Choosing the Right Dog for You and Your Family
Are you considering adding a dog to your family, but don’t know which breed to choose? Be sure to consider these factors before choosing a dog to call your own.
Getting a dog is one of the most exciting decisions you will ever make – and one of the biggest! Whether you are looking for a purebred puppy or want to rescue an adult dog, choosing the right breed for you and your family is extremely important. So how do you know which dog is right for you?
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Choosing the right dog
Before you rush in, research potentially suitable breeds and explore the breed characteristics. Not only will this ensure that your new best friend is the right fit for you, but it helps to assess whether your lifestyle will be right for them.
Here are some key factors for you to consider:
Does everyone in your home want a dog? Your dog will form a massive part of your day and everyone needs to be on board to make the new family dynamic work.
You will also need to consider if your family will be changing – do you have a baby or a young child joining your home soon? Children under five need careful supervision with any dog, but certain breeds are more comfortable around children than others.
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Do you live in a small house or flat? Then a large breed or active working dog probably won’t be the right fit for you. Even certain small breeds, like Jack Russell terriers, need a fair amount of space as they are very energetic.
Be sure to take noise into consideration as well - in a flat or a terrace house, a very vocal breed could disturb your neighbours and lead to complaints.
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While every dog is unique, certain breeds were designed to perform specific jobs, and while their “trade” may have potentially died out, those personality traits are still present – so it’s vital to do your homework before choosing your furry friend.
Consider where a breed originates, the climate it is used to and the job it was bred to do. Some working dogs, such as Collies, appreciate their own space; while fun-loving breeds such as Dalmatians relish a lively household.
If a family member is allergy-prone, choose a breed with a coat that is “hairy” rather than “furry”. If you are house-proud with little time to clean, you may need to consider a non-moulting dog like a Maltese or Yorkshire terrier.
A dog that is bored, stressed or lonely can become very destructive. Not only is this frustrating for you, but it’s unfair on them too.
Working breeds, including the German shepherd and Golden Retriever, need plenty of exercise and while toy breeds don’t need as much of a workout, they do still need daily walks and human interaction, so you must have enough free time to make sure they get the stimulation they need.
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It’s easy to be lenient with certain bad habits from a puppy - but once a dog becomes an adult, it’s very difficult to change these habits and you could find yourself in a tricky situation down the line.
Some dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, are easier to train than others, but basic training for every breed is essential to make sure you have a happy hound and a happy home, so take a careful look at the time and costs involved to make sure this is something you can commit to.
Life is unpredictable, and it becomes even more so when you have a four-legged friend to consider.
Before making your final decision, take the following into account:
- Food: Proper nutrition is essential to keep your dog’s health in check, make sure you know the dietary requirements and what this will cost before deciding on a specific breed.
- Vet costs: Pet insurance is highly recommended as vet bills can add up quickly. There are many different options available so be sure to speak to your local vet about the one best suited for you.
- Holidays: Will you be travelling with your dog or do you have friends that will look after them? Do you have board kennels in your area or is there a pet sitting service you trust? Be sure to budget this in during the planning stage.
While this may seem like a lot to consider, bringing a dog into your family is one of the best decisions you will make and a little research goes a long way in making sure you have a long, happy and healthy relationship with your new best friend.