Everything Animals: Picking the perfect pooch, Part 2
Shelburne, Vermont - March 1, 2011
Adding a dog to your household isn't something to do on a whim. Putting some time and research into your dog search will help ensure that you find the right dog for you and your family.
Last week, Dr. Liam Bisson of the Shelburne Veterinary Hospital gave three good tips to help you start your search:
Get a dog for the lifestyle that you have, not for the lifestyle that you want.
Pick a dog that physically fits your living situation.
Do you want a couch buddy or a jogging buddy?
Once those questions are answered then it's time to get more specific. Dr. Bisson has four more suggestions that will get you even closer to that perfect pooch.
1. Do you want a purebred dog or a mixed breed dog?
"For example, hunting dogs or herding dogs," Dr. Bisson says. "If they've got a job to do then there are certain breeds that excel at that."
Dr. Bisson also points out that many people grew up with certain dogs and may favor a breed simply because of familiarity and fond memories.
2. Do you want to get a dog from a breeder or from a rescue organization?
"Reputable breeders are going to have a clean safe environment for their dogs, they're going to have a track record with their animals and usually only breed once or twice a year to make sure they're concentrating on quality and not quantity," Dr. Bisson advises.
However, getting a dog from a rescue doesn't mean you can't find a purebred dog; there are many rescues devoted to specific breeds. A simple Internet search will give you numerous results. Dr. Bisson says there are also other advantages to going with a rescue dog.
"If you get a rescue dog often those dogs are much older, a year plus, and at that point you're going to know how big the dog is, what its temperament is," Dr. Bisson says. "From my own personal standpoint I think there's a personal satisfaction in rescuing a dog, it's keeping a dog out of the pound, out of the kennels."
3. Do you want a puppy or an older dog?
"Puppies require a lot more intensive energy at the beginning," Dr. Bisson says. "House training, crate training, things like that." Puppy owners must be prepared to invest time in their dog in order to enforce good behavior while the dog is still learning. For the busy person who has their heart set on a puppy rather than an older dog, Dr. Bisson says there are options like doggie daycare.
4. How much are you prepared to spend caring for and feeding your dog?
"Veterinary care is across the board pretty much the same (when it comes to) the size of the dog," Dr. Bisson says. "One of the major variable costs would be food." Dogs are an investment and will need your financial support for their entire lives. Dr. Bisson says if you have concerns over your ability to fund the dog's life, then it might be a good idea to wait before getting that pet.
Once you've answered these questions and hopefully narrowed down your search, Dr. Bisson says it's a good idea to check in with your vet, go over your list with them and get their feedback. They may have some ideas you haven't thought of and more advice to guide you on your search. Then once you have your dog go back to the vet for a checkup so they can meet the newest member of your family.
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