What Dog Is Right for Me
So, you have concluded that you would like to share and enhance your life with a dog and you would like to know what dog to get? Where do you begin now? There are numerous things to prepare for and research before bringing your new puppy or older dog home.
Things to consider before bringing home a new dog:
You don’t need to buy a dog. Remember, there are thousands of dogs in shelters and rescue groups that get euthanized every day simply because they don’t have a home. There are even pure breed dogs if that is what you are searching for. You can utilize Petfinder which aggregates many shelters inventories of homeless dogs. It’s a tool that allows you to see thousands of dogs from the comfort of your own home from all over the country. Of course, this will not be a substitute for actually visiting the dog and spending time with them in order to experience their temperament, energy, character, and personality first hand, but it is a great place to start.
Have you done adequate research for a dog trainer, dog walker and pet sitter? Remember rescuing or buying a dog is just the first step in a long relationship. If you want this new relationship to thrive, you must care for your dog adequately, be 100% committed to your pup for his/her lifetime and love your dog as part of your family. Do yourself a favor and find a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) to work with. Find a great Los Angeles dog walker and pet sitter and interview them if you will not be able to be home during the day to walk and care for your new dog. Remember, a mentally and physically balanced dog, a well-exercised dog and a well-mannered and trained dog is a wonderful treat and a dream to live with! The converse is equally true, and your relationship will go downhill just as fast if you ignore them or just expect the dog to understand you or exercise themselves. Remember dogs don’t know English or Swahili, they must be taught what you, the parent want from them. A qualified dog trainer with expertise in canine ethology (scientific knowledge of species-specific behavior), cognitive ethology, husbandry, and dog training will help educate you and train your dog.
Have you researched breed types and energy levels adequately? The most important characteristic or trait you can look for when buying or rescuing a new dog is their energy level and temperament. Too many people mistakenly use aesthetics as their predominant decision making factor that drives their decision. If you do not match up your energy level to your dogs, you will not be happy and neither will your dog. Do not get a working breed dog with a high energy level if you want to just hang out on the couch and want a dog to cuddle with most of the time! A working dog is not a couch potato and will make your life miserable regardless of how cute or gorgeous they are.
Important questions to ask yourself before you get a dog:
- Why do you want a dog and what role will they play in your life: motivator, guardian, companion, best friend, partner, dependent…etc?
- What other animals share your space?
- What are your sleeping patterns and habits?
- Do you have an active, loud, predictable, energetic household or the opposite?
- Do you live in a rural, suburban or urban environment?
- Does your building, landlord, co-op board, condominium association, homeowners association (HOA), county, discriminate against certain size dogs or breeds? (If so, shame on them!)
- What is your occupation? Are you a medical student in your residency and at the hospital 100 hours a week? Or are you self-employed and work from home?
- Have you dog-proofed your home?
- What are the average veterinarian and maintenance bills for this type of dog?
- Do you have adequate savings to educate yourself and your dog with a great force-free CDBC and CPDT?
- Do you have allergies or health issues?
- Does he/she eat a lot or not much at all?
- Can I transport my dog if and when I need to?
- Do you often travel and for how long?
- How big will my dog get at maturity?
- Will you do a behavioral and temperament test with your new dog to make sure there is a fit before bringing them home?
- How much free time do you have to dedicate to a new dog and how energetic are you?
- Are you an outdoor adventurous type that plans to take the dog everywhere with you or an indoor less active person that would like a less adventurous pup?
Answer these questions and explore your lifestyle before you buy a dog. The more honest you are with yourself prior to getting a dog the more pleasant your relationship will be for years to come.