Getting a dog is a huge decision – almost like having a baby. You should be prepared and fully understand what it takes to care for a dog. If you have thought about it and decided that the time is right, congratulations!
There are a few things you might first want to consider before getting a dog, like the breed and size.
In making the decision on the breed of the dog, you should consider what you are looking for in your future pet. Is your pet going to be a playmate for the children or is he going to be accompanying an older person on walks? Do you want your pet to be guarding your house or going on jogs with you? After all, living together has to be rewarding both for your pet and your family.
Size of the Dog
The smaller the apartment or house, the smaller the dog should be. A Great Dane will not feel comfortable in small areas. Some breeds of dogs need lots of attention and space. They are lively and love going out for long walks or run around. They need to be handled firmly and kept occupied.
Dogs do not always look for yards to play in, they enjoy going out for a walk with their master, as they get to meet other dogs and see other people. This is the sort of entertainment they would love.
You must also consider if you are looking for a male or a female (bitch). The characteristics of females and males differ. While bitches tend to be home-loving and affectionate, males are dominating.
Before deciding on a breed, there are certain questions that need to be answered.
• Can you spare time for daily walks?
• If you have children, you will have to ask yourself if the new dog will get along with children.
Once you are clear on this, you can start looking at different breeds of dogs. Many dogs reveal the qualities that are natural to them but are classified as ‘misfits’ because of their behavior. To avoid being ignorant, when looking for a particular breed, it is important to find out the genetic traits that a breed will inherit. Not many people bother to find out about these things.
A Terrier that is living on a farm is highly valued for its skills of killing small animals; while the same Terrier may be classified as “aggressive” if living in the city. Similarly, a Beagle, whose howling can be heard for miles, is a prized possession for a hunter; while it would be perceived as a “nuisance” in an urban environment. There are certain inherent characteristics for each breed which remain the same, but our perception of the dog changes based on the environment. This is the reason it is important to take into consideration the place and other needs.
Most people look at the image a dog will project rather than the behavioral traits. This often happens because of reading books on wonderful dog breeds that add value to a household. If you have read books on dogs, you would have seen big dogs being described as “extremely loyal” and “powerful.” If you buy a dog based on reputation, it can lead to a lot of issues in the future. The royal looking Mastiff may eventually weigh as much as 170 pounds, and splatter drool on the sofas while wickedly eying the cat next door. The Border Collie, due to lack of thrill of chasing sheep, may end up keeping itself amused by chasing shadows and biting the heels of small kids. The unprepared owners are disappointed and frustrated that their long-awaited pets do not live up to their “unfair” expectations.
Factors to Consider
You must select a dog based on real and practical factors rather than imagined qualities. This paves the way to a successful pet and master relationship. The breed of the dog has to be matched to the lifestyle of the owner. Consider physical aspects such as space and emotional aspects such as how you will keep your dog stimulated mentally, so that the dog is happy. A lot of research has to be done before deciding on buying a dog. Do not rely on the information given in books or magazines written by ardent dog lovers, because they may unintentionally exaggerate the good points and not delve much on the bad. Speak to the breeders and owners and get the correct picture. You can check history books to gain more knowledge on the genetic traits of the breed.
Owning a pet is all about being aware of what your future pet is actually going to be like. By understanding the personality traits and breeding, you will be able to take better care of them and form a fruitful union. Next time you see your Terrier digging a hole in the garden, do not punish him, just find something else to occupy him and remember – it is in his genes.