Having been around and training dogs for years, one of the biggest questions that I get is, how do I choose the right dog? Unlike having kids or your family, you get to choose your dog, at least you have that working in your favor. But many people pick a pup without really thinking it through and just get so excited that sometimes, well, we pick a pup and forget that it will grow up one day. No doubt that all puppies are cute and will bring the toughest hombre to their knees and have them making funny noises and raising their voice at least an octave, and that’s just the guys. We see these fluffy adorable pups, and lose all common sense, and fall in love and just gotta have them, there’s a reason they call falling in love with someone too quickly puppy love. However, his type of impulse decision-making accounts for the majority of dogs that are given up and sent to the pooch pound, with a dreadful conclusion if they are not adopted in a fair amount of time. That is just not fair to the dog, but let’s see if we can help new buyers, to think on their feet.
I feel people either don’t know what it is like to have a puppy, or if they had a dog before, have forgotten what it was like to have this fur ball of fun invading your private domain and taking over the premises. So, let’s go over some basic considerations, so that you and your canine companion are as a perfect match as good karma will allow. We won’t be talking about house breaking and training just yet, so lets go and fine the best dog for you first.
How much should you spend?
First figure out how much dough you want to lay out for a dog. Pure breeds and those with all the bells and whistles could cost you a few hundred bucks to even thousands. But if you do not really want a papered pooch, and are just looking for a furry writhing ball of love, than mutts or Heinz 57 dogs are sometimes as good if not better. But, even if you buy your dog at a shelter or a dog pound, there will be a price for the love of your dog, mostly it is to help pay for spaying/neutering and other veterinarian services, a bargain if you ask me, not to mention another notch on the karma belt for saving a life. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a free dog, if that is the case, skip to the next line.
Where do you live?
One of the biggest mistakes is getting the dog you always wanted, without consideration or thought as to where you live. So, you always wanted an English Bull Mastiff, but you live in a 400 square foot single bedroom apartment, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN!! The dog is too damn big for the apartment, at worst you will be re-living scenes from Turner and Hooch, or at best you will have to sublet another space so that at least you both can get some sleep. Maybe you’ll get a high energy working dog, leave him home all day without exercising the mutt, and come home to a shredded and chewed apartment or house and then blame the dog. PLEASE (I’m on my knee’s begging, my wife loves this), think about where you live, how much space you have, do you have a backyard or not, how much time can you put into the dog for its training, exercising and just plain contact. Some dogs are better suited for apartment living and other dogs need room to run and may also need more attention. Talk to a vet, a local trainer or someone who is dog savvy, to help you narrow down your right choice of dog.
What do you want the dog for?
We all know you want the dog for fun and companionship, but do you have other things you want the dog for? Do you want a hunting dog, a security dog, a family dog and so on. Different breeds lean towards certain tasks and environments better than others. Dogs have been bred for many years, or even centuries for a desired type of temperament, specific tasks and abilities that the dogs are known or built for, and even for certain cosmetic effects. Some are more friendly with everyone, while others are loyal to only one person. There are dogs that love all dogs, then there are those that will chomp on a Chihuahua just to see if they taste good. Be fair to you and your new addition, and like a tool, pick the right dog for the right job.
How much time can you spend with the dog?
No matter what dog you pick, unless it is an older dog, or one that has already been trained, you will need, no, let me rephrase that, you will have to make time to teach your puppy what the rules and expectations are, and time is the key, lots of it. So if you cannot put forth the effort, which definitely pays off later on, then get a turtle or a cat, or maybe an ant farm. But I can honestly say, you only get out of your dog, what you put into it. (I’m not talking about the south end of the dog either).
That’s all for now, I’ll leave you with this. Check back for the next part of this series, or you can send me a message if you have any other questions, or maybe some tips that helped you.