Selecting an ideal dog for your family is an important decision that should be carefully thought through, taking into account various aspects. Here's a guide that can help you select a dog suitable to your family lifestyle, preferences, and needs.
1. Assess Your Lifestyle/schedule:
Take time to think about your daily activities, activity levels, living situation and daily schedule when considering which kind of dog would fit best into your family life. Your lifestyle and schedule will determine which type of dog and what age will suit your needs the best.
2. What Size Is Ideal:
To ensure an ideal experience with your new dog, its size must match that of the living space it will occupy. While larger breeds might need additional room to roam freely, smaller varieties tend to fit more readily into an apartment setting and possess big personalities of their own!
3. Energy Levels:
Dogs vary considerably when it comes to energy levels. If your family prefers an active lifestyle, Labs or Border Collies mixes might make for the perfect addition; otherwise consider breeds known for being calmer instead like Saint Bernards.
*Keep in mind that each dog is an individual; breed characteristics provide general guidelines. Take your time, do extensive research, and select one who will become part of the family joyfully and harmoniously.*
4. What Age Group do you want:
Puppy, adolescent, adult, senior—over the course of each stage, a dog’s personality typically changes. Here's a chart with just a few of the pro's and cons for each stage:
Puppy (0-6 months)
Rapidly growing in size, their learning skills, and socialization.
High energy, adaptable to training, cute and playful.
A lot of work. Requires extensive training, teething, frequent potty breaks (every 20 minutes-2 hours depending on how old).
Adolescent (6-18 months)
Transitioning from puppyhood to maturity, testing boundaries, and forming bonds
Easier to train than young puppies, still developing their personality, likely potty trained.
Potential for behavioral challenges and testing the limits.
Adult (18 months-7 years)
Full grown, Has more mature but still playful energy and enthusiasm.
Active and playful, trainable, likely potty trained.
May still have high energy levels, need for mental stimulation.
Senior (8+ years)
Slow paced, showing signs of aging, potential health challenges.
Calm demeanor, appreciative of affection, low activity, likely potty trained.
Increased risk of health issues emerging
*****Please keep in mind that the pros and cons listed are generalizations; individual dogs within each age group can have differing behavioral, health and temperament issues. Breed and size can also influence how dogs experience certain life stages - making it essential to consider the dog's individual needs as they progress through these life phases.*****
5. Grooming Requirements:
Each dog entails different grooming needs. Some require minimal grooming while others demand regular brushing sessions with professional groomers. It's essential that you meet these expectations when determining which type of dog you want to adopt!
6. Speak With Professionals
It can be beneficial to consult professionals such as veterinarians, trainers, and experienced dog owners regarding various breed types for advice on managing them effectively. These professionals may offer valuable perspectives based on their own expertise that may offer helpful insights about different dog breeds.
What advice would you give to individuals or families considering adoption? Leave a comment below.