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Deciding to adopt a dog

Making the decision to bring on a new member of the family is a really big decision, and it’s important to understand not only what it takes to be a dog owner but also what type of dog is right for your life and lifestyle.

Young or old

The first decision you must make when thinking about adopting a new dog is whether you want a young pup, a child, an adult, or a senior dog. This decision is complicated, and there are many things to consider. The biggest barriers are with puppies and senior dogs.


It’s possible to find a dog as young as 8-weeks old to adopt. It’s equally as possible to find dogs as old as twelve to adopt. These are both challenging propositions. Adopting a puppy means training from scratch. Tons of energy. It means going through all the frustrations, sacrifices, and ultimately, rewards of grooming a dog in your own vision. A senior comes with similar challenges.


Many believe that older dogs are “set in their ways.” This means that it can be more challenging to train a senior dog to change a behavior. There is also the problem of medications, uncertain health and wellness habits, and general resistance to change. Taking in a senior dog, knowing that you might have a few years or less with her, is an emotional challenge that should not be taken lightly.

Breed

Choosing your dog’s breed, at any age, is a big deal. Are you an outside person? Where will the dog live and sleep? Are you in an apartment? What’s your weather like in your location? These and more are all questions that you must ask yourself before selecting your new dog’s breed.


Of course, selecting a mutt is the easy way out, but even mutts (defined as dogs with multiple breed lineage) might have certain proclivities. Many dog breeds are known for very specific and nuanced traits and characteristic that makes choosing the breed incredibly important.


For example, do you live in a small space that needs to be quiet? You might want to avoid a hound dog or a beagle as those dogs are watch dogs that bellow loudly when they perceive an intruder nearby. These intruders, in any new environment, will be everyone from the mailman to the neighbor. Live in a warm climate? Choosing a dog that sheds its hair in warm climates might be a deal breaker, no matter how adorable she is. Thankfully, there are dozens of “what kind of dog should I choose” quizzes on the internet that ask you the questions that you need to be asked when considering adopting a dog. From exercise to noise, from grooming to lifespan, from vet bills to food, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into before you adopt.