A big step, once you make the decision to get a family dog, is choosing the right one. In making this choice, you have to take into consideration both your family’s and the dog’s needs. This simple checklist will help you make sure that you will find the perfect pet that is compatible with your family and your family’s lifestyle.
1. Researching Breeds
The first step in choosing a dog is to research the many breeds out there. Breeds are separated not only by their looks, but also by the traits that are specific to each breed. So, thorough research will help you discover which breed’s qualities will best suit your family. For instance, some believe that dogs that were bred to “herd” cattle may try to do the same with your children. If this would be a problem, you might want to choose another breed.
2. Adult or Puppy?
Your next choice is whether to bring home a full-grown dog, or a puppy. Puppies are cute, but can have some bad habits, such as chewing on things, whining, and leaving puddles everywhere. An adult dog, on the other hand, may be calmer and already housebroken. Adult dogs have their drawbacks, too, though. A full grown dog, like a grown adult, may be more set in its ways. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you won’t make a standoffish one into a friendly, bouncy member of the family overnight.
3. Considering the Dog’s Needs
Remember, not only do your family’s needs matter, but also the dogs. If you choose a breed that needs lots of exercise, make sure that someone in the family is willing to take the dog out and play with it. With a smaller dog, that may just mean taking it for a walk. Larger dogs may need more exercise, and you should make sure that you are up to the challenge.
Another thing to consider is the room you have for the new member of the family. If you are already living in crowded conditions, a big dog may not be a good choice. Large dogs can live in apartments, but a smaller breed may be better suited to apartment living. But, since small dogs can be a little yappy at times, they may annoy close neighbors and cause problems. Once again, it is best to get to know the different breeds and try to find one that offers not only the size you want but also the personality you are looking for.
5. Child Friendly?
The single most important thing to consider when choosing a dog is how well they will react to children. For every breed, you will find someone who swears that their dog is wonderful with children, regardless of what they where bred to do. But, with dog attacks so common, you should look carefully at the breed’s track record where safety is concerned. Pit Bulls, for instance, can be cuddly teddy bears. But the reports of attacks on children make them a breed to avoid if you have children, or have children visitors.
Smaller dogs, such as the Chihuahua, Pekinese or Pomeranian may not be the best choice for a child’s dog, either. They are smaller, and therefore more fragile and may not take to tail pulling like a more laid back dog would. But, again, I am sure there are owners out there who would argue this point also. Just make sure you take these facts into consideration before you make your final choice.
If you remember these basic ideas when you go in search for that family dog, you will choose a pet that will be a welcome and loved part of the family. And, choosing a dog with these ideas in mind will insure that you have a happy dog that will be glad to be a part of your family, too!