Adopting a dog should not be taken lightly. Dog ownership is a lifelong commitment. Many people always ask me on “how to pick the right dog.”
Although it can never be a certainty that you will find the perfect dog for you, it is important to exercise sound judgment to improve the odds of success. After years of addressing behavioral problems in dogs, it has become my conclusion that many dog/owner problems are rooted in the initial selection process.
In other words, the owner acted on impulse or without the proper knowledge needed in making such a significant commitment. I list below the things you should consider to pick the right dog for YOU.
1. Select Your Dog From A Reputable and Caring Establishment
Whether you rescue a dog, purchase from a breeder or find your dog from a private home, it is important to learn about them.
- Are they reputable with all appropriate licensing?
- Do the dog quarters appear clean and without stomach-churning odors?
- Do the breeders/owners seem knowledgeable about dogs?
- Are the dogs available seem healthy and happy?
- What is the online reputation of the provider?
2. Select A Dog To Fit Your Lifestyle
This is the number one cause of problems that I encounter as a dog trainer, and there is no fix available. If you are a couch potato, you DO NOT want a high energy dog.
Likewise, if you are high energy and want a dog to jog along with you for miles. DO NOT get a doggy coach potato.
Do some research on breeds and determine various breeds of dogs that fit your energy level. If there are small children in your life, be cautious about high strung dogs that are meant to guard. You could potentially be inviting tragedy into your home. Consult an experienced trainer for suggestions on a good breed that fits your life.
3. Recognize Your Strengths and Limitations
Do you have any physical limitation? Or do you have little experience handling dogs? If yes to either, it may be advantageous to avoid large, intelligent breeds that require skills beyond your competence level to master.
4. Separate Reality from Fiction
Separate the real world of dog ownership from the world of television and fictional dog stories.
You will spend considerable time picking up poop, cleaning up vomit, walking in inclement weather, going to vets and changing your world to accommodate your dog. I believe that the benefits of dog ownership outweigh the work involved. However, carefully consider that responsible dog ownership means a lot of time and money.
5. Training, Training, Training
Has the dog already been trained? If not, then begin the process as soon as you bring him home. If you carefully consider the pros and cons and feel a dog belongs in your life, then please go for it. A good dog in a good home is one of life’s great joys.