There are many factors you should consider when choosing a family dog. Brining a dog into your household is one of the most exciting things and an experience your whole family should enjoy and this is why it is very important that you do your research properly in order to be able to choose the right dog for your family environment. Properly educating yourself to make the right choice can make the difference between a successful and enjoyable experience and a disappointing experience that may leave your family fearful of dogs for life.
Before deciding on the perfect family dog for your household you should decide who the primary care giver will be. The primary care giver should be someone who is at home a lot of the time and who has the time to care for the dog. Caring for a dog doesn’t only mean feeding him; dogs are social animals and require a lot of attention as well. If you travel a lot you should reconsider getting a dog unless someone can take care of him while you’re away. Are you an active person or a couch potato? All these things will influence the type of dog you ultimately choose.
If the primary caregiver is a child you will have to have a serious conversation with them about responsibility and what taking care of a dog entails. Make sure the child understands that this is a lifetime commitment and that he or she will be responsible for the dog’s needs for the rest of its life. The child should understand that even when the novelty of owning a puppy wears off, the dog will still need to be given a lot of attention and care.
If the caregiver is a senior you should decide if they are physically able to take care of a dog, and if so then you may consider a smaller breed dog or a breed that is easy to handle. Take some time to visit nearby shelters to get an idea about the different sized dogs available for adoption. Talk to the shelter staff and try to learn about different breeds of dogs and their different traits. Just because a dog belongs to a breed known for its manageability doesn’t necessarily mean even dog in that breed is manageable – dogs are individuals with individual personalities. Don’t take home the first dog that manages to tug at your heartstrings, keep in mind that the dog you choose to take home will rely on you for the rest of its life, so make your choice wisely.
If your family is the outgoing type and you enjoy participating in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, you should look for a dog that you can include in your hobbies. Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds make great companions for active dog owners. These dogs make great pets for households with athletic, young adults as they love to play and exercise vigorously. Some of these dogs also enjoy swimming, so if you like swimming these are good dogs to own. Spaniels are very active dogs as well but require regular grooming as they have long haired coats.
If your family is active but you’d prefer a smaller sized dog, terriers are very active little dogs. Jack Russell terriers are known for being hyperactive and as is the case with most dogs in the terrier group, they need a lot of exercise to remain healthy and happy. Chihuahuas make great pets for senior citizens because of their tiny sizes. They enjoy sitting on their owner’s laps while they watch TV or knit and they are of a very easy to handle size. Chihuahuas also make great little watchdogs as they will alert if a stranger approaches the door.
If you’re a fan of big dogs, there are quite a few you can consider such as the Pyrenees or Akita. These are impressive dogs but are high maintenance due to their long haired coats. If these dogs aren’t groomed on a regular basis they are prone to developing skin conditions. Bernese Mountain dogs and Saint Bernards are massive dogs that enjoy light exercise and love to lounge about. Due to their slow, laid back natures, they may not make the ideal pet for households with teenagers or very active children.
Poodles make great family dogs and come in all shapes and sizes. They are a highly intelligent and easily trained breed and you can find the perfect poodle for almost any type of lifestyle. There are even tempered individuals as well as hyperactive poodles so you’ll need to spend some time with a poodle to determine if its personality will suit your household. Poodles require professional grooming however, and you should keep this in mind before getting one.
The more you educate yourself about the different dog breed available and their traits, the better you’ll be when choosing your new dog. Read about breeds you like and try to learn about their particular traits as well as any health issues they are predisposed to. The last thing you want to do is bring a dog into your home only to discover he may develop a genetic condition that will end up breaking your heart. Try to visit breeder’s kennels to learn more about a breed you like. Reputable breeders have no problem educating prospective customers about their dogs.
Read all you can about the breed of dog you’re considering to decide if it will be happy in your household and if your family can provide it with the care it needs. Some dogs have different requirements than others and you should pick a dog that will fit into your particular lifestyle. If you’re a laid back person who spends more time indoors than out you shouldn’t choose an active breed to bring into your household. Spend time with a dog you’re interested in to learn more about its personality, you wouldn’t buy a car without inspecting it, would you? The same applies to pets. Remember that owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and one you shouldn’t take lightly.