Advice for Choosing a Dog – Dos and Don’ts

Posted on February 21st, 2018 by FetchMasters in Resources

Choosing a dog requires some thought. And since inquires roll in every week (in the spirit of preliminary research) from people wanting guidance on selecting a dog, let’s put the correct principles into writing and immortalize them.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #1

Do not purchase a puppy because you are having a baby and want the baby and dog to grow up together. Babies are a lot of work, and so are puppies. Space it out a little if possible. Additionally, some older dogs who are temperamentally unknown quantities may not be safe around babies. To learn more about assessing and training dogs that are going to be around babies, contact us.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #2

Do not choose a dog whose energy expenditure requirements are more than you can handle. Doing so will only make you regret your decision to get the dog. We get a lot of calls from owners who cannot handle their dogs’ boundless energy. There are ways to help clients in such situations, but a wiser choice in choosing a dog can prevent the problem all together.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #3

Do make sure you have time to spend and interact with a dog. Dogs are not just pieces of furniture, and they usually are not happy living in solitude. They are social animals who thrive when they are in relationship with you. If you don’t have time for that, try a cat.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #4

Do adopt. Unless you have a good reason for not doing so, please adopt. There are a lot of dogs in shelters who, with a little work, can be your best friend. If you choose not to adopt, do buy from a reputable breeder. Many dogs from pet stores come from puppy mills, whose practices often result in psychologically damaged dogs.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #5

Do be committed to the dog. Dogs are not just an adornment for our houses or a status symbol. They deserve a high level of commitment from us, as they tend to become tightly bonded with us. If you can help it, do not acquire a dog you are not willing to be committed to for the life of the dog.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #6

Do not choose a dog based on looks alone. While good dog training can cure a world of dog behavior problems, a dog’s temperament is hugely important. Dogs can be docile, pushy, resource guarders, happy-go-lucky, aggressive, poorly socialized, fearful, etc. This leads us to Principle #7.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #7

Do consider fostering before adopting. Doing so give you an opportunity to evaluate the dog and your ability to manage and train it. Many shelters and rescues give fosters preference if they decide to adopt the dog in their care.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #8

Do make plans to train early, train frequently, and maintain your dog’s training. Training takes many forms: correct management, teaching boundaries, replacing unwanted behaviors with desirable ones, teaching obedience skills, etc. An untrained dog will figure out how to get what it needs and wants, and you may not like the methodology he decides upon.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #9

Do make sure you can afford a dog in general. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be super-expensive to own a dog, it does come with some expenses you should be prepared for. A few of those expenses are: dog food, regular grooming (for some dogs), vaccinations, occasional maintenance-related veterinarian visits, emergency medical issues (they happen to pretty much all dogs at one time or another), equipment such as leashes and harnesses, dog crates, boarding from time to time, doggie daycare for some dogs, etc. The list goes on, but for most dogs, there is an unavoidable cost of ownership.

Choosing a Dog – Principle #10

Do select the correct dog trainer for your needs. Is your dog going to be a lapdog? A hiking buddy? Participate in some dog sport, such as agility or flyball? All dog training, and all dog trainers are not created equal. In the dog training niche, there is a large spectrum of skillsets, experience, and specialties. You will save money and time by choosing the correct trainer the first time.

Bonus Principle

Do not worry if you have already made some mistakes in your selection process. Most dog problems can be sorted out with a little effort and skill. Feel free to contact us to learn more.