Deciding to offer a home to a dog is a big decision. You’ll be committing yourself to taking care of an animal for the rest of its life. The needs of any dog must be met consistently to ensure that this decision to have a dog works out perfectly. Exercise, mental stimulation with positive reinforcement and health requirements all need to be taken into account when working out how to choose a dog with success.
If you are a first time or inexperienced dog owner the first thing you must learn is not to choose a dog purely based on the way it looks. Breed research is a necessity. The new dog must be matched to your lifestyle. As a new owner, you will need to be completely honest about your own capabilities to take care of a dog.
Choosing a dog on looks alone can be a disaster. An example of this is the Border collie. This breed of dog looks stunning. Properly trained, exercised and socialized the collie is a beauty. If the dog is taken into a home as a puppy, not given sufficient exercise or socialization and eventually completely misunderstood, the Border collie can be extremely difficult to live with. If the dog’s needs are not met he will struggle with an excess energy that can manifest into unhelpful behavior. It is usually at around ten months to a year old that unwanted Border collies are given up by frustrated owners.
When deciding on the type and age of dog to take home, you must be honest with yourself about whether you can meet their needs. Luckily for us, all dogs have basic needs on different levels. When researching how to choose a dog you simply need to match the individual canine needs to what we are able to offer as a responsible owner.
Age of dog
Are you able to commit to the socialization and training needs of a young puppy? It’s not enough to offer a home to a puppy and simply allow it to act as it pleases. When taking on a puppy you will be committing to toilet training. Socialization and the requirement of teaching the young dog how to behave are a necessity. It is nice to have a puppy if you have the time and effort available to mold him into the dog you want him to be. It is also not necessary to have a dog from puppy-hood simply to have a well behaved dog.
The rescue world is full to overflowing of nicely behaved older dogs desperate for a kind and comfortable home. These adult dogs are of all shapes and sizes, have differing energy levels and stimulation needs. Good rescue centers in any area would be happy to work with you towards how to choose a dog that fits into the home you are offering. An efficient rescue center, dog trainer or behaviorist will assess your home and experience then match you with a number of dogs that would fit perfectly into your lifestyle.
You do not need to be an athlete or mountain climber to have a dog in your home. Many dogs need far less exercise and are happy with a potter around the local park every day.
Social needs and training
Different dogs will need different levels of training and mental stimulation. A dog bred for working, for example a jack Russell terrier, will have high requirements for mental stimulation. If you do not have the time to attend training classes or stimulate your dog’s mind in another way then you will need to choose a breed that copes well with a more relaxed lifestyle. The middle aged Staffordshire bull terrier will be more than happy to occupy the couch for a lot of the day, whereas a young setter would be dissatisfied with this as a lifestyle and probably unhappy.
So how to choose a dog responsibly will involve breed research, consideration of exercise and training needs and being honest with yourself about what you can offer to your new friend. By putting the effort into choosing the right dog before making any decisions you are most likely to succeed with the choice that you make.
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