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Dog Friendly Tips: Choosing a dog

Choosing a dog as a pet means introducing a new member to your family. Just like any other member in your family your pet should also be given proper care so your dog can stay healthy and fit.

Your dog requires good food, training, grooming, health care and above all companionship. Some dogs have few requirements while some require greater care. So, while choosing a dog you should consider the characteristics and needs of the breed of the dog.

Research the breed you are planning to keep as pets. Identify each breed's specific requirements and consider whether you would be able to take care of the dog's needs. The following are some tips that you can consider while choosing a dog.

Tips on Choosing a Dog

The Size of The Dog: Make a decision on the size of the dog that would be ideal for you. The requirements of dogs also vary depending upon the size. Small dogs are sensitive towards cold. To make them comfortable you have to always keep them warm. Due to their small size some dogs develop the attitude of a tough dog. So be aware of any negative characteristics you need to address before they become habitual.

Larger dogs require space to roam freely while smaller dogs have loads of energy and need lots of run space. Dogs with a long whip like tail should have enough space to wag it without getting inflicted with any injury.

My father once bred Irish Wolfhounds and we had real problems with the puppies tails as they wagged them in a circular motion, hitting beams and walls, causing them to bleed at the ends. As they got larger they would run up and down the corridors and halls in this large house in Surrey, their tails spinning round and round, hitting vertical beams that stood in the centre of the hall. As they continued with the circular motion, they'd spray blood specks all over walls, floor and even the ceiling in circular sweeps. We tried cigar tins tied to the end of the tails, and eventually my father (a vet) resorted to bandaging their long tails under their legs so they could not move them, until the ends cured.

Some small sized breeds are also quite difficult to be trained and tend to be less willing to come to call, whereas large dogs respond well to commands once trained. Do not treat the puppy of a big dog breed like a small lap dog. It would then retain the habit of jumping on you even when it has become adult.

Consider the level of activity your dog would like. There are many breeds of dogs that do not prefer to spend their energy in high levels of activity. There are certain breeds that would be absolutely ideal as a jogging partner but a Basset hound for example is a low energy dog. A Border Collie needs a more regular schedule of exercise.

No matter the breed, dogs respond well to increased energy levels if they are taken out for a regular exercise schedule.

Consider grooming requirements before choosing a dog. Though all breeds of dogs require some basic grooming as pets, some breeds of dogs need advanced grooming while others require minimal grooming.

Dogs with long fur can suffer ear mites. Grooming helps reduce shading hairs. Dogs with thin hair coats or smooth coated skin shed more fur than the long haired.

The Age of The Dog: Buying a puppy means responsibilities. Provide proper training so your dog loses all the bad habits, such as chewing furniture, as it grows up. Puppies are prone to many accidents. Adult dogs can be a good alternative choice for you.

I always prefer to provide a home for a rescue dog, as this helps such dogs find good homes, but you may have a training or personality issue with a dog that has already been rejected (and may even have been rejected more than once as some dogs may prove too much to handle).

Aged dogs, though not commonly preferred, can turn out to be excellent pets. They are less aggressive and are generally of a lower energy level. But you need to take your old dog to the vet more often than younger fitter dogs.

See more on choosing the breed of dog.

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