Owning a dog is fun and it can be personally rewarding, but it’s also a responsibility that some
people aren’t prepared for and don’t expect. It’s sad and unfortunate when someone adopts or
purchases a dog only to discover that they’re ill-equipped to handle the responsibility or provide
the level of care and attention that dogs require.
If you’re looking for a dog, take the time to do your research and determine what breed’s best
suited to your lifestyle, living circumstances, and level of commitment. It isn’t a one-size- fits-all
proposition, and you need to be honest with yourself when choosing the right dog.
There are many factors to consider before you make the commitment. You might envision
yourself training a Collie or Retriever to catch a Frisbee or track small game. But if you don’t
have a big enough yard or there’s no dog park nearby, that’s probably an unrealistic expectation
and you may need to focus on smaller breeds. If small, hyperactive dogs get on your nerves, a
Yorkshire Terrier or Toy Poodle is not the breed for you. Ask yourself a few key questions
before you get serious about it. Remember, it’s a big decision, and you don’t want to regret it
What kind of lifestyle do you lead?
Do you lead an outdoors lifestyle, or are you more the stay-at- home and chill out type? It matters
when you’re trying to decide on a breed. Large- and mid-sized dogs thrive in a situation where
they can spend lots of time outside, running around in a large space where they can be off the
leash. Small dogs usually make better companions if you’re more likely to spend hours binge-
watching your favorite Netflix shows than playing fetch at the park. Same goes if you have a job
that keeps you busy on the computer for hours at a time. It’s not fair to expect a large dog to
spend every day alone inside. Consider whether you’ll need to board your dog or leave him with a dog-sitting service if you’re going to be at the office eight to 10 hours a day. It’s another
expense that comes with being a responsible and caring owner.
If you live in an apartment or small-size condominium, a Pug, Beagle, Dachshund or Jack
Russell Terrier makes more sense for your space than a larger breed. However, there are mid- to
large-size dogs that can do well in a small home, including a Bulldog or Greyhound. These
breeds enjoy doing their fair share of lounging, but need to get out and stretch their legs from
time to time. If you choose to go this route, make sure you can get your pet outside quickly when
he has to relieve himself. If you can’t walk him a couple times a day, consider hiring a dog
Some breeds are more predictable than others when it comes to small children. Most are
excellent companions for your children but, as you know, little ones sometimes pull a tail or an
ear at the wrong time. You need to be confident that your dog won’t take offense and growl or
snap at your kid in response. Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas, Dalmatians, Rottweilers and Chow Chows
can get testy with kids who get too familiar. If yours threatens, you may need to seek out a
professional obedience trainer. But be aware that even the best trainer can’t guarantee that your
dog will always behave under such circumstances.
When you bring your new friend home, have a place set up that’s all his own. Keep his bed, food
and water dish and toys there and make sure he can get to it whenever he needs a little alone
time. Spend extra time with him until he’s more comfortable in his new surroundings. Getting
your dog off to a good start can set a good precedent and build an important level of trust
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