Choosing a dog can be a difficult and confusing decision! Should I get a puppy or an adult dog? Should I adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue organization or should I find a breeder with a litter? What breed is best for me?
These are all important questions especially when you’re considering that this four-legged addition will be around for years to come! It turns out, in my experience, that many folks make their choice based on how a dog looks rather than things like energy levels and needs or temperament and grooming requirements. Therefore, I’ll try to make this easier by providing the following information:
Choosing an adult dog from a shelter or rescue organization can be very gratifying since you’ve provided a home to an animal in need. Also, most adult dogs are already house-broken. In addition, older dogs may require less exercise. This may be a good choice for a person who is unable to walk long distances and doesn’t have the time or desire to potty train a puppy.
However, one must also realize that adult dogs typically come with baggage! In other words, bad habits often not exhibited until after the “honeymoon” period when you’ve already fallen in love. This can definitely be an emotional decision and decisions made solely on emotions can have negative outcomes. By the same token, many bad habits can be eliminated and good manners taught in their place with effective training.
Alternatively, choosing a puppy means dealing with the work of house-braking and crate training. But, this also means that you get to play a big role in setting your pup up for success with good habits from the start. By exposing/socializing your puppy during the critical early weeks when he or she is most open to new experiences can have a huge advantage.
So, if you do choose to get a puppy, then the question becomes: from where?
Again, rescuing a puppy that is already in need of a home is a gratifying and upstanding thing to do. While choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder can mean that you are more assured that your puppy will have come from ‘good stock’ and this can translate to stable temperaments and body structures.
Either way, you’ll want to pay attention to the type of temperament that best fits your personality along with the amount of exercise, grooming requirements and even the size of dog for the space you live in. If you have a small apartment, a small or medium size dog may be more appropriate than a very large dog. If you are a quiet, low energy person, then a laid back, easy going temperament would be a good fit. If you lead a very active lifestyle and enjoy the outdoors, then an active, higher energy dog would be a good match. Finally, if you don’t want to deal with regular trips to the groomer, then a dog with those requirements would not make much sense!
So, when making the decision to get a dog remember that there’s much more to it than simply picking one that is cute or looks like a dog you once had as a child. This dog will become a part of your family for years to come and has needs very different than say, a cat! Dogs, no matter the size or breed, need to be walked and taken care of. So, making a thoughtful choice by asking yourself all the important questions will prove very rewarding!