So...you're going to get a dog, eh? You've been thinking about this for some time now and the moment is right. There's room for a dog in your life and you're committed. But before you get in your car and go select that lucky dog, may I suggest that you think about something you may NOT have considered...
How do you and the dog match up? I don't mean temperament or behavioral characteristics of the new dog; I mean what KIND of a dog are you about to bring in to your daily life for the next twelve to eighteen years? I can't tell you how many times veterinarians have been involved with scenes like this one...
Pet owner: "Doctor, can you get me something to calm this dog down? He's really driving us crazy. All he wants to do is play; he gets these wild streaks every day where he runs around the house knocking things over and when we do take him outside he'll run away first chance he gets. We've got to find something to relax him."
Veterinarian: "Gosh, you have a perfectly normal German Shorthaired Pointer here. These hunting breeds have been selectively bred over many years to seek game, have unlimited stamina, and be able to pursue escaping game. Why did you get a hunting breed when you live in a small apartment?"
Please...take just a little time BEFORE you make the final decision to acquire a dog and check out the different breeds that would match your living habits, your living environment, and your time freedom. Far too often a new dog owner wants a certain breed because "Sheepdogs are so beautiful", or because "I've always wanted a dog just like Lassie", or "Boxers don't shed", or "Rottweilers are real protective". Your decision as to which breed of dog to provide a home for should be based on practical parameters much more than on emotional factors...
heepdogs are beautiful...if the owners can keep this long haired, large breed of dog properly groomed. It may not be a good choice, though, for an elderly gentleman who simply needs a little companionship! Any long haired dog will accidentally (and sometimes not so accidentally!) bring some of the outdoors indoors. Be prepared for sand, dirt, leaves, or water to be attached to the coat after these large breeds with long hair get a bit of exercise outdoors. So, if you are the meticulous, perfectionist type and have spotless carpeting and valuable little Hummels and porcelain owls set on 18th Century coffee tables...ah, you just might need a little dog that doesn't shed and keeps itself similarly well refined. Your valuable furnishings would be better protected and cherished by a little Boston Terrier, Dachshund, or Poodle. So... you do need to match YOUR LIFESTYLE with a BREED OF DOG that was bred for a specific life style or activity. It makes no sense to make a multi-year commitment to a dog that may not be a good fit with its environment or its owner's lifestyle.
|Do I travel often? If I do, who will care for the dog?||How big will I get?|
|Can I interact with the dog at lease three times a day?||Am I the quiet, sleepy type or are all my ancestors hunting dogs?|
|Will it matter if it sheds a lot of fur?||How much food will my owners have to buy?|
|Am I prepared for unexpected expenses if the dog gets sick?||Will I be tracking dirt and sand into the house?|
|Can I afford ordinary costs for such necessities as worming, vaccinations and spay/neutering?||Do I have special genetic problems like the Shar Peis?|
|Where will I exercise the dog twice a day?||Will I need professional grooming every 6 weeks?|
|Am I knowledgeable about housetraining and basic commands?||Were my ancestors bred for looks or behavior?|
|If there are lots of visitors to my house will the dog be trustworthy and friendly?||Will I be interacting with a lot of strangers or little children?|
|Will it adapt to the pets I already own? And how will my current pets accept a new housemate?||Will the climate have an effect on me?|
|Will the dog be predominantly indoors or out?||Will I have my own house or live inside with my owners?|