Choosing a Dog

You’ve decided to add a dog to your family.  Where do you go from here?  Do you have the required time to spend outside burning off that sporting or herding dog energy or are you looking for a small lap dog who can get most of his exercise inside?  Do you have acres for your dog to roam or will he be confined in an apartment?  These are a few things to consider if you are to have an enjoyable life with a dog. 

Know your lifestyle requirements, then decide whether a purebred or mixed breed, puppy or adult is best for you. Some advantages of purebred dogs are their predictable traits. You’ll have a good idea of his adult size, physical characteristics, general personality and energy level.  Purebred dogs can be expensive, with prices ranging from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars and a high purchase price does not guarantee quality. 

Personality, size, energy levels and physical characteristics are harder to predict in mixed breed dogs.  Will he be more like his German Shepherd mother or his Cocker Spaniel father?  It is also thought that mixed breeds suffer from fewer genetic disorders than their purebred relatives and the initial costs are often significantly lower. 

Adopting an adult dog has advantages.  Usually an adult is calmer and often partially trained.  You can get a feel for his temperament by spending time with him before taking him home.  If he was not properly socialized as a puppy, or inappropriately trained, he may need some remedial socialization and training. 

Being prepared for the amount of time and energy required, a puppy can be a wonderful addition to your family.  Owners are often unaware of the many stages of puppy development, with the adolescent stage being particularly challenging.   

However, with patience, gentle training and proper socialization, you will likely have a wonderful companion for many years. 

Tip of the week:  Thinking of adopting a new puppy or dog?  Visit your local animal shelter and don’t hesitate to ask the staff questions !  Until then, keep those tails a waggin’

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