A dog is a huge responsibility to take on as a family, even more so if it’s not a good fit. Doing research beforehand is vital to make sure you’re bringing the right dog home. Not only are you risking your family’s safety by adopting a dog whose temperament and personality doesn’t match your own, but it’s also a highly stressful situation for the dog in the event that you have to return him/her to the local adoption center. Here are five tips on how to avoid that:
Determine How Much Time You Have
A busy family wherein both parents are working and children are at school most of the day will have trouble taking care of a needy puppy or a high-energy breed, such as a Siberian Husky or a German Shepherd. Many large dog breeds need several hours of exercise per day and other breeds need to have regular grooming. Determine how much time you can allot as prospecting pet owners. If you have lots of time and live a fairly active lifestyle then a larger breed might be great for you and your family. For those who want to adopt but have limited time to spare, smaller and older breeds tend to be a more compatible companion.
You should also consider the amount of space you have for your new furry friend. If you are in an apartment then a large dog breed might not be the best choice. The larger the dog the more space they are going to need. If you have less space then it’s a good idea to make sure you take time to get your pet outside consistently.
Expect What Costs Pet Ownership Brings
The costs attached to having a dog can reach substantial numbers, especially if you adopt a sickly breed or a senior dog that requires frequent medical attention. Right out of the gate, expect to pay a few hundred dollars for the adoption fees that most rescue organizations and adoption centers charge. Other regular costs would be food, vaccinations, treats, toys, etcetera. You’ll also want to plan for unexpected and hefty vet bills, such as for occasional hotspots and foxtail wounds. You can minimize these bills by securing pet insurance coverage for your dog.
Consider Your Current Household Occupants
Your family might have a newborn who is allergic to fur or an existing pet who is highly aggressive towards other animals. For households with members allergic to fur, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds, such as Poodles, that you should look into. For those with an existing pet, see if you have enough space to keep both pets separated at all times. Aside from your current household occupants, you should also check any household restrictions. For instance, if you live in an apartment building, check with the management if they allow dogs. If so, see if they have any breed restrictions. Oftentimes, breeds that have a higher tendency to be aggressive, such as Pitbulls and Malamutes, are restricted.
Match Your Prospects With Your Lifestyle
Some families are outdoorsy while others prefer a laid back couch-potato kind of weekend. Whatever lifestyle your family practices will be adopted by whichever dog you bring home hence compatibility is important to avoid any health complications on the dog’s part and any hassles on your end. For instance, if you’re adopting a high-energy dog that requires a couple of hours of running every day, make sure you are up for the challenge. Vice versa, larger dogs who are weather-sensitive, such as Bulldogs and Boston Terriers during Summer and allergy months, or those that are low-energy and can’t move around as much or as often won’t be a good fit for those who are always on the road and are always taking adventures.
Consider How Much Training You Have in Animal Behavior
The perfect dog for your family doesn’t always come in the perfect package. Some dogs will have quirks or habits that will require them to be retrained consistently in order to live a balanced life. Consider getting breeds that are easy to train, such as Golden Retrievers, or ones that are smart and quick to learn, such as Border Collies especially if this is your first dog. Avoid taking on dogs who’ve been in traumatic experiences and can be socially problematic. These should be left to families who have professional-level training in animal behavior.
Picking the perfect dog shouldn’t be a one-day process. Most adoption centers have a lengthy process that ensures the right dog is paired with the right family. This minimizes the risk of the dog getting surrendered back by their owner due to incompatibility. To be an effective companion for a dog, families should know what to expect in advance. It’s important to recognize the fact that these creatures are highly intelligent and require the same basic needs that humans do – food, shelter, exercise, and socialization.