There are several factors to consider before you choose a dog. Most importantly, examine your current lifestyle and consider what adjustments you are willing to make for a dog. Look at the needs of your family, especially if you have children, older relatives, or other pets.
Next, think about the ideal size, energy level, and age of your new dog. Just remember that getting a dog requires a firm commitment to responsible dog ownership.
You may already know you want a little lap dog that you can carry around, or, you might have your heart set on a large or giant dog breed. If you cannot decide, then perhaps a medium sized dog is a good choice.
Another consideration is the expense: the larger the dog, the more expensive things like dog food, dog supplies and medical treatments become.
Every dog needs routine exercise, so make sure you can provide this. Be willing to adjust the amount of exercise and attention you give your dog if necessary. A dog that is barking constantly, digging up your garden, destroying your home, or acting out in some other way is most likely in need of extra activities. Many behavioural problems are the result of excess energy.
Puppies require the greatest amount of training and attention, especially over the first six months. Be prepared to dedicate much of your time to housebreaking and raising your new puppy. Your dog will likely have plenty of accidents in the house and will probably chew your furniture and personal belongings. These problems will gradually resolve with dedicated training, but patience is a must.
An adult dog might be a better choice if you want to have a good idea of the true energy level, attitude, and temperament of your new dog. Just because the dog is an adult does not mean he is trained, so you should still expect some degree of dedicated training at first. Fortunately, many adult dogs have been trained and socialized to some degree and can easily adjust to their new lives in their forever homes.
Welcoming a senior dog into your home can be a wonderful way to bring joy to the golden years of a dog. Unfortunately, senior dogs are less likely to be adopted and often end up living out their lives in shelters.
A senior dog can make a wonderful companion if you are looking for a lower energy dog. It is, however, important to know that your senior dog needs special attention, more frequent veterinary check-ups, and is more likely to develop health problems that cost time and money to address. Unlike a puppy or adult dog, you must know that you will not have as many years with your senior dog. If you are willing to accept the responsibilities, consider adopting a senior dog. It can be one of the most compassionate things you can do for these precious creatures.
The APROP volunteers can give you guidance on all of these factors and also give you information about the characteristics and personalities of the dogs available to help you determine how suitable they may be for you.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever dog you adopt, it should be a rescue dog. ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!