I just saw this great graph on the benefits of owning a dog that I posted on my Facebook fan page. That’s something that everyone who owns a dog knows but how do you get to that place. For those who want to get there first dog, where do they start?
My FB fans had some really good advice so I thought I should pass it along. There are a few simple things that people can do who want to get a dog that is best for them.
First, a first time dog owner need to evaluate their life and do their research to see what kind of dog is best for them. People sometimes “shop” for a dog based off of looks or ideas from movies. This isn’t the best way to start. You need to decide what will work best for you and then look to see what kind of dog will fit your lifestyle. You need to be honest too. Are you active or a couch potato. The better you know yourself, the better match you can make with your future best friend.
You can do some great research either online or at the library. Places like dogbreedinfo.com or even Animal Planets Dogs 101 can help you narrow down breeds that might work. There is also more than just how the dog will act but how your life will change. Knowing proper pet care and your responsibility as a pet owner will make you and your dog much happier. Know the laws for your town too. It can save you to know how pet friendly your town is as well as the best places to bring your dog.
You should then research what rescues there are around you, and I’m sure there are plenty. More than you might think. Petfinder.com is always a good place to start but you’ve got to go visit and take your time when you do. You’re making a decision that will change your life as well as the dogs so make it wisely.
On thing your research won’t tell you is how a mutt’s personality will be. You can do all the research about breeds but ones they start mixing, it can go many different direction. The rescues do their best to determine what the mix of a dog is but they see so many and try to save them all so often they will miss the mark. That’s why you need to go and spend time with the dog.
The other thing to consider is that when a dog is in a rescue, they might not show their personality. They could be scared or come from a bad situation and you won’t know the full personality for as much as a few weeks.
That’s why it can also be really important to get a good dog trainer. A good dog trainer isn’t just training the dog, they are training the dog owner. A good dog might just need to know how to act and good dog trainers know that.
The most important part is committing to your new pet. Everything you give to your dog, you will get 10 fold in return and you will be so much happier. It’s a big responsibility that shouldn’t be decided lightly. This will be a life long journey for you and your dog which will come with the highest highs and the lowest lows but with all the benefits of having a dog in your life, you will be so much better for it.