue organizations are very picky about the adoptions they approve because they want the dogs to go to a “forever home.”

Like children, all dogs require care and attention to thrive. The key to a happy dog/human relationship is choosing a dog whose requirements for care and attention match what you and your family are able to give.  Expect more from your dog! Enjoy more from your dog! Unleash your dog’s full potential—and your own.

Trackback from your site.