Now that the holiday season is upon us, many people are thinking of gifts and how nice it would be to have a fluffy puppy under the tree. On the other hand, there may not be much thought as to what it takes to have a puppy, let alone finding a place to purchase one. Often times, people choose a dog based solely on its looks alone, neglecting to consider what breed would be best suited for their family’s life style.
Many dog trainers have common, reoccurring experiences with new dog owners after the holidays who are unsure what to do with their precious new pup and how they will take care of all its needs once the reality of responsibility sets in. So, if you are serious about buying a puppy for the holidays, here are some tips to help you make the right choice for your family.
The first thing you should consider is, identifying what “type” of family you are. Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you athletic, or are you a homebody who prefers to stay at home and watch football? Are you a working family where everyone is gone all day, or are you a stay-at-home mom or retired and would like some company? If you are athletic and enjoy the outdoors, it would be wise to get a dog that has a lot of energy, like a retriever, a herding dog or a working dog; such breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Austrian Sheep Dogs, Alaskan Malamutes, and Huskies.
However, if you are a family that isn’t as active, you may want a calmer, less energetic breed, such as Basset hounds, French bulldogs, or English bulldogs,; all of which would make good apartment dogs. Some people think smaller dogs are less active and would make good apartment pets; however, some dog trainers would agree that this is a common misconception.
Next, one should consider each individual in the family. For instance, do you have young children, an elderly person or someone with allergies? These types of questions will also help to narrow down the vast range of dog breeds out there. If you have young children or an elderly person living with you, most dog trainers would tell you a small, fast, hyper dog would not be the best choice; nor would you want a very large dog like a Great Dane, St. Bernard or Bullmastiff. Instead, a better alternative would be a medium size dog that is less active, such as a Cockapoo, Standard Poodle, or a Golden retriever. For the person in your family with allergies, there are hypoallergenic dogs that don’t shed as much as others; these breeds include Poodles, Labradoodles, Portuguese water dogs, and Maltipoos.
Once you decide on the best breed and fit for you and your family, you will want to ask your local veterinarian, dog trainer or someone in the pet business to help you find a reputable breeder, or shelter. The shelters are always filled with an abundance of dogs of various breeds, all hoping for a good home and a loving family to adopt them. By saving a shelter dog, you would not only be giving the gift of joy and excitement to your family, but would also be providing a great pet with a loving home. Have a local dog trainer go with you to assist you in finding the right dog for you and your family.