Making the decision to get a dog is a great thing for your family, but getting one is more complicated than just heading to the pet shop, breeder, or rescue and picking out your favorite. As you choose a dog, it’s important to agree with the rest of your family on the breed, behavior, age, gender, temperament, and even color to ensure that everyone will be on board with the adoption.
So before you go out and get a companion dog just because it sounds like a great idea, look back and make sure you know what you’re about to take on. Dogs are the best animals on earth, but if you pick the wrong one, it can be a bad experience for both your family and the dog. And if you pick a dog that isn’t the right breed or temperament for you and your family, it can do major damage to the dog’s psyche and attitude, too.
Feel Your Dog Out – Literally
When you select a dog, you want to make sure he’s comfortable being played with, handled, petted, and examined. Dogs who enjoy physical contact are well-mannered, happy, and calm dogs. You also want to select a healthy and well-adjusted dog who is socialized to humans and obedient to commands and his human owners. If the dog approaches you well, it’s a good sign!
Ideally, the dog you select will be house-trained, but if he isn’t, make sure it’s a responsibility you want to undertake. And be certain to choose a dog who is comfortable around people, and feels at ease around strangers. Signs like this indicate he might just be a keeper.
Are You Living The Right Way?
The dog’s life and behavior isn’t your only concern when choosing a dog for your family. What about you? Do you live in an apartment? Do you own a house with a big yard? Your living situation is going to drastically affect what breed and type of dog you choose. Almost all dogs enjoy going for walks. Is your lifestyle one that you have the time and energy to take your dog for a walk.
Obviously, a 90-pound German Shepherd won’t work well in a studio apartment, and a miniature poodle won’t make a good farmer’s dog. But beyond that, have you studied the dog you want relative to the lifestyle that you yourself live? Active dogs want active owners who can run, jump, and play with them. Make sure you can give your dog every opportunity to succeed in life!
It can’t be overstated – getting a dog is a huge commitment. You are literally changing and affecting another living creature when you adopt a dog. Whether from a shelter, or the pound, or wherever else, dogs strive to be loyal to their masters. When you adopt a dog, you give that dog the opportunity to love someone unconditionally, be loyal to his master, and obey his best friend.
So don’t run roughshod into choosing a dog, or pick a dog that isn’t right for your living situation and your lifestyle. Choosing a dog is a real commitment, and a very important responsibility, but it’s also one of the most meaningful undertakings you can have.