After much deliberation, you’ve finally decided. You’re going to get a dog! Cue happy dance.
Deciding on having a pet was the first big step. Now that that’s done, here comes the next. Deciding on *which* dog to get. There are so many factors involved in making this choice that it can soon make you feel lost. We get it. That’s why we’ve put together this little list of things to do and consider to help you decide the right dog for you and your family.
Make a list
There’s no problem that making a list can’t solve. Begin by writing down the thoughts that made you arrive at your decision in the first place. Next, take stock of your lifestyle right now and how it might change in the near future. What’s your financial situation? Factor in vet visits and pet accessories as they can be quite expensive. How much time can you spare to spend with your dog in a day? What about allergies? Answering some of these questions and making a list is a great starting point.
Individual vs. family
Different breeds fit different needs. Do you live by yourself in an apartment? You’ll probably be the perfect match for a low-maintenance, playful bulldog. Consider a caring and obedient Golden Retriever or a mild-mannered and playful Labrador for a family with small kids. Golden Retrievers are known to be great with babies, while Labradors are better for older children to play with. Pick the right dog, and they can smoothly blend in with your lifestyle.
Apartment or house?
An apartment and house can make all the difference between getting a pug or a Lab. Beagles are highly recommended for small apartments, and new dog owners as their even-tempered nature and friendly demeanor endear them to young children and adults alike. Bigger dogs like Labs are better suited for a more spacious home with easily accessible gardens or outdoor areas to bound in. The locality and area you live in also weigh in on the type of breed you choose. Some dogs might find it difficult to get used to crowded, noisy residential neighborhoods, for instance. Many apartments don’t allow pets too, and it’s important to find out all the legalities before you decide.
Dogs are a great joy, but they also bring expenses with them. Truly taking care of a dog requires some serious budgeting on your part. So, where do you start? By researching the characteristics of your favorite breeds. How much food do they require? Will they require a trainer? Professional grooming? What health issues will they face? Opting for a purebred is always a more expensive proposition, as is getting a puppy from a breeder. On the other hand, the immediate costs of adopting a dog from a shelter are much lower as they would have already got their vaccinations and other necessary checks. It’s best to do some research on which one would sit well with you and your wallet.
Age is equal to time spent
Going in for a puppy demands a lot of time from you. Plus, if you have toddlers at home, a puppy might add to the teething troubles (pun intended). In cases where you’re simply hard-pressed for time, an already trained and mature dog might serve well. That said, some families have a different view of letting small children grow up with a dog. Age also matters in deciding the energy levels you can deal with. Dogs like Great Danes are content to lounge on the sofa or play with the kids when needed. Alsatians, Labs, and Golden Retrievers, on the other hand, are more energetic and demand more attention.
Shedding and allergies
Allergies are an important factor as they are a potentially serious health issue. Dogs who shed a lot are a nightmare for people with allergies. Also, are you willing to vacuum twice a day and wipe down all your furniture a few times a day to keep them fur-free? There are breeds that shed less, like a Dachshund, and they are also easy to maintain inside the home. If possible, spend some time with your friends’ pets. This will give you the best idea of what breed really suits you.
Now that you have all the information, it should be easier to prioritise your needs. No matter what, do choose dogs that are comfortable in an Indian climate. Foreign breeds like a Husky or St Bernard find Indian weather to be a veritable nightmare. Be absolutely certain about your dog’s comfort, too, before you take the plunge. Take your time because you’re in it for the long haul. So is your dog. Happy hunting!