A dog brings so much joy to a household, but if the dog you bring home isn’t right for you, there will be less joy and more stress. The average lifespan for dogs in general is 12 years, so you should do your research before you bring home your new four legged family member.
There are a number of things you should consider when you go to pick a puppy for your family.
Dogs are expensive. Sure, the purchase price can be several hundreds of dollars but that’s only the start. Vaccinations, food, neutering, and unexpected vet bills due to illness and injury can really affect your cash flow. Even free dogs aren’t free, really.
Larger dogs cost more than smaller dogs. They eat more, and they need larger doses of parasite control and medications. If ongoing costs are an issue, then choose a smaller breed and be aware that even though expenses may be lower, they’ll still need to be covered.
Keep in mind that some breeds have genetic health issues. While responsible breeders do their best to screen for these and prevent them appearing in their puppies, it can still happen. These can be very costly to manage so again, do your homework and learn what conditions your preferred breeds may be prone to.
Are you an apartment dweller? Then a giant breed like a Great Dane may not be for you. Think about a smaller breed that won’t knock over your ornaments or take up the entire lounge room. If you do have a bigger home and back yard, then you have space for as large a dog as you want.
It’s a popular fallacy that herding or working dogs need a lot of space. They don’t need space, they need time. They’ll be happy enough in a small yard as long as you get them out frequently for plenty of exercise. This brings us to the next topic that influences your choice of puppy.
How Much Exercise?
If you choose a dog that needs exercise, and your idea of getting active is walking from the couch to the kitchen, then you’re going to have problems. A high energy dog that doesn’t get walked enough will be bored, and they will make their own entertainment. You’re not likely to enjoy this.
For more sedentary people, a dog that likes to cuddle on the couch all day is ideal. On the other hand, if your idea of fun is running 3 miles every afternoon, choose an active breed that will be more than happy to come along with you.
How much time do you want to spend grooming your dog? Some coat types take more care than your own hair, and this may not work if you have a hectic schedule. Other breeds need to be clipped regularly; you can learn to do this yourself or pay a groomer to do it for you. If you’re a wash and wear type of person, choose a short coated dog that just needs an occasional bath and towel dry. If you’re happy to spend time brushing, combing and primping your pooch, then there are many long coated breeds that would be perfect for you.
It’s easy to see how if you pick a pup that’s wrong for you, the result could be years of unhappiness for both you and your dog. Don’t be in any rush to bring home that cute puppy. Take your time to work out exactly what you need, and you can look forward to 12 or so years of low stress canine love and companionship.