Choosing the Right Dog for your Family
So you have decided that it’s time to find a furry friend to add to your family and/or home of existing pets. A lot of folks choose a pet based on looks, word of mouth, a fad, or may only get dogs they are familiar with. There are many reasons someone goes out to get a dog they want rather than a dog that is compatible for them.
Here are some scenarios to let you understand where I’m coming from:
Judy and her husband John always admired and loved the boxer breed and after their beloved basset hound Bessie pet passed away they decided to adopt a boxer. They find an available Boxer available at their local rescue and quickly go to visit the dog and apply to adopt him.
The dog is a 2 year old young dog with big energy, Judy and John are seniors in their 70’s. Although they say they are active and had walked their previous dog everyday walking and training a young boxer had its challenges. The couple tried desperately to walk the dog but it became too much with the new pup pulling and wanting to run. Since the dog needed training, when the dog got away from them he did not know his new name very well and would only come when he felt ready to come back into the house which took many hours coaxing him back. This left the couple very exhausted.
The senior couple regretfully decided to bring the dog back to the shelter because the new pup had just too much energy for the elderly couple.
Result = Bad Match. Energy level.
The Thomas family is a young family with two kids a 7 yr old boy and 12 yr old girl. The mother always loved the way border collies looked and as a family decided that will be their first dog. They look for border collie rescues to see the types of border collies available and find one they are interested in adopting. The border collie is about 3 yrs old very energetic and smart. When they got the dog home everything seem to be ok and everyone loved playing with the dog. Then summer vacation ended and everyone went back to school and work which left the new dog bored without anything to do. Soon the new dog started to show restlessness, aggression with new people visiting the home and herding family members. They didn’t know why this was happening because they let the dog out every chance she gets and plays with the kids when they get home. Well the behaviors started worsening and after about a month and frustration from the family and dog the new dog was returned to the rescue.
Result = Bad Match due to dog not having a job.
Tammy and her roommate wanted a companion dog to join their home with their 5 yr old Maltese mix Maddie. They decide to visit their local shelter to adopt a 2 yr old shepherd mix. Tammy fills out the adoption application and a meet/greet was set up, they brought their dog to see if the two got along. Maddie was a little skittish and protective of Tammy and roommate but despite her being a little shy they went ahead and adopted the shepherd mix thinking they will work it out at home.
When they got home with the new dog, Maddie became very protective of everything in the house and despite her size she bullied the new dog constantly and the dog was scared to move. Eventually the new dog snapped at the resident dog and they brought the dog back to the shelter.
Result = Bad match due to non-compatibility between dogs.
In all these scenarios a bad match occurred and the animal has to pay for it. Sometimes the dog doesn’t go back to the shelter but may be stuck outside for the rest of its life because the owner doesn’t know how to deal with the dog. Now some dogs just like to be outside dogs and enjoy it but most like to be with its family, its pack.
Some owners unfortunately may bring the dog to the pound which is not a safe environment and could lose their life because the owner did not educate themselves before adding a new dog to the family.
Other times the family will seek help of a dog trainer or behaviorist to find out how to stop the bad behaviors or just how to control their dog. I commend any family that knows and understands that maybe this wasn’t the best choice of dog for their family but takes responsibility to find out what the dog needs in order for everyone to be happy. We don’t always get the “Auto Dog” that just knows how to live in a home environment and do everything right. It’s nice if you do but most of the time it just doesn’t happen. Most dogs need guidance and training whether you purchase a dog from a breeder as a puppy or rescue a dog from a shelter they all need it.
Before you just go out and get a pit bull do your research! Pit Bulls are social dogs and that means you need to be social as well, they also need consistent adequate exercise, socializing with human and dogs, and training to be happy. Once you get the basic training down you can build on it but you can now communicate with your dog and he/she can communicate with you.
Border collies are very smart, and they were bred to herd animals for the farmers. Well if this breed is in an apartment you may have some issues if you don’t give this dog a job to do. He/she will need to be exercised daily like a run or long walk, training is essential and because they are very smart you can easily teach them many commands and tricks. Agility or competition activities are great for smart breeds.
Hounds, beagles were bred to hunt so if you get one make sure you plan on doing something with him/her, constant training, and exercise is needed for this breed. They also like to talk by howling.
Huskies, Malamutes known for dog sleeding need to have something to do. If you take for a walk make sure you train him/her to walk with you on leash or we might see you being dragged down the street as if you are the dog sled.
German Shepherds are working dogs, they need a firm owner to train them and give them a job to do. Rottweilers and Bullmastiffs are very loyal and protective and also need a firm owner to take charge before they do and no one needs a dog controlling its human.
Many breeds have certain personalities and when choosing to bring a new dog into your family please do your research! If you are not very active choose a dog that is low to medium energy or if you’re very active choose a breed that can keep up with you. Also choose a breed that is compatible to your personality weather you’re social, a couch potato or very calm family.
Most rescues try to do their best to match the right family to the dog but sometimes they can even get it wrong but its ultimately the choice and responsibility of the family to choose the pet is right for your family. The point of this article is to choose the right dog that can live happy with you and your family.
Here are several websites that may help you select the dog that is right for your family.
Even after looking at the dog selector websites do some research on your own to find out the history of that breed, and find out which dogs are available at your local shelters. A rescued dog deserves a home but we also want a compatible pet to become a part of the family in his or her forever home.