Choosing a Dog

woman-holding-small-dog-in-her-arms

Choosing the right dog for you is no small matter.

The right dog will give you a new, loving, life-long companion.

Selecting a new dog is part of the planning process whether adopting or buying a dog. Planning for a new dog covers many things to take into consideration. For instance, the biggest question to ask yourself is why do you want a dog?

Why Do You Want a Dog?

Are you looking for a companion dog, watch dog, or guard dog?

Or do you have children begging you for one? I sure remember those days realizing that my kids, as most do, grow weary of the mundane dog chores. 

Have you decided you want a dog to warn you of strangers? Maybe you had one as a child and miss the companionship the dog gave you. Regardless of the reason, dogs can bring families closer together with a sense of completeness.

But, here is the kicker...

You should know that not all dogs are good for every situation.

Choosing a Puppy

Choosing a young dog

Puppy looking at adult dog.

Choosing a puppy because you have children may be the right choice. 

Puppies are adaptable and may be more sociable than a rescue dog. We had fun watching our dogs grow up with the kids. Except for the times when the puppy, like the kids, made messes.

Yet, there is a downside to choosing a puppy.

You don't know what you are getting in the form of the adult dog. We had a puppy that had severe mental issues growing up with our other dog. At the advice of our veterinarian, we had the dog put down. Otherwise, we would have an unpredictable, dangerous 125-pound dog in our family.

We decided to select a senior rescue dog for many reasons. By selecting an older dog, we avoided the messy puppy stage.

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dog

There are some factors to consider when selecting a dog. The following factors are not ranked as the relevant importance is a personal matter. 

  • Temperament - To determine if a dog is mild-mannered or not, hold the dog in your arms and turn him on his back (size permitting). If the dog struggles or squirms, he may not be mild-mannered. And he will need more patience during training. If the dog lays there quietly, he is a mild-mannered dog and will be easier to train. We had two Yorkshire Terriers that were like night and day. One wiggled whenever we turned on her back. The chubby male was calm.
  • Size - Size is an important factor relative to the size of your home and yard. A large dog does better in a home rather than an apartment. Also, males tend to be larger than females. Our Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed is a female weighing in at 70 pounds with an ideal body condition. So she is larger than the average purebred male Pit Bull Terrier.
  • Age - Whether you choose a puppy, adult, or senior dog is a matter of personal choice. We have been fortunate to pick from all age groups. We have had puppies, adult dogs as well as our senior dog, Coco. Puppies are definitely in the cute stage as well as messy and of needing training. Adult and senior dogs usually are housebroken and have various degrees of training. The advantage of choosing an adult dog is seeing the grown dog's temperament and behavior.
  • Activity Level - The activity level of your potential dog should match your lifestyle. If you have an active lifestyle, then a couch potato dog may not fit. And a very active dog may not be appropriate for an apartment.
  • Source - We always tell not to get a dog from a puppy mill. Otherwise, pick your dog from a shelter, rescue organization, reputable breeder, friend, or family. A good breeder that cares more about the animals than money will ask many questions about you. They want to place their dogs in good homes.
  • Mixed breed or purebred - When it comes to picking a mixed breed or purebred dog, there are several considerations. First of all, mixed breeds do not cost as much as purebred breeds. Unless, you are considering a designer dog (mixing two breeds like Beagle and Pug to create a Pugle). Another consideration is health. There is an ongoing discussion about which is healthier, a mixed breed or purebred. Some say a mixed breed is healthier. This is because it is less likely to be born with inherited congenital diseases. So, choosing a purebred puppy enables the new owner to have a good idea what the adult dog will look and act like.

How to Find Your New Dog

Before deciding on a mixed breed or purebred, research information about the breeds you are considering. 

The American Kennel Club has lots of information about dog breeds. Using their dog breed selector helps determine temperament and physical traits. 

Choosing a Dog Summary 

Planning and an honest assessment of the family will help in selecting the right dog. Along with discussing a new dog with family with common sense, you should be able to select the perfect dog for you. 

Your new dog will offer you a lasting, loving relationship that is sure to be fulfilling for you. 

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