In This Article
- Time commitments and a dog
- Lifestyle demands and the dog purchase decision
- A questionnaire to help you realistically determine what kind of dog you can handle
Lifestyle and Litters:
“A dog is a dog is a dog.” A less true saying was never spoken! Sure, most like dog biscuits and a scratch on the special spot above their tails, but the similarity ends there. All dogs face the world in different ways. Some dogs thrive on human interaction; others prefer an independent lifestyle.
Some love the general mayhem created by small children; others find it less than thrilling. Some see all house guests as long-lost friends; others see them as enemies. Some cherish quiet, solitary times; others will eat your house if you come home too late. What sounds good to you?
In this article, we’ll consider the many aspects of dog ownership. As you read, consider your lifestyle. What breed personality best suits you? If you abhor the thought of exercise, you’d better stay away from very active breeds. A great-looking dog loses her appeal when she’s climbing your walls.
Similarly, if you’re the outdoorsy type, bent on strenuous dog/owner hikes through driving snow and scorching sun, don’t set your heart on a tiny companion dog. She just won’t be up for it.
You’ll hike alone. And if your house functions as the local basketball/swimming/video game/bridge club headquarters, a protective breed might develop career stress trying to keep track of all the comings and goings. The rest of this article helps you take an honest look at your schedule and lifestyle so you can make the right choice when selecting your new best friend.
Do You Know How Busy I Am?
You can see how important it is to think about your life and your personality before choosing a breed. There are lots to think about and many breeds to choose from, so let’s start looking at the considerations.
Some Lifestyles Are Not Suited for Dogs:
I think of one lovely woman who brought her German Shorthaired Pointer to me. At 10 months old, this dog was wild. Granted, this is a high-energy breed, but that wasn’t the least of it. I found out this dog was kept in a crate in a basement 12 hours a day while everyone worked and an additional 8 while everyone slept. The husband refused to let the dog into the house because he jumped and chewed. Though this woman loved her dog, I helped her see that the dog was miserable and the most unselfish act of love would be to find this dog a new home. Fortunately, she agreed.
If you’re a busy person who’s out of the house the majority of the time, the kindest thing you can do is wait until your life frees up some to get a dog.
Schedules and Commitments:
Are you a person with a busy social or work calendar? Dogs need lots of attention, especially when you’re breaking them in or if they’re pups. Just how much attention will be relative to the breed and the age, but all dogs need two to four exercise periods, two square meals, and a good block of love and attention every day.
Certain breeds will need more interaction than others. Unlike guinea pigs or gerbils, dogs don’t accept social isolation very well. You can’t expect them to enjoy sitting in a room all day with newspapers and a bowl of water. But busy people need dog love, too! If you’re an always-on-the-go type, choose an independent breed with a medium-to-low energy level and make time in that schedule for your dog!
If you’re a work-at-home type, you (and your future dog) are in luck. Although your schedule can be complicated and hectic, you probably have the flexibility to pay lots of attention to the new arrival.
A tip for potential puppy purchasers: If your schedule is unpredictable, changing from week to week, you’ll need to plan ahead for your new pup. New puppies need regular feedings and lots of outings when being housebroken. Older puppies can adapt to a more flexible schedule, as long as you don’t forget a feeding.