How To Adopt

Which Dog Is Right For You?

Age:
Do you have a busy schedule or long hours? Puppies and young dogs require a lot of time and attention. Puppies can hold their bladders only 4 or 5 hours. Young dogs and even older dogs of active breeds require lots of exercise every day or behavioral problems will arise. A more mature, calmer dog will require less and may be a a better choice if you are busy. Have a wild and crazy lifestyle, maybe a younger dog would work for you. Looking for a baby substitute consider a puppy and all the time demands that go along with it.

Size:
Dogs come in all sizes. Small dogs usually work well for a sedentary lifestyle (hence the name lap dogs) or if you want to bring them everywhere with you (a lot can fit in your purse) If your active and like outdoor activities, you’ll probably want a bigger dog that can participate right along with you. Do you live in a house or apartment - just how much room is there for a dog? Important considerations when choosing a dog’s size.

Dominant Breed:
All dogs needs exercise and want to be with you. But some need a little more than others. The terriers and hunting dogs have lots of energy (especially the terriers); the toy breeds like to be with you at all times (in your lap if possible) and while demand most of your time and attention, it usually doesn’t involve hikes in the woods; Labs, Retrievers and such like to stay active and participate in sports such as frisbee and hiking -- not to mention the water. You can read more about breed specific characteristics at the American Kennel Club site. If you have your eye on a particular rescue, chances are they have some dominent breed traits. The more you know the wiser choice you can make.

Kids:
Do you have children under 12 or 14? Getting a dog is like adding another child to your household. And a puppy is even harder. Many families find that with the demands of raising children and driving them to various activities, they don't have time to housebreak or train a puppy. And soon the little puppy becomes a big dog jumping on children and guests, begging for attention, and even getting into trouble. Obedience training is recommended for every household member, so everyone is practicing the same techniques (consistent practice is the key to training). We strongly recommend families consider a more mature dog whose size and temperament is known. A dog who seems happy, active, likes to be touched, and is not sensitive to handling and noise is typically a good choice for homes with children.

If you want a puppy, why? No matter how adorable, all puppies grow up, and grow quickly. A cute, sweet little puppy can become a rough and difficult dog if not given consistent, effective obedience training. Being good with children is highly dependent on the breed, temperament and practicing good obedience training. If you have a busy household, a puppy is not the best choice. Puppies require more supervision and training, especially for discouraging common behavior such as jumping, chewing and nipping.

What size is right for you? If you have children in the home, tiny breeds are a poor choice, since children can accidentally hurt the dog, and many small breeds are naturally wary of children. Choose a dog with whom the children can safely play. And size does not indicate energy level; some small boisterous terriers seem to take up more room and time than a large calm dog. If you live in an apartment or condo, look for a reasonably quiet dog -- and practice techniques for avoiding separation anxiety from day one. (A dog with separation anxiety will often howl and bark, as well as destroy things out of fear, when left alone.)

Fur - Long vs. Short
What about fur? Regardless of size, certain breeds require more grooming because their fur is longer, which in turns means more expense.

Allergies
And if you have allergies, think twice about getting a dog. While many believe that a dog who sheds less will be easier on allergies, the allergic reactions are triggered by dander and urine. Many people with allergies do fine with their dogs, but it helps to keep the house vacuumed, keep pets off your bed, use dander neutralizers on the fur, and to wash hands after petting the dog.

While this is but a brief overview on things you should consider when choosing a dog, more detailed information can be found at Choosing a Dog and Dog Breed Info.

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