Selecting the Right Dog
• Research a variety of breeds so that you know their common characteristics. Even if you are looking for a mixed breed, know what each of the breeds are like.
• Assess how much time and money you have to spend on your new dog. Breeds with large grooming needs will require regular trips to a groomer. Some breeds will need a lot of exercise and a lot of time from you. Some breeds are more assertive, such as terriers or working breeds, which are likely not the best choice for new dog owners or will require more time.
• There are no guarantees that a dog will exactly match how most of the breed acts, but research on breeds will help. For example, you might learn that herding breeds, such as Shetland Sheepdogs and Border Collies, have a strong inclination to herd livestock, are bred to run and work for hours at a time, and will use barking, nipping/biting, chasing or a combination of all of these to control their herd. So, if you live in an apartment or have small children who take up much of your day, a dog that requires abundant exercise, loves to bark and chase small moving objects is not going to fit for your current lifestyle. You might instead want to consider an older dog with a mellower personality that will mesh well with your children and your household.
• You should also decide on whether you have the right lifestyle for a puppy or an adult dog. House training, basic training, socialization, and “puppy proofing” your home will take much time, effort, and patience on your part. If you have a busy life, then a puppy may not be the best choice for you. There are many advantages to taking home an adult dog, such as the likelihood that the dog is already house trained as well as may have had some training from the previous owner or owners. Also, an adult dog already has a developed personality that you can observe and the adult dog you acquire may not require the same amount of physical work as a puppy.
All dogs need basic medical attention, training, grooming and exercise.