Dogs, like people, have wildly different temperaments and needs and they have different needs from pet grooming supplies to training techniques. This makes them not only unsuitable for certain environments but can also make it impossible for the dogs to have the types of relationships with their owners that make having a dog such a special experience. As such, it’s always vital that you pick a dog that’s the right fit for your health and lifestyle before you commit to adopting a dog. Doing so is not only going to make your life easier, but it’s going to improve your future dog’s quality of life.
It’s always a good idea to start by being honest with yourself about what kind of experience you want to have with your dog. While it’s lovely to have an aspirational goal, it’s often much more useful to think about where you are in your life right now before you commit to a specific breed. This means not only thinking about exactly what you’re looking to get out of adopting a dog, but realistically what you’re going to be able to do with a dog given your own limitations.
Some people are just looking for a lap dog, and that’s fine. Others need a pet who is going to be able to help them with issues as varied as panic attacks and insulin level management or some executive protection dogs. You need to know exactly what you expect your dog to be able to do for you, as well as what you’re going to be able to do for your dog before you even start thinking about which breeds are going to be the right fit for your home.
Think About Activity Levels
One of the most important things to think about when looking for a new pet is the activity level that you’re going to be able to deal with. There are some dogs out there who only need a few brief minutes of time outside every day to stay happy, while others are going to expect to run for miles. If you’re not willing to give either of these types of dog what they need, you’re going to end up frustrated with your dog and with an unhappy and unhealthy pet.
Again, it’s a good idea to start by thinking about where you are right now. Are you comfortable with the idea of going for multiple walks per day? If so, you might not mind getting a breed that’s a little more active. Are you happier with the idea of letting your dog burn off most of his or her energy outside alone? In that case, your goal should be to find a breed that’s a bit more independent. Even those who would prefer a dog who is a little more sedate will have to understand that their own time out of the house might be limited by a lapdog who always needs a person around.
Understanding Both Your Needs
It’s important to remember that you’re not a bad person if you can’t meet the needs of a specific breed. Not everyone is cut out for having a giant dog like a Saint Bernard, for example, even if those dogs are quite personable. You have to be able to stop and think about whether you can give a dog the space, attention, and exercise that he or she needs to be happy. Doing so will ensure that you are able to maintain a great relationship with your dog and avoid some major health problems at the same time.
You also need to think about whether there’s something special you need from a dog. If you’re looking for an animal who can provide you with emotional support, for example, you’re probably better off looking at a dog that has an amicable demeanor and loves to be around people. If your goal is to find a dog who is going to be able to compete in dog sports, though, you’re going to want to stick to those breeds who tend to be more athletic and who have a history of winning events.
The Environmental Question
The environment is another important thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for a dog breed for your health and lifestyle. The place where you live is incredibly important – after all, not every dog is capable of living in an apartment, while other dogs might not be safe living in wide open spaces that don’t have clear boundaries. If you’ve got limited space, giant breeds and dogs who need a ton of exercise might be off limits. Likewise, those with a great deal of room for dogs to roam might find that dogs who love the outdoors are a better fit for them.
It’s also a good idea to remember that the people in your household are going to be part of your environment. While most dogs can be socialized to be safe around people with at last some level of supervision, it’s not always a good idea to combine certain breeds of dogs with small children. Likewise, it may cause problems if you’re trying to house a dog who has a high energy level in a space that is also home to an individual who could be negatively impact by the dog’s activities.
Finding the Perfect Dog
It’s never a bad idea to start by looking at those dogs who are all-around good picks. The poodle, for example, is a breed that’s available in several sizes, tends to be good with people, and can live in a fair number of environments while also working as a support animal. Even if you don’t choose a dog who can do it all, though, there’s probably a breed out there for you. Simply be honest about your lifestyle and your activity level and you will be able to find a dog who will be able to become the companion you need.
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