One of the great joys of life is acquiring a new dog. Whether it is a lively fun seeking puppy or a mature dog from a rescue centre there is the excitement of collecting the dog and the eager anticipation of the pleasures of dog ownership to come. But how can you ensure a long and happy relationship? You need to learn about dog care and training as well as considering your own situation before you even start looking for a dog.
At HomeAre there children in your household.Do you have other pets.Do you have a reasonable sized yard or garden.Have you considered the dog’s toilet arrangements.Are members of your family prepared to spend time training and exercising your dog.Can you fund good quality feed, some vet’s bills, insurance and kennel stays if necessary
Dog Breeds, Size and Weight
You will sometimes need to handle your dog e.g. grooming, trimming nails, bathing or lifting onto scales for a weight check. Obviously, the size and weight of your dog will make this easy (Chihuahua at 2.70 kg to 3.63 kg) or near impossible (St Bernard at 75 kg to 91 kg)
Exercise is a key factor in maintaining your dog’s health. Small dogs like Jack Russell Terriers will not need as much daily exercise as a working breed such as a German Shepherd.You need to decide how much time can be given to the task. The less time available the more important it is to acquire a smaller dog.
If you like your house to be warm some dogs may find it distressing – a Shih Tzu dog for instance or a dog with a thick coat. If you have an immaculate home filled with expensive furniture, you will need to think carefully about the sort of dog you intend to buy especially if you want a puppy.
Grooming Your Dog
You need to groom your dog on a regularly. Size comes into it but so does the type of coat. A short coated dog is obviously going to pick up less dirt, and mud. and be easier to clean and groom. A muddy dog may require washing. This needs a facility such as an old fashioned tin bath. You could use your shower or even your own bath but it means a lot of cleaning up afterwards.
You’ll find that working breeds, a broad group, including everything from guard dogs to sheep dogs are often more stubborn and tough-minded. Terriers are often bossy and a little aggressive. Hounds are usually relaxed and friendly, but sometimes difficult to train.
Carry out some research into different breed characteristics. Do this on line and ask your vet’s opinion. Dog breeders will normally promote their own breed so they are not necessarily the first people to ask for an opinion.
You will be looking to compare the following points.
Activity and playfulness levels
Affection and Loyalty levels
Aggression (towards people/other dogs/other pets)
Ease of training
Heat and cold tolerance
Compatibility with people and other animals
Some Breed Comparisons:
This breed is good with children and quite intelligent. They can be hyperactive if they do not get enough exercise because they are basically a working dog.
These dogs are similar in temperament to the Labrador but have less tendency to hyper activity
An intelligent dog. It has an excellent temperament. It was used as a hunting dog in times gone by so it is quite tough by nature.
Friendly, clever and not too big, making them suitable as a family dog. They can be over energetic if not exercised. They respond well to firm training.
Busy little dogs that adapt well to children. They are usually of good quiet temperament
The Collie and the smaller Shetland are both calm, gentle and tolerant breeds that usually do well with children. They do need some constructive play i.e. fetching a ball etc.
Very intelligent but it is a big dog and needs exercise and constructive play. It is loyal and a good guard dog. However, a German Shepherd must be properly trained.
Come in all shapes and sizes and typically should not suffer from in-bred temperament faults.
Owning a dog is great fun but you need to think carefully about management before you take on your new “best friend”.