How to choose your next dog
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to add a dog, or another dog, to your family. Congratulations! How exciting!
But, you want to make sure you’re really ready and you want to make sure you pick a dog that fits in really well into your home, whether this will be your only dog or if you are adding a new dog into your pack!
Believe me, I completely understand. I struggled quite a bit finding Kim, the most recent dog we’ve adopted. There’s a lot to think about and a lot at stake both for you, your family and your potential new dog.
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Ok, so you’ve decided to add a new dog into your family and you’re wondering what steps you should take to make sure you pick out the right addition!
Here are some tips to help you on this wonderful journey!
First things first… Make sure you are ready to add a new dog to your family. Dogs require a lot of time and are a big responsibility. Can you afford a new dog? Are you ready to start a new training program with your dog? Is everyone in the household on board? These are a few of the questions you should ask before you are certain you want to move forward.
Let me know in the comments if any of these questions are something you haven’t yet considered.
Now that you’ve decided to move forward with adopting a new dog … Do you want to adopt an adult dog or a puppy? There are pros and cons to each, so figure out which seems to be a better fit for you and your family at this time.
While many people opt for a puppy because they feel like they can mold them into their perfect dog, it’s important to note that genetics also play a role in their temperament. Adult dogs can also be shaped, though they may have more baggage to work through. If you are leaning towards a puppy, remember that this is the equivalent of adding a new baby into the house. They will need constant attention for a couple of weeks at least. Be prepared for barking, whining, pooping, peeing, and chewing.
If you’re up for it, great! But I highly encourage you to look into an older dog as well, just to make sure you’re not overlooking the perfect companion for you!
Are you prepared for basic training and any potential behavior problems? Whether you choose to adopt an older dog or a new puppy, you will need to start training right away. Positive reinforcement training is the only training method scientifically proven, and the only one that doesn’t harm your dog.
Go ahead and grab your copy of my book to get started on the right training path. I’ve left a link in the description.
What kind of time will you have for your new dog? And how long will they be left alone when you go back to work? These are the types of things you need to think about and to plan in advance. If you will be gone longer than a couple of hours at a time, you will need to look into a dog walker or pet sitter.
For a young puppy, the rule of thumb for potty breaks is 1 hour per month of age. So a two-month-old puppy will need potty breaks every two hours.
For an adult dog, I never recommend leaving them home alone for more than 4 hours at a time.
While they may be able to control their bladder a bit longer than this, they need socialization, physical activity, and mental exercise. Leaving them alone for too long can cause anxiety and depression.
Next, is there a specific breed or mix you are looking for? While certain breeds may tug on your heartstrings, I always encourage you to look at mixed breed dogs. Every dog is an individual and each one has the potential to be your new best friend.
When you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group, you will have the advantage of the initial vetting being done, as well as behavioral and temperament testing. Plus you will be saving two lives because when you adopt you open up space for a new dog to be rescued.
If you choose to purchase a dog from a breeder, please make sure to do your research and only buy from responsible and reputable breeders. Pet stores, puppy mills and backyard breeders are not responsible or reputable, so make sure you stay away from them.
Any reputable and responsible breeder cares deeply for each and every dog they breed and raise. You should always be able to visit the litter and their mother and see just how they are being raised and treated.
Regardless of the specific dog you choose, make sure you are truly ready, and that your entire family is ready for the new addition and the added responsibility.
A new dog is a long-term commitment. This is not a decision to take lightly. Visit your local shelters often. Talk with your local rescue groups to get a feel for the dogs in their care. If you choose to buy a puppy, talk with the breeder frequently and feel comfortable about their breeding program. Make sure to visit and see how they raise their dogs.
Make sure to use both your head and our heart. Is this the best decision for your family at this time? If you are confident you are ready for a new dog, don’t blind yourself to any dog. If you think you want a pure-bred, still visit your shelters and local rescues. They often have purebred dogs and can help you in choosing the one that will fit best with your family.
I hope this video helped you in your decision to add a new dog to your home.
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Thanks for watching and make sure to check out other videos on my channel about dog training, behavior, enrichment, and feeding.