Deciding to invite a dog into your home is a big decision, whether you are buying a pedigree puppy or adopting an older dog, or anything in-between, your new dog will have an impact on your life. But after the decision to adopt a dog is taken, perhaps the biggest decision follows, what kind of dog do you want.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with hundreds of breeds, but it’s not just the size that changes with a breed, but temperament, whether they are alright alone or need company, how much exercise they need and any number of other things. That means the type of dog you adopt should be based on more than the ones you like the look of most, because that can lead to problems.
Where to begin?
Because there are so many different breeds, there is definitely a dog out there that is perfect for your life choosing the type of dog that is best suited is all about understanding what the important traits that you prefer are. By looking at your life, and thinking about how much time you have, how much space and so on, you can narrow down your choice to those that fit best with those parameters.
A crucial thing to remember during this process is your situation not just now, but 10 to 15 years into the future, because your new dog is not just for the moment, but for all of their life. This can affect some choices, and it should be part of the decision process to make sure your new pet has an enjoyable life with you, not just today and tomorrow, but throughout their lives.
The space you have
The first aspect of your life that will impact the kind of dog you have is the space you live in. Please be aware that smaller dog does not necessarily mean less exercise, we will discuss that later on, here, we are simply looking at how the dog will fit into your living space.
In general, the smaller the home, then a smaller dog will be easier to accommodate. There are dog owners with large dogs in small apartments, but that will definitely require compromises in your daily life, so consider the practicalities of the size of a dog within your home.
You should also consider the kind of environment you live in. Here, most guides talk about the limitations of city living and choosing a dog that can adapt to a life without open spaces to play in, but there are also things to consider if you have plenty of space.
If your dog is going to spend much of their time outside in fields and wild grass, with mud in winter and so on, then that is also something to consider. Longer haired dogs will require a lot more grooming than shorter haired dogs in those conditions. So, while a larger dog will be manageable, you can narrow down the type of large dog again by focusing on shorter haired breeds.
The time you have
There are a few aspects to this, starting with exercise. Every dog owner wants their pet to be happy and healthy, and for dogs, part of that means regular exercise. Exercising your dog requires an investment of your time, every day, so think carefully about how much of your time you really can dedicate to your dog, morning and evening, rain or shine.
Dogs that need a lot of exercise need a lot of time, it would be unfair, and in the long term unhealthy, to choose such a dog if you could not give it the time required. But there is more than just time when it comes to exercise. If you live in an apartment, remember, that is a journey up and down the stairs each time you take your dog out. Will you still be fit enough for that in 10 years’ time? It’s a big commitment, make sure you can keep to it.
The other aspect of time that is important is the dog’s need for attention. Some dogs are happy to be alone, or simply resting in the room as you relax on the sofa after a long day. However, some dogs need a lot of attention, especially when you haven’t been home all day. Think about how much time and attention you can give, and always try to be realistic about it.
The environment you have
Do you have small children, other dogs, other pets? This matters when choosing your dog, some breeds are more relaxed living in a home full of children and other pets, others may not have the temperament to cope, and have difficulties.
Good puppy training can ensure your dog gets used to other people, dogs, and animals, but for the dog’s sake, it is important to choose a breed that is happier with the busier home to begin with. Likewise, if your home is empty all day, a dog that is not happy alone would be a mistake and could lead to problems for your dog long-term.
Finally, we have to talk about the cost. Adopting a dog is all about love and companionship, but the reality is that there are costs involved with adopting a dog, and as a rule, for things like food, grooming, kennel stays and almost every aspect of your dog’s life, the bigger the dog the more expensive it costs.
Make sure that your chosen dog fits into your budget, not just today, but into the future. For instance, if you are going to retire and have a fixed income within 10 years, remember that your dog will still need all those things and the expense won’t disappear.
There are so many dog breeds out there, that anyone can find their perfect dog. It is important to choose carefully and to ensure that the dog fits into your home and life well. Not just for your own sake, but for your dog’s. A bad fit can lead to an unhappy dog who could develop behavioral problems later on.
Adopting a dog is one of life’s most rewarding, joyous adventures, make sure that when you do it, the choice is right for both you and your dog.