It’s a common belief that every family should have a dog, especially if there are children involved. A dog can be a great addition to any family and dogs have even been proven to improve the immune system of people they live with. However, picking the right dog isn’t as simple as you might think. Here are some tips to help you along.
Is a Dog Right For You?
First, while dogs are fantastic pets, they don’t suit every lifestyle. Yes, they’re cute and loveable, but you certainly shouldn’t jump into the commitment right away, and a dog is a significant commitment. Getting a dog when you’re not ready can be stressful, expensive, and it’s simply not fair on the dog. Consider a lower-maintenance pet, or wait for a better time.
Puppy, Adult, or Senior?
Often, the instinctive choice is to go for a puppy. This is understandable, puppies are adorable and can grow up along with your children. They are, however, incredibly high maintenance. For the first six months of its life, your puppy will need to be housebroken and trained so that it will grow up into a well-behaved dog. However, the process is more than worth it, if you have the requisite time and patience.
Another option is to get an adult or a senior dog. While you’ll likely get your puppy from a breeder (although you can get older puppies from shelters), adult dogs are more often sold from families or found in shelters. Shelter dogs do have some requirements, but they can be a great addition to your family.
An adult is more likely to be at least partially trained and more sensible than a puppy. You’ll also have a better understanding of the true energy level and temperament of your dog. Senior dogs are another wonderful option. By taking one on, you can help it live out its last few years of life in a happy and safe environment. Senior dogs are lower-energy as well, although they may need some special attention.
Different Dog Breeds
You can go two main routes with choosing your dog breed. Many people prefer purebred dogs, which makes sense. With a purebred, you have a better idea of what your dog will be like, allowing you to make a more informed decision. For example, Havanese puppies are likely to grow up to be small, intelligent, and sociable dogs that are good with children and other pets.
Different dogs have different needs. For example, larger dogs need more space than smaller dogs. Some dogs need more regular walks than others, especially if their breed has a working background, like a collie. While every dog needs grooming, some long-haired dogs are higher maintenance. Also, certain breeds are more prone to certain health problems.
There may be some variety with each dog, but you know where you stand. However, there are some good reasons to consider a mixed breed dog. They may be healthier and, if it has unknown provenance, then it will likely be less expensive. However, be prepared for surprises, especially with a mystery mixed puppy.