So, you have decided to get a furry friend! Well, congratulations are in order and here comes a wave of pieces of advice. Yes, we know you can do without, but it’s in our nature to counsel and advise.
Why? Because getting a dog or a cat is a big thing as it brings much joy and happiness and it’s a real shame to see how one bad decision can cast a shadow upon it. The stakes are even higher when talking about adopting shelter animals. Any disappointment is harder for them to handle due to past traumatizing experiences. So, for this reason, we’ve prepared a few tips on how to choose just the right dog for your needs.
We’ve created a profile, if you will and hopefully, this will come in handy when you begin to search the shelters for the right match.
As you might have imagined, there are a few aspects you should consider. Of course, you can pick whichever dog you like and yes, the emotional connection you establish matters greatly, but considering aspects such as breed, size, hair length, age, and temperament is a wise choice. So let’s take them one by one.
The right breed
Is there really such a thing as a perfect breed? Well, it depends who you ask. Each pure breed owner that has done serious research will tell you that the breed he or she has chosen is the right one. But research is the keyword here because each breed has its own traits, not to mention purpose. Yes, that’s right, purpose, because breeds exist for a reason. There are breeds designed for hunting, herding, protection and so on and this purpose is usually accomplished by disciplining the dog using specific exercises. Basically, if you own a Border Collie and you do not dedicate sufficient time to its needs, you do not discipline the dog to use its natural set of herding skills, you will have a nightmare instead of the so-called smartest dog in the world. If you have a breed in mind, make sure you find out as much as you can about it and about the types of exercises it might require.
Also, there is one more aspect about breeds you should keep in mind and it has to do with health. Pure breed dogs often have specific health issues. Chihuahuas have hypoglycemia and heart issues and German Shepherds often battle with hip dysplasia, just as Labradors.
Keeping your options open and considering adopting shelter animals, especially mixed breed dogs might just be a better option. When ruling out breed, you would be left with a more adaptable dog, as well as a healthier one.
Choose your breed according to your willingness and availability to offer the dog the much-required attention. Do your homework and find out as much as you can about your favorite breed. Keep your options open and consider mixed-breed dogs.
The right size
And then there is the matter of size. Well, by size one doesn’t simply refer to the actual animal, although that is part of the issue discussed here. The size of your home is under consideration at the moment. Now, generally, animals of all sizes, not just large Beethoven the Saint Bernard type of dogs, prefer a lot of space. They like running around the garden, having lots of available spots to bury their bones. Unfortunately, not all of us have the privilege of living in big farm like houses. Some of us live in small houses or flats, without a garden, not even a small one.
Of course, small dogs like Chihuahuas, Jack Russell Terrier, Bichon Terriers and so on are always a good choice. But, the good news is that some medium size or large dogs are lazy, so they will settle in just right in an apartment. For instance, the funny looking Basset Hounds can find the life in an apartment very comfortable.
If your heart is set on a specific breed, however, but you’re living in an apartment, you should know that the success of your relationship lies in the effort you are willing to make to ensure that your dog maintains the required exercise.
Once again, breed requirements will help you a great deal when deciding if the size of your home is suitable or not.
Indeed, with shelter dogs, you do not have breed requirements to guide you, but these are highly adaptable dogs. So, if you are not planning on getting the dog of a giant and you keep proportions balanced, then you should be fine.
Size matters. Your dog needs to have the right size for your home and your home needs to have the right size for your dog. Shelter dogs fit anywhere.
The right hair
Hair..This is a tough one. No matter how much you love animals, you still can’t get rid of the lint remover from your bag. It’s always there and that’s because no one wants pet fur on their business shirt, right? So, yes, hair is a concern for many owners, but we are just going to say it now. No matter what you choose, long or short, you won’t be getting rid of the lint remover any time soon. So, it’s really just a question of what cleans faster.
You might be surprised to hear this, but short hair is more difficult to clean. For instance, the hair of a Jack Russell Terrier is thicker than the hair of a Border Collie or a Maltese so it gets easily stuck in your clothes and it takes a lot more effort to remove it. However, long hair dogs change their hair rather often.
Either way, you are not getting rid of the lint remover, but you are gaining a friend.
Long or short hair, your dog will leave marks in your home. With a lint remover, it won’t exactly matter.
The right age
The moment a dog enters your home and becomes part of your family is a big deal and not just for you. The dog itself could have mixed feelings about this new step. So, this leaves you with a question. Should you get a puppy or an adult dog? There are pros and cons on both sides.
The advantage of getting a puppy is that you can discipline it as you like. This is a huge deal for most owners, especially those that have children or other pets. It is simpler with puppies because they can be adequately trained, as long as the owner is willing to put in the necessary amount of effort and not give up from the first failed try. It can be a handful, however. Puppies can really push your limits, but they are certainly worth it, as all animals are. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, please know that pups need to stay with their mothers for the first 3 months of their lives, so they can grow up healthy and strong.
On the other hand, adult dogs are great, balanced companions. They are fast learners, especially if we are talking about shelter dogs and they are incredibly grateful. With the help of the rescue staff, you will most certainly find a dog that matches your personality and your needs and those of your family.
Adult dogs versus puppies, which is the right age? It doesn’t really matter as long as you are willing to do your part of the deal and discipline it accordingly.
The right temperament
We are going to let you in on a little secret. There is no right temperament based on breed. There is only the temperament you want as the owner and that is a balanced, mellow personality. You do not want an agitated dog that barks and runs around the house all day long. You want a calm, loving, patient dog that is confident in itself and trusts you completely.
Now, achieving this temperament depends solely on you and the discipline you award your dog with. The lack of exercise and activities will agitate your dog and this is valid for both pure breed dogs as well as shelter ones.
Yes, some breeds are known to be more agitated than others, which only means that they need more work. And since you are the one doing that work, ask yourself how much you are willing to invest, time that is, in disciplining your furry companion?
The right temperament is a mixture of balance and confidence. It is achieved through work, not breed.
The road trip necessities
There are two ways your furry friends can travel, by plane or by car. In any case, your dog will be in need of a crate. The exception to this rule is when you choose a specialized transport service, in which case the vans are specially fitted for the transport, with built-in cages.
The type of crate your pet needs depends on the chosen transport.
If your dog travels by plane, then it will require an IATA cargo crate.
If your dog travels by car, then it will require a normal, transport crate.
You might think that a crate is a stressful manner to travel. However, in reality, dogs feel comfortable in enclosed spaces. And in a way, the transport itself can be a rather tricky experience, so a crate actually plays a great part in comforting the dog during the road trip.
There is no such thing as the flawless manual of picking out the perfect dog. Because on top of breed, hair size, dog size, temperament and so on, there is the emotional connection and that cannot be argued or explained. It just is.
So, adopt, because what you will find hidden in a metal cage in a rescue center will bring you more joy and happiness than any breed in this entire world.
Adopt, save a life and treasure a bond that can never be broken, nor can it be measured in breed or hair length.
Woof, Woof, People!