Did I scare you away with my last post? If you’re reading this, then probably not. Now you’re ready for the next question. How do I pick the dog that is right for me?
There’s a lot of of things to consider when it comes to choosing a dog. Let’s break this question down to help your decision. They are:
Breed Temperament. Your Lifestyle. And Your Expectations.
What is breed temperament? In short, it is a dog's natural behavior.
An example of a breed’s temperament are the Australian Shepherd's tendency to be cautious of strangers. Aussies were bred for farmers to herd and guard their live stock. But now, they live in your apartment with no live stock but plenty of strangers and 'weird' noises from your neighbor next door. They may bark at noises outside of your home due to their temperament and it may seem like bad behavior, but it’s not. They are doing what they were bred for. We can shape them with training to not bark, but realize they will likely bark more than another breed.
Too often new dog owners choose their dog based on looks and popularity. Huskies, German Shepherds, Shiba Inus, Australian Shepherds… these are a few dogs that’ve been trending lately. Amazing dogs, but these are also the most stubborn, independent, active and reactive dogs because of their inherent breed temperaments. Don't pick a dog for it's looks just so you can get more Facebook likes.
Are you more likely to go for a run? Go for a hike? Sit on the couch? Do you have kids? Do you work from home? Or binge watch House of Cards? These are all questions (and there are more) to consider before finding the appropriate dog to match your lifestyle.
Almost all dogs were bred to have loads of energy to work. They wake up? Work. After they eat? Work. Before they sleep? Work.
Huskies, for example, were bred to pull a sled in freezing temperature for hours. If you want to own a husky but spend most of your time playing World of Warcraft or League of Legends, you’re gonna have a baaaaaad time.
Golden & Lab Retrievers were bred to swim and retrieve ducks and other birds a hunter shoots down. So if you have a retriever dog that's misbehaving, do yourself a favor and get a couple ChuckIt! Balls and play some fetch. But if you’re a couch potato, you’re better off with a Bull Dog or a Chow Chow.
Australian Shepherds are not fans of binge watching an entire season of House of Cards.
Here is a great quiz to determine what kind of dog may be a good fit for you.
Your dog’s behavior is reflected on your training; anything they do wrong, is your fault. Sear that into your mind.
Picture yourself sitting in a small room with no TV, no Smart Phone and no Internet. Hell, not even a book. Now picture yourself in this hell-hole for 8 hours. It’s enough to drive anyone mental! That’s the unfortunate reality of a lot of dogs. What would you do after 8 hours of nothing?
99% of dogs who appear to misbehave are releasing pent up energy.
Your dog is bred to be a smart social companion. If your dog makes a mistake, appear to misbehave, it isn’t because your dog is stupid. It’s because you did a bad job stimulating and training your dog. Real dog owners know this, and yes we are judging you when your dog eats his own shit.
It’s ok to be attracted to a specific type of dog based on their looks. Seriously, I get it. We are human and it’s what we do. The reality is, some dogs are cuter than others. But if you have one in mind, do you research on the breed’s temperament and making sure it matches your lifestyle before deciding if that’s the right dog for you.
Are you ready for a dog now? Where should you get a dog? Breeder or adoption? Maybe the mall pet stores? Check back for So You Want to Get a Puppy? Part III for answers.