, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When you begin thinking about getting a new dog or puppy you need to consider how that pet is going to fit into your household.

Just like people, each dog is different.  Breeds can tell you general information about a dog but it can’t tell you the exact personality of the dog you choose.  Even if your breed research says that a certain breed is perfect for your needs, it might not be.

I’ve seen lazy Weimaraners and energetic Basset hounds.  Both of these go against the general information you will find in your breed research.  My Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix Scully is also a great example.  Both of these breeds suggest that he should be a nervous little thing.  Instead, he’s a calm little guy who loves being a lap dog.

However, breed characteristics, although generic, are breed characteristics for a reason.  In general, they can be very accurate.

Your first step to your new puppy or dog is to take a real look at your life and the lives of others in your household.  Make a list of the activities you and others in your home like to do.  From there, you can really begin to picture the dog how that will fit into your lives and make them even more fulfilling.

For instance some activities you might want to consider are:

  • Jogging:  do you want a dog who can go jogging with you every day?  You will need a dog who has the temperament and the energy to go jogging with you.  A dog in the toy group would be a bad choice.  A dog with short legs like a corgi would also be a bad choice.  If you jog long distances, a smaller dog might not be able to keep up with you.  You might want a dog in the herding, sporting, terrier (possibly, depending on your distances), or working groups would be a better.  You also want to consider the individual dog.  You will want a high energy dog.  A dog that wants to run not sit on the couch most of the time.  You want a dog that will enjoy the activity as much, if not more than you do.  Breeds that come to mind initially for me would be:  german shepherd, the larger spaniels, and Dalmatians.
  • Reading, writing, or more sedentary activities:  If you are primarily interested in activities that are calmer you don’t want a dog that craves to run.  You want a dog that will be happy on your lap or in his dog bed beside you.  The toy group might be a good place for you to begin looking.  Poodles might be a good choice.  Yorkshire terriers or silky terriers might be appropriate.  You might want to look at breeds in the non-working group as well. Basset hounds also might be a good choice if you are looking for a dog to be with you but not on your lap.  They are a little to heavy for laps, at least mine.  Keep in mind that small dogs still need exercise, but that can be gained from short walks in combination with play sessions inside your home.
  • Families with children have two things they must consider.  First you must consider your lifestyle and what types of dogs will fit into that lifestyle.  Next, you must make sure that, especially with young children, your dog has the temperament and physical ability to play with your children.  This is really a strong concern only with younger children who might forget how to play nicely with the dog.  You will have to supervise your child with your dog at all times when he is a puppy.  As he ages and your child gets used to the dog, less supervision will be necessary.
  • Gardeners may have a tough time with dogs.  There are many plants that can be poison to dogs.  If you want your dog to be able to go with you on your gardening pursuits your garden needs to be totally free of anything that can hurt him.  If you want to garden without your dog, you need to make sure that there is absolutely no way that your dog can get access to your garden.  That includes digging under the fence, jumping over a fence, and an almost unlimited number of other tricky possibilities.
  • Grilling and outdoor entertaining should be an activity that you should be able to share with any well-behaved dog.  You will need an outdoor tie out or over the shoulder leash (they are actually quite comfortable) if you don’t have a fenced in yard.  Your dog will also need to be trained well so that if you need to call him off a guest you can do so politely with only one request.  You don’t want to have to yell at your dog and you don’t want him pouncing on everyone who walks in the front door.

Moving forward, make a list of your daily or weekly activities and begin to think about how you want your dog to fit into those activities.  This will give you a better idea of what you are really looking forward to in a dog.

As always, I’m here to help.  Leave a comment and I’ll help you go through your needs, and recommend some possible breeds for you to look at.