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Tip of the Month

12/24/2008 Choosing the Right Type of Dog for You and Your Family (Part 1)

Owning a dog is an incomparable joy that many people are fortunate to experience. According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63 of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 71.1 million homes throughout the country. There are also approximately 5 million dogs in Canada. Thus, many people in North America are familiar with the benefits (and responsibilities) of dog ownership, and many dog owners responsibly seek dog training from a professional. If you are thinking about adopting or purchasing a puppy or dog as a cuddly confidant for you and/or your family, there are several things to consider.

Before considering which breed, size, and age that your new canine companion should be, you should first determine if you can reasonably provide for a pet. If you’re on the fence, a professional animal trainer can help you make an informed decision. To begin, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Can you afford the necessary maintenance for a dog, including plenty of food and treats, training sessions from a Certified Dog Trainer, supplies (collars, leashes, toys, bedding, crates, etc.), veterinary bills (for immunizations, spaying/neutering, routine check-ups, and potential emergencies), grooming (especially for dogs with fancy-trimmed coats), and anything else that may arise in the dog’s lifetime?

2. Realistically, do you have sufficient time to devote to your new dog, including animal training, attention, exercise (going for walks, playing ball, trips to the park), and general care?

3. Do you have sufficient energy to do all of the above?

4. Do you live in a place where you’re allowed and able to have a dog? (Note that some apartments, condos and rented houses have a “no pets allowed” policy.)

5. Do you have a yard? Is your yard secure enough where your new canine will not be able to escape? Do you have a pool, and is it gated?

6. If you must leave the dog at home for several hours during the day, is there a safe place where he or she can be kept or is there anybody (such as your animal trainer or pet sitter) who could check on or spend time with him or her? Also, if you take frequent vacations or have to travel for work and are gone for extended periods of time, do you have somebody to watch after the dog while you are away?

7. If your dog has or develops a behavioral issue, will you have the persistence to fix it (with assistance from a professional dog trainer)? Note: the most common reason why dogs are relinquished to shelters is due to unresolved behavioral issues. Dog training is essential and crucial for every dog and owner.

If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, then you are a good candidate for dog ownership.

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