Bringing a new pet into your home is a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly. There are all kinds of ways to prepare for the arrival of a new dog, like choosing a veterinarian, a brand of food, buying supplies and puppy-proofing the house to keep your new friend safe. But before you get to that point, you need to decide what kind of dog will be the best fit for you and your family.
First, you should decide how big of a dog you want and how much exercise the dog will need each day. If you live in a small apartment, a German Shepherd may not be your best bet. If you don’t like a dog with a high-pitched bark, steer clear of toy breeds. Large dogs can be great companions, exercise partners and family protectors. Sometimes, however, they can be a little harder to handle just because of their sheer size. Smaller breeds are easier to care for in many cases and can be just as loyal, but have the potential to be yappers or nippers.
When deciding on what kind of dog to get, you should definitely take into consideration your potential new pet’s coat. Does anyone in your family have allergies? Go for a shorter-haired breed or one that is known to be hypoallergenic, like the poodle. If you don’t mind stricter grooming regimens, such as daily brushings and regular trips to the groomer, you can look at longer-haired breeds.
Another choice you will have to make when looking to bring a new pet home is whether you will be adopting a rescue animal or purchasing from a pet store or breeder. Both can have their advantages and disadvantages.
Shelter dogs are wonderful animals that have not found permanent homes. They come in all ages, breeds and temperaments. Shelter dogs may be a good idea for first-time pet owners because you can often find a dog that is a few years old and already knows some commands or is housebroken. This can make training your new friend a breeze. Another advantage to adopting from a shelter is that you will be saving a dog’s life! It is also a less expensive option than purchasing from a breeder or pet store.
If you choose to go the route of purchasing a puppy, you absolutely must do your research on the store or breeder. Many pet stores support puppy mills that are cruel to their dogs and often breed puppies for quantity over quality. This means that your dog could develop any number of health problems from poor breeding. Breeders are a significant step above the pet store option, as all reputable breeders will be able to prove the lineage of the pet they are selling you. If you have your heart set on a particular breed and want a puppy, a responsible breeder with references is your best bet.
Whatever type of dog you end up deciding on, make sure to take care in acclimating your new pet to your home and your family members. It may take some time for him or her to get used to the new environment and having new people around all the time. Be patient and loving but make sure to enforce basic obedience. Do your research on the type of dog you take home and your new pup will be an integral part of your family before you know it.