A dog can be a wonderful addition to any family. They love unconditionally, they’re always ready to play, they can cheer you up after a bad day, and they never hold grudges.
It’s no wonder that families love adding a dog to their household. However, there are many things to consider before getting a dog for your home.
Age of Your Children
The age of your children is a good place to start. If you have a baby or a toddler it’s probably not the best time to get a pet. First, a young child takes so much attention it doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to train a new dog.
Also, children like to put everything in their mouth. You’re probably not going to be happy when you find your baby chewing on the dog’s bone. Even more serious, the dog may not be happy and may snap at the child if his toys are bothered.
A small child may also try to grab at the dog or squeeze it too hard. This can seriously harm a small dog, or the dog may try to protect itself and bite the child. It’s best to wait until your children are a little older before you bring a dog into the family.
What kind of breed should you get? This is partly determined by the size of your home and your yard. If you live in an apartment you may want to get a smaller dog. Large dogs need space to run around.
Even if they’re indoor dogs, they need plenty of exercise. High energy dogs do not do well if they don’t get enough exercise. They’ll find other ways to entertain themselves, such as eating your shoes and ripping apart the furniture.
Make sure you’re willing to take your dog for the necessary walks whether it’s a small or large dog.
Some small breeds are known to be yappy and some breeds are more docile. However, this does not always hold true. Each dog has a unique personality and they are also a product of their training.
In general, Labradors are considered well-tempered, calm dogs for children.
Toy Poodles make good lap dogs. They usually don’t upset allergies. They do, however, have to be groomed.
Terriers are very smart, but will guard their territory against all intruders, including those just walking down the street.
Age of the Dog
What age dog should you get? Nothing is cuter than a sweet little puppy.
Until the puppy poops all over your floor, marks his territory by peeing all over your oriental rug, and chews up every pair of shoes you own.
Puppy training takes time. It’s hard to housebreak and train a new puppy if everyone is off working all day.
If you choose to get a puppy try to take some vacation time, or buy one during the summer vacation when your teenagers are out of school.
A puppy needs to be let out multiple times a day. If you are working, you’ll need to leave the puppy in a small area, such as by using gates to block off the kitchen or some other tiled space. Though you’ll want to crate train your dog, it’s not good for a puppy to be left in a crate all day. Also, puppies are full of energy. They need lots of running and play time.
If you don’t have the time for puppy training, you may want to adopt an older dog who is already housebroken. If you want a dog to sit in your lap while you watch television, that’s another reason to consider an older dog. An older dog will most likely be a much calmer companion.
Where To Find Your Dog
From A Shelter
Local shelters always have a variety of breeds that need good homes. If they don’t have what you want you can come back at a later date.
When you visit the shelter make a quick trip through choosing dogs you think you might be interested in. Make notes. Then come back through and take a closer look at each dog. Hold out your hand and see how they react. They should come to you and try to sniff your hand.
If a dog jumps back and cowers in his kennel or tries to snap at you — keep walking. Unless you have no children and a lot of time on your hands to socialize a dog.
After you’ve narrowed down your search see if you can take the dog of your choice into a quiet room. See if the dog seeks your attention and enjoys being petted. Ask about the return policy at the shelter. Most shelters will take a dog back if it turns out not to be a good fit for your family. You may not get a refund of your money, though.
From A Breeder
If you decide to buy from a breeder, always visit the home and see the environment the puppy has been exposed to and get a good look at the parents.
Though it’s hard to pass up those adorable puppy dog eyes, you don’t want your decision to be based only on emotion.
Do your due diligence before choosing your new family member.