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How to Choose the Right Dog for You!

So you and maybe your family have decided that it is time to add a new dog to your home, and there are so many to choose from. There are so many questions that by answering you can better narrow down the perfect match for you.

I remember, just like many before me, walking up and down rows of kennels at a local shelter thinking that I'd know the right dog when I saw it. I actually got extremely lucky and the shelter recommende a dog for me who ended up being absolutely amazing! That was my first dog, some of the rest, I wasn't so lucky and ended up being very surprised by the types of dogs I ended up with (I love them all the same). Once I became a professional dog trainer, I realized that there could have been so many signs that would have told me well ahead of time what I was going to be getting into each time I brought home a new pup.

First, its important to ask yourself, why do I want a dog and for what purposes. Also, this is where it is important to be honest with yourself. If you think that you want to be more active and get in shape, and getting a high drive or high energy dog will "force" you to be more active, you may end up not having enough energy to manage your new dog and just begin buidling frustration or resentment. So, based on your current lifestyle, you should choose the type of dog that will match you just the way you are. You can find a low energy dog and together work towards being more active, but don't expect your dog to be your fitness coach. If you want a dog for a specific job, such as a hunting dog, or you want to volunteer for therapy work, or you would like to have an emotional support animal, choosing the right breed or breed group and temparement is very important, but we'll get to those later.

Once you've really narrowed down why you want a dog and what you envision that this dog will be doing, now its time to decide where you are going to start looking. There are many options including shelters, animal control, rescues, breeders, and breed specific rescues. If you are a first time dog owner, you may have a romantic notion of how wonderful it will be to raise a puppy! Well, there is a lot of growing pains that come along with raising a puppy, and if improperly done a lot of issues that could develop as a result of improper puppy rearing. For example, if you work full time and expect that you will need to leave the puppy unattended or in a crate for 5 or 6 hours or more during the day, this can be exceptionally detrimental to potty training habits will into adulthood. However, if you find a mature dog of 2 years or older, leaving them alone for 5-6 or even 8 hours is probably something they've experienced before, and shouldn't be a problem for most dogs.

So you've decided what age of dog you want, puppy or adult or somewhere in between. But we still haven't even talked about where to go... You don't have to believe in the "adopt, don't shop" slogan used by the "anti-breeder" community, but there is nothing wrong from finding a mixed breed dog at a local shelter. On the other hand, reputable and ethical breeders do provide genetic and health testing for their litters, and many do temperament testing on the puppies to better select the perfect pup for potential adopters. Regardless of whether you go to a breeder or a shelter or a rescue, it ultimately comes down to the temperament of the dog. When I got my first dog from a local shelter, I did not realize how lucky I was to find a pure bred rough collie.

Now if you have your heart set on a specific breed, but aren't entirely sold on the idea of spending well over $1000 dollars to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder, you can also look for a breed specific rescue in your area. If you are still set on a getting a puppy, breed specific rescues occassionally have puppies to offer, but will not adopt them out until they have been spayed or neutered in most cases. Also, most rescues will not adopt out puppies if this is the first time you are adopting a dog, specifically in that breed or breed group. You can often find an adult or young adult dog who is up to date on shots, and spayed or neutered, and it is all included in the adoption fee.

So, the most important thing to really examine when meeting and choosing a new dog is temperament. A professional temperament test can help identify many of the common canine behavioral issues that could present themselves well after you've brought your pup home. If you go to a local shelter, they may be able to tell you which dogs don't get along with other dogs, which ones are more active than others, and which ones really enjoy the affection from humans, but as far as the problematic behavior problems, they don't have the time to dedicate to test every dog at the shelter. A professional temperment test can identify different types of resource gaurding, food aggresssion, territorial aggression, fearfulness, phobias, and any potential of bite risks.

If you are interested in assistance with choosing a puppy for your family, call us today and schedule a trip to the local shelter, or allow us to get you in contact with a local breeder that has been verified. Like always, we are always here to help with all of your canine needs.

Just got a new pup? Ask about our puppy programs! Here's a picture of Breaux-dog for attention.

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