How to choose the right dog for you or your family



Spike: Alert, lively, and prized companion.

By Guest Dog Blogger, Spike

Spike? Is that really me? Why yes, it is!

I am a cross between a French Bull Dog and a Shitzu, and those qualities describe me perfectly as the right dog for my owners.

So what does it mean?

Deciding to add one of my relatives to your home includes not only being financially and emotionally prepared to care for a dog but also selecting a dog with characteristics that will mesh well with your entire family. Dog breeds were created with specific traits in mind, and sometimes those intrinsic characteristics clash with a new dog owner’s expectations.

When new dog owners start to have issues with their pet, it often is due to an incompatibility that you could have avoided with a bit of help.

Marathon running is your passion, and you cannot wait to have a canine training partner. The sight of those massive jowls on an Old English Bulldog makes you laugh, and you can’t wait to add one of these droopy-faced canines to your home. However, you will end up sadly disappointed when the dog you chose cannot handle that amount of exercise due to physical limitations.

A Labrador retriever may very well fit the bill, but even in the same breed and litter of puppies, there is often a wide range of energy levels. You get to the breeders, and the adorable mass of puppies overwhelms you. One, in particular, is intent on being the leader at everything. He is the first to chase the tossed toy, the first one barking and whining when the food pan is put down, and the one who ignores the calls of “puppy puppy puppy” when it is time to go back in the puppy pen. He must be the pick of the litter because he is more energetic and seems brighter than the others.

Fast forward a year, and you are getting ready for your morning run. What once was a pleasurable workout has become a struggle of man vs. dog. Your running partner is bouncing off the front door, grabbing your arm, and barking at the top of his doggy voice. Once you snap the leash onto the collar, that once precocious puppy demonstrates how those traits you admired so much have developed into a pushy, dominant 80-pound adult dog that is set on doing things his way. Maybe this wasn’t the right puppy for you.

Talk to someone who has experience with dog problems, such as your veterinarian or a certified dog trainer.

Take it from me, Spike. When you decide to get a puppy or new dog, research dog breeds and their characteristics. Many of the problems that arise from dog ownership can be avoided by choosing a dog that suits your energy level and your expectations of owning a canine. For experienced advice, contact a certified dog trainer to help you choose the right breed of dog and evaluate your potential new pet.  They will know first hand what the typical pluses and problems of each breed could be.

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