Choosing A Family Dog

By:  Elaine Poulin, M.Ed, CPT
Founder/Owner, Carolina Dog Training, LLC and Trained By Elaine™

For those of you who are thinking of expanding your family in this new year with four legs and a tail, this one’s for you…

It is very important to consider your options carefully and become educated before making a life-long commitment with a dog. There’s much to consider– including your lifestyle, activity level and environment. Your personality and the dog’s personality should be a good match. In other words, if you are a quiet, soft personality you won’t want a dominant dog who will take over you and your space. Also, do you want a dog that requires regular grooming, lots of exercise so as to accompany your morning runs and plenty of stimulation? And, do you prefer a large, medium or perhaps a lap dog? These are just a few of the things to consider before making a choice.

There are many benefits to adopting an older dog who is beyond the puppy stage especially if you’d rather not deal with housebreaking issues and typical puppy behavior. Not to mention the incredible gift of giving a homeless dog a family.

Alternatively, adult dogs can come with behaviors that were, unfortunately, not addressed effectively as a puppy. In addition, one may also be taking on challenges not yet seen until after the ‘honeymoon phase’ of new home and new dog is over and those unwanted behaviors become visible. This, of course, is not always the case but something to be aware of. That is why choosing a shelter dog that will be a good match for you and your family’s lifestyle rather than the cuteness factor alone are the most important factors in making that so important choice.

Adopting an 8-week-old puppy certainly brings about its challenges. However, there is the benefit of being able to shape and mold desired behaviors at that very important stage of development. Choosing a breeder who can help determine the puppy’s temperment with integrity and experience is a key component to deciding the best match for you.

Information for review including how to choose a breeder as well as the adoption process at the local shelter can be found at the following links: