Saturday, January 9, 2016

Considerations Before Choosing a Right Dog

Dogs are joyful animals that bring companionship and fun into any household, but we must take care of their needs. These include food, shelter, and veterinary care, but also affection and physical and mental stimulation. Before getting a dog, be aware that costs—food, vaccinations and other veterinary expenses, insurance, kennels when you go on vacation—will add up. Consider your lifestyle, too: do you have the time and space to give a dog a stress-free environment for its entire lifetime? Can you cope with a dog and young children? Are you ready to pick up after your dog in public places?

CHOOSING A PUPPY
Everyone loves a puppy! But unless that little ball of fluff with a squeaky bark is a Chihuahua or other small breed, it won’t stay that size for long. Seeing your puppy’s parents will indicate how big it will grow, especially with a purebred dog; if it’s a mixed breed, be prepared for anything. Puppies are especially good for very young children, since they can grow up together, forming a lifelong bond.

CHOOSING AN ADULT DOG
One advantage of adult dogs over puppies is that they have already developed their personalities, so you know what you are getting. An adult dog is also more likely to have been neutered, saving you the expense for this procedure. Puppies will need a lot of your time and attention initially, whereas most adult dogs are already housebroken, for example. On the other hand, adult dogs may have bad habits that need to be corrected. 

WHICH SEX?
There are some points to bear in mind when it comes to choosing a dog based on its gender. Unneutered young males can be problematic when their sex hormones are raging, while females go into heat twice a year, which means extra work for the owner, as well as dealing with advances from male dogs and, potentially, puppies?

CHOOSING A PUREBRED
The advantage of a purebred dog is that you will have a fair idea of its behavioral traits, since these are breed-specific. You will also be able to predict its adult size, how much exercise it will need, food requirements, and so on. Plus, you will receive certification of the dog’s lineage, essential if you want to enter it into dog shows. On the down side, purebred dogs can be expensive to buy, and some breeds have inherent health problems.

CHOOSING A MIXED-BREED DOG
Even if money is no object, you don’t have to opt for a purebred pooch. Shelters are full of mixed-breed dogs (random, unknown crosses) looking for good, loving homes. One of the advantages of mixed breeds is that they do not tend to suffer from breed-related disorders. Furthermore, they often have big, fun-loving personalities. It can be almost impossible to
predict how large a mixed-breed dog will grow, due to its random—and perhaps unknown—parentage.

COATS TO CONSIDER
Some dogs shed more, and others require extra care for example, dogs with long, silky coats need daily grooming to prevent matting, while poodles and some terrier breeds need clipping or stripping, as well as grooming. Grooming is a good chance to spend time handling your dog and checking it over for any health issues.

CONSIDERING SMALL BREEDS
Even if you have decided that you want a small dog—maybe because you live in an apartment—there is still many breeds available to you. As you would expect, small dogs come in all shapes, colors, and temperaments, so there is plenty to consider when picking the right breed for you. Do not allow small dogs to get away with undesirable behavior (growling, food aggression) because of their size. You still need to be the leader of the pack.
  • CHIHUAHUA
    This ever-popular toy breed can be wary of big dogs, but it is outgoing and low maintenance in exercise and grooming.
  • SHIH TZU
    Friendly to humans and animals, this happy breed has a long, thick coat that needs to be groomed every day.
  • PUG
    This small breed needs little exercise and grooming and has a pleasing—if independent—personality.
  • JACK RUSSELL
    This fun family favorite is an active, energetic breed that needs mental stimulation as well as regular exercise.
  • DACHSHUND
    These recognizable spirited dogs seem to be unaware of their diminutive size; their courage is beyond compare.

CONSIDERING MEDIUM-SIZE BREEDS
A medium-size breed is a great choice, size-wise, for the family home. These breeds make up the great majority of dogs that you will see on leashes in the streets and in recreational areas and hiking spots. Kids who are old enough to run around love playing tag and ball games with their similarly sized canine companions, and a real bond often develops between them as the pair grow up together.
  • BEAGLE
    Friendly and anxious to play, Beagles make ideal family pets but need a lot of exercise, as well as a good degree of obedience training.
  • ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL
    This breed is a bundle of energy that needs lots of exercise. It is also quite high in grooming requirements.
  • FRENCH BULLDOG
    Despite looking a little gruff, this muscular, energetic breed is affectionate and dependable.
  • BORDER COLLIE
    Faithful and obedient, this highly intelligent breed needs a great deal of regular exercise and mental stimulation.

CONSIDERING LARGE BREEDS
Big dogs are not necessarily the most energetic, although some certainly require a lot of exercise. What they all need, though, is enough living space, so these breeds are only suitable for those with large houses, ideally with a decent-sized yard, too. Large dogs, in particular, really benefit from obedience training.
  • AFGHAN HOUND
    These intelligent, friendly dogs thrive on mental stimulation. They need a lot of care to keep their coat in good condition.
  • BOXER
    Loyal and loving toward friends and family, this excitable breed needs obedience classes from a young age.
  • LABRADOR
    Great for families, this gentle giant enjoys playtime and needs fairly regular exercise.
  • GERMAN SHEPHERD
    Frequent exercise is needed, but the breed is receptive to training and loyal to its master.

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