So you’re walking down the street and you see it -- that adorable, fluffy, little doggie in the window. Instantly your maternal pull drags you toward the pet shop. With every step your heart bargains with your head; should I, (No way!), could I? (Yes way!). You know once you step in the door, you’re a goner and you and that dog are going home together. But the 15-year relationship you’re about to embark on deserves more consideration than “love at first sight.” The following six tips will help you not only find a dog you will fall in love with, they will also help you find a dog you can live with.
- ComPETibility Matters™
For decades, falling in love at first sight has been the most common scenario for bringing a dog home. But every year, four million dogs enter our shelter system because the relationship with their human(s) just didn’t work out. How compatible your own behavior and lifestyle needs are with a dog’s lifestyle and behavior needs is the real key to the success of this (and any) long-term relationship.
2. Every dog is different
While it’s true that dogs of the same breed categories do share certain genetic predispositions (e.g., herding dogs inherently chase things, hunting dogs often have high prey drive, working dogs can be highly focused), dogs are still individuals and should be chosen on individual merit, not a breed profile. Like human siblings, littermates can be vastly different from one another, so always consider individual behavior over breed.
3. Personality size
While it’s clear that a 95lb dog is a very different creature than a 10lb dog, the bigger personality does not necessarily belong to the bigger dog. Many small dogs have mighty big attitudes and many a gentle giant has been overlooked simply because of stature. Be flexible on size when searching for a dog. As long as you and the dog are the right lifestyle and behavior match, size becomes a much smaller issue.
4. Age is just a number
While dogs do age more quickly than humans, healthy dogs remain young at heart, mind, and body well into their senior years. And with so many wellness products on the market today, dogs are living longer than ever before. Given the majority of dogs act like youngsters until they are at least three years old, choosing to adopt an older dog does not mean you’ll miss out on one bit of that puppy love.
5. Who’s training whom?
All dogs need healthy boundaries, but some need more than others. If you’re more comfortable being a playmate than a parent or you’d rather multitask than focus on one thing at a time, your dog needs to be a good match for that training style.
6. Dog parents can have full-time jobs
Dogs are highly companionable creatures that do not fare well when left alone for long periods of time. But with so many new walking, sitting, and daycare services, your dog can be out on the town even while you’re at your office. There are also a lot of pet friendly hotel chains to choose from, so if your job happens to take you out of town, your dog would be more than happy to join.