Choosing the Right Dog
By Melissa Jenkins
Making the choice to welcome a dog into your life brings with it great happiness and great responsibility. Dogs can be our best friends and wonderful companions, but they also require a lot of commitment, expense, time, and effort. It is very important to choose the right dog for your lifestyle and family so that your lives will blend together harmoniously and your dog will enjoy a long and happy life with you.
Everyone in agreement
At Puppy Hill Farm and other rescues, there are many dogs who are in need of good homes and good people. What these dogs especially need is someone who will be knowledgeable in their choice and welcome them to their ďforever home.Ē Before you make the choice to adopt a dog, make sure that everyone in the family or household is happy with the decision. A dog is a member of the family, and the decision should be one that everyone agrees with.
You will have different responsibilities to deal with depending on the age of the dog you decide to get. Puppies are of course very cute and playful, but be mindful that they are a lot of work. They grow quickly, require socialization and training, vaccinations, and exercise to burn off their energy. An adult dog requires less work, and it is easier to see his temperament and energy level from the start. As with all dogs, an adult dog will need exercise, attention, and commitment. Think carefully about the pros and cons of puppies and adult dogs and decide which one is best for you.
Breed and Energy Level
Research breeds and their characteristics to determine what kind of dog would fit your lifestyle. Many breeds have specific needs and require different amounts of exercise. Do you have room for a big dog? Do you have children? Are you an active person or do you like to relax at home? Remember that many dog breeds are similar, such as how small dogs tend to have higher energy levels and more rambunctious personalities, so donít narrow your choices down too much. Many people can be seduced by the looks of a particular breed, but the most important factor in choosing a dog is its behavior. At rescues and shelters, pure breeds are not as common as mixed breeds, so itís good to get a feel for the general characteristics of many breeds. You might not know all of the breeds that go into a specific dog, but if youíre looking at a lab mix, you probably have a good idea about the temperament and energy level of the dog. Remember however, that every dog is unique, and you should always take note of the individualís behavior.
Once youíve decided on a set of characteristics, the next step is to actively search for a dog. Shelters and rescues have so many dogs that are looking for a good home. If you donít find a dog that day or you just arenít sure about a particular dog, just come back again until you find one that would fit your lifestyle better. Once youíve found one that you think would be a good match, bring your other household members (especially other dogs) to meet him. The new member of your family should get along with everyone to avoid stress and bad situations. Remember also that the environment at the shelter or rescue can be difficult for dogs, and some dogs may hide or bark loudly because they are scared or stressed. Always ask the volunteers or employees about the dogs!!! Many of them are regulars and have known the dogs for a long time or are familiar with their foster families. They can give you a much better idea about their temperament in a home environment. At Puppy Hill Farm, we have many dedicated volunteers who are knowledgeable and eager to help match dogs with loving families.
Doing research and making an informed decision about choosing a dog is the best thing that you can do for your new friend. It will ensure that he comes into a house where preparations have been made and he gets along with all other members of the family. Welcoming your new dog into his forever home is one of the most rewarding experiences out there, especially when the right steps are taken to match the dog with the owner. Good Luck!