Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Which Dog Is Right For You?

I always say that summer is the best time to bring home a new (4-legged) member of your family. Here's why. Regardless of whether you adopt a puppy or rescue an adult dog, there is going to be some adjustment for both the dog and you. Showing your new pet the lay of the land is SO MUCH easier in warm weather than in cold. New puppies can't hold their bladders for very long, so middle of the night trips outside are inevitable. Just like with a newborn baby (See? No one tells you these things and then you're shocked when). Standing outside at 4 AM with a curious puppy who is in NO HURRY to go potty---albeit, not fun--but way better in the summer than freezing in your slippers & bathrobe.

Another reason to choose a summer adoption over an winter one? Some dogs pick up housebreaking in a day, others take longer. If your dog happens to be a more difficult breed to train, imagine standing outside in the snow while trying to teach puppy to squat down in 3 inches of snow. Brrrrr.  He'll catch on very quickly that dipping his nether regions in the icy snow isn't a lot of fun. And speaking of snow, if you happen to choose a tiny breed, imagine trying to navigate through even just a few inches of snow. Talk about a shocker! So, yes--I am a big fan of taking on the arduous task of puppy training in the summer, because why take on the added stress of cold weather?

Ok, so once you've opened up the possibility of getting a dog, now you must decided which breed is right for you. There are several websites dedicated to finding the perfect breed based on your lifestyle. Simply type in "finding the perfect dog" or "which dog is right for me" and you'll be impressed with all the information available to you. Different types of questions that you'll need to consider are:

  • Do I have the time to dedicate to a pet?
  • What is this dog's purpose (guard dog, show dog, companion, running buddy...)
  • Will a shedding breed bother my allergies, if so, which breeds don't shed?
  • Will this be an inside dog or an outside dog? Consider your climate.
  • Are we a busy family who's always on the go? If so, perhaps a lazier, more relaxed breed is better for you.
  • Is this breed good with children? Or are they possessive of their owner?
These are very important things that must be thought through before making the 10+ year commitment of adopting a dog.

Just as parenthood isn't something to rush into, pet adoption isn't either. It isn't fair to the animal if he's brought into an environment where he doesn't fit in. If you lived in a fraternity house, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to raise a baby there. Just as a Bulldog wouldn't be a good choice if you're looking for a dog who'll accompany you on your daily 5 mile runs! Is your family one that enjoys lake living? Maybe a Chihuahua isn't the best choice? See what I'm getting at?

You can get as picky as you want. This is YOUR pet. I've even gone as far as choose the dog's hair color because the thought of black dog hair on my light floors & furniture was troublesome to me. The most responsible thing you can do is to carefully weigh your needs, wants and options. Do your homework so that there are no surprises later. The worst case scenario would be for the dog to bond with you and your family, then you give him away when his temperament doesn't fit into your life.

Finally, be patient. Puppies are very much like babies. They need to be nurtured, attended to and to be properly trained. Accidents are going to happen. Things will be chewed. That's the nature of puppyhood. Don't give up on your pet when he becomes inconvenient, help him to be the dog that you'd love for him to be.

This is precisely why I love our product The Housebreaker so much. It was designed specifically to give owners another option (short of getting rid of your dog) when housebreaking doesn't go as well as intended. Believe it or not, dogs are very, very smart. They aim to please their owners and no, they aren't peeing on your floor to be naughty. They just need a little extra component added to their training. All dogs learn at their own pace, just as every child becomes toilet trained in their own way. You wouldn't find a new home for your 3 year old if she was having accidents. Right? Try to think of your pet in that regard. It's frustrating, trying and often downright exhausting. But so, so worth it.

If your puppy or dog is taking his dear, sweet time picking up the basics of housebreaking, try checking out this amazing device at www.TheHousebreaker.com . It will change your (and your dog's) life.

Happy tails!


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