Choosing a Dog to Fit Your Lifestyle - By Dawn Watson, ABC Mentor Trainer & Owner of Brother of the Wolf LLC

Saturday, January 30, 2010 : 12:07:29 PM
Updated Thursday, August 18, 2011 : 9:58:24 AM
So you go to your local shelter and fall in love with a dog. The shelter staff tells you the dog is a 2 year old Poodle-Rottweiler mix. You fill out the application and go home to your 2-bedroom apartment that you share with your wife and baby daughter. Whatís wrong with this picture?
Adopting or purchasing a dog is a 16-year commitment. It includes training, walking, toys, veterinarian visits and the accompanying costs including spaying or neutering, licensing, and much more. But, even before looking for a dog you should do some research on the specific needs of each breed of dog to see if that breed (or mixed breed) will fit in with your lifestyle!
Letís go back to the dog at the shelter: Poodles and Rottweilers need lots of exercise. Can you provide that exercise? Do you have a fenced-in yard? Are you available to walk the dog 4 times a day? Poodles have a high prey drive and Rottweilers are very powerful, often assertive, dogs. Should you attempt to adopt this mixture if you have a baby in your home? Perhaps not. If you do some research on these breeds you may opt to adopt a smaller terrier-mix or a low-energy dog like an English bulldog (or mixture) or a Great Dane (or mixture). (The Great Dane is big but is typically low-energy, although this is not always the case.) Or, how about contacting Greyhound Rescue? Greyhounds are lovely, snuggly animals that only need a place to run once or twice a day. Otherwise, they are almost feline in attitude. All these breeds are sturdy enough for rough-and-tumble play but placid enough to be cuddly!
Whatever your preference, make sure to do the research before adoption; dogs sometimes disappoint their adoptive families because of lack of information on the breed. And they can suffer enormous behavioral and psychological set-backs when returned to a shelter.

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