Choosing your Fido
Dogs are for life. Think carefully. Choose wisely. Love Deeply.
So you’ve decided you’re definitely ready for a dog (you did think seriously about this, right?). Congratulations!
Your new best friend is going to take up a big part of your home, your life, and your heart. If you do it right, dog ownership will be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Or it can cause heartache, stress and expense if you don’t think it through and adopt or buy a dog that isn’t right for you. So let’s make sure he or she is going to fit right in.
The Fido for your lifestyle
Dogs come in many shapes, sizes and temperaments. Here are some general considerations to help you decide what kind of dog would fit best in your life and your household:
Why do you want a dog – for companionship, protection, a running/hiking pal, to participate in dog sports like agility, obedience, tracking, etc.?
Are you a couch potato or an active, outdoorsy person? Some dogs need several hours of substantial exercise every day. Lack of exercise and stimulation is a very common cause of behaviour problems resulting from the dog’s frustration. Note that size doesn’t always dictate energy level – some small dogs need far more exercise than many giant breeds.
The dirt factor
Can you tolerate lots of hair and goober around your home, or are you more of a neat freak? Will you be happy to brush a hairy beast every few days or would a short-haired Fido with minimal grooming needs suit you better?
If this is your 1st dog, you need to be realistic about what you can handle. Some breeds are not well suited to novice owners; many of the guarding breeds, some herding breeds and even some small dogs like Jack Russells can be a handful.
Do you have enough car and living space for a large dog, or is a little one more your style? (Just remember that small doesn’t always mean less energy.)
Do you like a dog with a mushy, needy personality? A more aloof pooch? One with a tougher, protective attitude?
Do you or a family member have allergies? If they are mild and don’t rule out the possibility of having a dog in your home, you may want to look for a hypoallergenic dog.
Thinking about these needs and having a concrete idea of what kind of qualities you are looking for in a dog will help you decide whether to get a puppy or an adult dog, and what breeds or mix of breeds might be best for you.
With those considerations in mind, now you’re ready to ask yourself: