The day finally came. You're ready and excited for the next chapter in your life: getting a new dog, but do you know what you're looking for?
The search for the perfect dog can be daunting and exciting at the same time, but if you follow some of these (number) great ideas you're on your way to find the perfect dog for your situation.
1. Will the dog need to tolerate young kids?
Not all dogs get along with kids well and this is something you need to bear in mind when you start looking. If you're looking at rescues, make sure to mention your kids and their ages during your initial contact stage.
If you're looking at buying an older dog, make sure they allow you to see how the dog interacts in the sellers home and with their own children before agreeing and don't choose a dog who has had no exposure to kids throughout their life.
Puppies are a bit easier in this regard since they get a chance to grow up alongside your kids and find out how fun & amazing they are.
2. What size can you handle?
This is important to think about now, and not later. What size dog can you physically handle? Some people might be better off with a medium-sized or small dog who can be easier to carry in case of emergencies, easier to rent with, less likely to jump fences. Others prefer a big teddy bear or a big bully breed. It's important to think about the environment your pup will be in (small yard, big yard, tall fence) and take into account what you as an owner can manage.
3. Puppy, young dog or adult fur baby.
Before you start looking have a think about the stage in your life. Do you have the time for a puppy, its training and accidents? Are you able to help an older dog feel at home in their new home?
4. Fur, fur and more fur.
Unless you have managed to find a hairless dog (like this one), it is very likely your new pup will have fur... and regardless of length, most dog sheds. The question for you is how much fur you can actually handle and also whether if you have any allergies. If you are worried about allergies, or not much for a shedding dog, there are luckily hypoallergenic dogs out there. If you don't care about fur and prefer a furry friend; as a Border Collie owner, I can only recommend investing in a good vacuum cleaner! The cheap ones who say they are made specifically for animals won't cut it and after 2 failed vacuum cleaners in our household, we finally gave in and got a Dyson Animal Ball! This post is not even sponsored, but maybe I can save another poor pet owner some time here.
5. Do your research.
Not all dog breeds are the same. Some were bred to herd (like the Border Collie), some for fox hunting (like the Beagle) and some were bred to pull (like the husky). What they were bred to do will shape them throughout their life and an important part of your job as an owner is to understand why your dog might react a certain way. Purina has a pretty good collection of information about the individual dog breeds (see here). If you're still in doubt, make sure to have a chat with different owners of the breed you're looking for. Facebook are full of dog groups and breed-specific groups, some even meet up from time to time which could get you the chance to meet your favourite breed.
If you have decided to adopt a rescue - fantastic! The rescue organisation will be able to inform you of the dog's temperament and got an idea as to what breed the dog is. Listen carefully to the information the rescue gives you and it's still a good idea to research the breed(s) of your favourite dog.