Find a dog friend
Updated: Aug 13, 2018
A dog will always put a smile on your face, will be a great companion, a loyal friend, a loving soul. Enjoy the company of a canine friend, be it a puppy or a mature one but make sure that you ready to get a dog.
No matter your residence and lifestyle, there is a dog breed to fit in. Just make sure you can fully commit to having one.
Here's the dog-owner's mantra, read it CAREFULLY:
A dog is a living thing.
A dog is a living thing.
A dog is a living thing.
If you want a dog because you think it'll look great in that new BMW you just bought at 12% interest, think how much fun it will be when it tears up the leather upholstery so thoroughly that even the repo man is impressed. This isn't like buying a new pair of shoes. It's closer to having a child: A child that doesn't speak English and occasionally eats poop. If that thought sends you screaming from the room, consider another kind of pet like maybe a fish or a plant or a pair of shoes.
If you work from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week, you're going to have a lonely, unhappy dog on your hands. And how do dogs show their unhappiness? In the absence of being able to say, "Pay attention to me, Poindexter," they'll do things like pee on your high school yearbook or methodically eat all your CDs. This isn't their fault.
Here's a little "pup quiz" that will help determine if you are ready to add one more member to the family. Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions:
Do you like dogs?I mean do you REALLY LIKE dogs?
Does the health of your household allow for a pet dog? (allergies, etc.)
Does your building allow dogs?
Are you financially secured?
Are you OK with picking up dog poop,mopping up dog pee, or cleaning up dog vomit?
If you answered "no" to anyone of these, then you're probably not ready to become a dog owner. That's OK though . . . you're still allowed to like them.
Decide on a breed that is suitable for your lifestyle or personality
Getting a pet dog is really a Zen process of self-discovery. You can't know the right dog for you until you know yourself. For example, a jock would prefer an active dog. A lazy slug would prefer a dog that doesn't require much exercise. A touchy-feely person would prefer a friendly dog. A tightly-wound person would probably prefer a dog that doesn't bark or shed too much. Think of picking a pup like choosing a mate; you have to find one that compliments your personality.
Here are some very general guidelines. Of course, we won't list every dog breed on the planet, but they'll get you thinking in the right direction:
Intelligent dogs: Poodle, German Shepherd, Australian Sheepdog, Belgian Sheepdog. Dogs requiring little exercise: Dachshund, Brussels Griffon, French Bulldog, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua or Pekingese.
Dogs good with kids: Pug, English Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Basset Hound, Brittany Spaniel Old English Sheepdog.
Good city dogs Pug, Basenji, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Welsh Corgi, Scottish Terrier.
Quiet dogs Basenji, Borzoi Chesapeake Bay Retriever Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Whippet.
Friendly dogs Bichon Frise, Brittany Spaniel, Old English Sheepdog, Bearded Collie, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever.
There are dozens of breeds and dozens of traits to sort them by. You get the idea. Again, these guidelines are EXTREMELY rough.
To pick up the right dog for you - try going to a dog show or talking to a vet. In our opinion, though, the absolutely best way to research is to talk to friends who have dogs. Believe us; they'll give you more information than you care to know: Sometimes even more than what we know.
In case you didn't realize it, all of the breeds we listed above are purebreds. This means that they are the product of parents of the same breed. To get a true purebred worthy of being in a dog show, you often have to pay thousands of dollars. Because rumor has it that purebred dogs can have personality problems because the gene pool is so small. As a result, many people choose to go with a mutt, a mish-mash of different breeds. Mutts can combine the best of two or more breeds in a one-of-a-kind dog. Having a mutt is like the canine equivalent of owning an original work of art.
Decide what breed is best for your living environment
Now that you've got yourself figured out, it's time to figure out what kind of life you lead.
Evaluate your living space. How much space do you have for a dog? Do you have a fenced yard? What kind of life do you lead? Do you want a great big dog, a little bitty dog or something in between? Sure, that Irish Wolfhound matches your eyes perfectly, but it's not gonna fit into your studio apartment. Conversely, that Chihuahua is never going to be able to navigate your 40- acre spread. It seems obvious, but no matter how well your personality fits a particular breed, you have to make sure that your living arrangements match it too. It would be cruel to keep a big dog locked up all day in a tiny apartment.
Evaluate your schedule. How much are you home? How many times per day can you walk a dog? Some dogs are more independent than others, so if you're not around a lot, it won't do you much good to get a clingy dog. Always remember that dogs get lonely, and if you're gone for days on end (even if the neighbor pops in just to feed it), the dog'll still get depressed.
Anticipate future lifestyle changes. Do you have kids? Will you ever have kids? Are you sure? You don't want to get into a situation where you have to put the kid up for adoption because he or she can't get along with the dog. Better to get a kid-friendly dog in the first place, just in case.
Evaluate your activity level. Picture your idea of a fun time, and be sure that the right kind of dog fits within it. If you love to go hiking, a Yorkie's not going to be able to keep up. If you like sitting and knitting, a Border Collie's going to make your life a living hell. Once again, do your homework. Talk to friends, vets, dog breeders, and trainers to find out which breed is best for you.
Make sure you can afford it!
Whoever said that two can live as cheaply as one never had a dog? A dog isn't going to break you financially, but it is an investment. Over the life of the pet, you can expect to shell out as much money as you would on a decent used car (or a crappy new one). But really, which would you rather have - a Yugo or unconditional love? Be honest.
The actual dog isn't expensive (you can get one for free at your local animal shelter). Rather, most of the expense will be buying dog food. Ask your vet to recommend a brand.
Vet? What vet? The vet that you're going to take your dog to as soon as you get home from the shelter or breeder. Proper veterinary care is non- negotiable. Things like check-ups, shots, neutering or spaying, flea and tick control, and dental care will keep your dog in good running condition. Once a year is all it takes, assuming your pup isn't playing in the street or smoking a pack a day. But it's still an expense, and you should always have a little backup cash handy in case the dog accidentally swallows your eyelash curler.
Other doggie accoutrements that you'll need to purchase include (for starters):
Big, sturdy, stable, unbreakable food dish and water dish
Comfortable, strong collar or harness and matching leash
Current ID tag with address and phone number (really important!)
Solid, roomy crate for transport (many dogs also use them as a safe sleeping place in the house)
Warm, dry, wind-and-waterproof doghouse (but your dear little pup will be an indoor dog, we hope)
So are you ready for the big step?