How do I choose a dog?
Having decided that you want to extend your family with a dog, the next choice - what kind of dog will suit you - can be a difficult one. So answer these five questions, then read on!
First 5 questions:
- How often am I not at home, and what will that mean for a dog?
- Do I want a quiet or an energetic dog? Looks or character?
- Am I looking for a puppy, an adult dog or perhaps even a more mature animal?
- Do I want a dog that can already do everything or is it okay if he still has a lot to learn?
- Am I physically strong enough to handle a big dog?
Attention and time
But perhaps the most important question is the one you should be asking yourself: are you sure you’ll have enough time and attention for a dog? As much fun as they may seem – and are – a four-legged friend can also be a handful. Count on the fact that, irrespective of size or breed, every dog needs to go outside at least three times a day. And we’re not talking about a quick pee outside your doorstep either, but a few good walks of at least 30 minutes each. And this also means every day, come ran or shine. If, like most people, you work mostly away from home, you’ll need to consider to what extent you can organise your working hours around your dog. Let’s face it; it’s fair to assume you’re not getting a dog because you want to leave him at home by himself for hours on end. Then you’ll need to think about things like holidays and weekend breaks. If you’re lucky, you might be able to count on friends or family to care for your new companion. Or perhaps you see no problem in bringing him to a pet guesthouse every now and then. And while nobody can look into the future, you should also take a moment to think about your longer-term plans. Like having children, for example. Or perhaps a move is on the cards, maybe even abroad? Along with joy, bringing a dog into your home also involves a great deal of responsibility. After all, if all goes well your new friend will be with you for a long time to come.
Bear in mind that if you opt for a bundle of energy you’ll be signing up for more than just good company during the occasional walk on the beach. No, you can assume that he’ll need an effective outlet for all that energy on a daily basis. So think about enrolling him in a dog school, for example, or doing an agility course together. But when choosing your new companion try to look a bit further than the obvious. And by this we don’t just mean making sure he’s of good character – which is always a welcome bonus, of course – but more along the lines of not being blinded by his luxurious coat and realising that because he’s been bred as a sled dog he might not be the world’s most sociable creature.
DOA Puppy Evie
Do you want to adopt a puppy?
Thanks to their endearing movements and unbridled delight and energy, having a puppy in the house is always a joy! A down side is that it also means having to put up with a degree of carnage at home. Your new parquet floor will be put to the test by those accidental puddles, for example, and your expensive designer shoes will no longer be your pride and joy if the little fella tests their resilience by sinking his teeth into them! Suddenly, a training course no longer seems like a luxury. And we haven’t even got started on getting the little urchin house-trained. That’ll keep you busy for many days, and nights – with having to get up a few times in the middle of the night being the rule rather than the exception. A puppy is very much like a child – so cute, so adorable, but so much work! And that will, at the very least, be the case during the first year. If, on the other hand, you opt for an older animal you might have to limit walks to shorter distances. You’ll also have to accept that you might have to carry him occasionally if he’s struggling, and that he’ll be increasingly susceptible to minor or major physical limitations.
Every dog is differtent
Supposing you’ve lost your heart to an adorable but poorly trained dog from the animal shelter. Well done you, but prepare yourself for some work. It won’t be self-explanatory to such a dog that he shouldn’t pull on the leash, for example. And if he’s unable to stay at home alone for more than an hour, this is something you’ll need to increase gradually. While one dog might grasp new rules very quickly, another will need a little longer. There’s no way of knowing in advance.
Finally, bear in mind that when fully grown, a medium-sized dog can easily weigh 30 kilos. With an animal of that size pulling on his leash you’ll need to be able to offer some real resistance