Choosing a New Dog

What to Consider When Picking Out a New Dog

Congrats on deciding to add a furry canine friend to your family! It’s a big step that requires some research before hand and can many times get overwhelming. Don’t worry though we have outlined what you need to think about and research before hand below to make the whole process of picking out your new 4 legged family member easier on the entire family.

 

  • Basic Questions to ask yourself when you first decide you want to get a dog:

    • What breed(s) am I interested in?
      Then make sure to research those breeds to see if they fit your family and lifestyle and what you want in a companion. Consider things like adult size, energy level, intelligence (will require more mental stimulation), do you have kids or plan to have kids in the next 10-15 years, shedding/grooming needs, common health problems, social vs. stand offish towards strangers, athletic or coach potato, quiet or barks a lot . These are all things to consider when looking at what breed of dog to get both purebred and mix breeds. A few good places to research breeds include the American Kennel Club and the AKC find your match quiz.
    •  Do I want to purchase from a breeder or adopt?
      Good breeders offer bloodline history, first shots, health testing of parents, and meet and greets with at least one parent to name a few. Be careful of puppy mills that produce puppies only for profit. Puppy Mills can come in a variety of forms and are not always large operations. You can learn more about Puppy Mills at the Puppy Mill Project but in general ALL puppies sold in pet stores come from a puppy mill and many puppies sold online where they will ship the puppy to you are from a puppy mill. Also a USDA Certified Breeder DOES NOT mean the breeder is not a puppy mill, in fact most of the time USDA Certified Breeders are a commercial breeding operation. Adopting usually offers a pet that is fully vetted (up to date on vaccinations and spayed/neutered) and you get the bonus of saving a life. Be sure to do your research on both to make sure you are getting your pet from a reputable breeder or rescue/shelter.
    • What vet do I plan to take the new pet to?
      Ask your friends and neighbors to see where they go. Your vet should be knowledgable and someone you feel you can trust.
    • Where do I plan to take my dog for training?
      Do I want group classes or private one on one training? When looking for a trainer look for someone that is certified (there are multiple organizations that provide certification for dog training) and someone that is reward based. Science has shown that using punishment such as prong collars, shock collars, choke/training collars, alpha rolls, pack leader mentality and other outdated methods can lead to aggression and other behavior problems down the road. Choose a trainer that avoids training with these outdated methods/tools. No matter if you get a puppy or a senior dog, training is important to help establish routines and build a bond between the dog and family.
  • Now that you have the breed(s) chosen it’s time to decide do you want a puppy, a young adult, a mature adult, or senior?

    • Did you say puppy? A few things to consider include asking yourself the following:
      • Do you want to adopt, if so are you pre approved and on the puppy waitlist for the shelter/rescue you want to adopt from? Do you want to purchase from a breeder, if so are you pre approved and on the puppy waitlist for the breeder/litter you want a puppy from?
      • Do you have time to let the puppy out every couple of hours, including at night, while the puppy is potty training? And prepared to clean up accidents?
      • Are you prepared for puppy mouthing (puppy teeth are sharp)?
      • Are you able to block off areas of your home easily to limit access as your puppy builds trust and gains freedom access in the home?
      • Are you able to commit time daily to training and exercise (Puppies need a lot of both!)
      • Are you able to work with the puppy to properly socialize it?
      •  Puppies require lots of vet visits in their first year for puppy shots and a spay/neuter if you choose to do so. Do you have a plan in place to cover all the routine vet care for the first year plus any unexpected vet care needs? This may include special savings or pet insurance.
    • Did you say a young adult? A few things to consider include asking yourself the following:
      • Are you looking to adopt from a shelter or rescue or finding an young adult dog that is being rehomed privately?
      • Have you researched the individual dog you are looking at to make sure their personality fits your family and lifestyle? While we narrowed down the breed(s) it is also important to look at the individual dog as traits can vary from individual to individual.
      • Are you able to commit time daily to training and exercise (Most young adults still require a lot of both!)
      • Are you prepared to help with potty training, house breaking or any other training that may be needed as many times dogs in this age group looking for a new home may require some work still in these areas.
      • Although young adult dogs tend to be fairly healthy and only needing routine wellness visits they are also pretty active and can easily come down with an injury like an ACL injury, do you have a plan in place to cover all the routine vet care plus any unexpected vet care needs? This may include special savings or pet insurance.
    • Did you say a mature adult? A few things to consider include asking yourself the following:
      • Are you looking to adopt from a shelter or rescue or finding an young adult dog that is being rehomed privately?
      • Have you researched the individual dog you are looking at to make sure their personality fits your family and lifestyle? While we narrowed down the breed(s) it is also important to look at the individual dog as traits can vary from individual to individual.
      • Some mature adult dogs may have medical requirements sooner than later as this age, do you have a plan in place to cover all the routine vet care for the first year plus any unexpected vet care needs? This may include special savings or pet insurance.
      • Most mature adults have some basic training and are potty trained/house broken. However that may not always be the case. Be sure to discuss with the rescue/shelter/family you are looking to get your new dog from to see what needs the individual dog may have to make sure it fits with what you’re looking for.
    • Did  you say senior? A few things to consider include asking yourself the following:
      • Most senior dogs have had some training and are housebroken with lower energy needs. However that may not always be the case. Be sure to discuss with the rescue/shelter/family you are looking to get your new dog from to see what needs the individual dog may have to make sure it fits with what you’re looking for.
      • Senior pets may require special medical care as they continue to age. This can get expensive and may happen sooner than later with older pets. Make sure you have a plan to cover all the routine vet care plus any unexpected vet care needs. This may include special savings or pet insurance.

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