By adopting a pet, we open our lives to more fun, fur, and friendship.
Humans have grown accustomed to living with canines (as evidenced by research indicating that dogs were domesticated over 15,000 years ago). But before you bring a dog home for good, there are some questions you’ll want to consider. What kind of dog do you want to adopt? Do you have enough time or money to care for a dog? What if something goes wrong?
If you’re wondering how to choose a dog, look no further. We explain all the questions you’ll need to answer in order to choose the right dog for you.
Is owning a dog right for me?
Before you hit the animal shelter, it’s important to consider the basic question of whether or not pet ownership is right for you. Owning a dog requires time, money, and space. Does your landlord allow you to own a dog? Do you have enough money to care for a dog who may get sick or require extra funds?
According to the ASPCA, the total first-year cost of owning a dog is well over $1,000—and that doesn’t include the cost of purchasing your pup. Before you start choosing a specific dog, evaluate your finances and living situation to determine whether now is the right time to adopt a furry friend.
Does my lifestyle influence my choice?
After deciding that pup adoption is right for you, take a look at your lifestyle. Key factors like whether you live in an apartment, have kids, or experience pet allergies can inform the type of breed you choose. For more information on the best dog breeds for your specific lifestyle, check out our advice. By considering the limitations surrounding your lifestyle, you can set yourself up for successful pet adoption.
What is my ideal dog like?
This question is deeply personal, as every pet owner has unique dog preferences. To choose the dog that’s right for you, consider the following:
- Dog age – Do you want a high-maintenance puppy or an older dog with life experiences? Puppies have the “aw”-factor that many new owners are after, and they also provide the opportunity (or responsibility) to train. Older dogs, on the other hand, are often calmer and previously trained. Consider whether you have the time and desire to train an energetic young pup.
- Energy level – Do you want a dog to run trails with or a pup who’ll curl up on the couch? Energy level varies greatly by breed, so it’s important to determine how much exercise you can provide for your pup before you adopt.
- Dog size – Do you want a purse dog or a giant pooch to rough around with? Depending on your stage of life, a specific size of dog may be best. In addition, bigger dogs require more food—though pups of every size can appreciate a good treat. To choose a dog that’s right for you, first decide what size pup is best for you.
- Medical & grooming needs – How much time and energy do you have to spend on a dog with special needs? Some breeds are more likely to experience certain health problems, just as some breeds require near-constant grooming. A long-haired Maltese, for example, will require frequent brushings and trips to the groomer. Understand these requirements before choosing your pup.
- Training ability – Can you devote substantial time to training a hard-to-teach pup? Some breeds are easier to train than others. To choose the dog that’s right for you, evaluate their ability to be trained and your ability to
- Noise tolerance – How much barking can you (or your neighbors) tolerate? Breeds like Beagles are notoriously noisy. Others, like the Basenji, make a chortle noise instead of a loud bark.
- Friendliness – Do you need a dog who will get along well with others? Sure, every dog owner wants a friendly and upbeat pup. But if you have children or another dog already, it’s especially important to adopt a friendly pooch. Determine how important it is for your new dog to play well with others, or whether they’ll spend most of their time with only you.
Saying yes to a dog
Whether you adopt from the shelter or somewhere else, be sure to spend ample time with a pup before saying yes. Play with the dog you’re considering, introduce them to friends & family at the shelter, and listen to your senses.
To choose the dog that’s right for you, your relationship with them means everything. Will this dog fit into your lifestyle? Do they have the qualities of your ideal dog? And, most importantly, do you feel a connection with them? If the answer is yes, this might be the opportunity to open your home to a forever friend.