Dogs have been shown to yield various health benefits for humans and families. Studies show that dog owners have better mental and physical health than non-owners. They are used frequently for therapy and rehabilitation from illness. They make loyal companions and great additions to the family. If you’re considering getting a dog for yourself or your family, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Your Schedule
Dogs take a lot of time, from litter box training a dog to daily feedings. Before you head out to the pet store, take into consideration your own schedule and the amount of time you can invest as a new parent of a canine. If your schedule forces you to stay at the office all day, you’ll need some help or you may want to forget owning a dog altogether.
Some breeds require even more activity than others. If you don’t have the time to commit, avoid breeds like Labrador retrievers, border collies, huskies, and Jack Russell terriers.
2. Puppy vs. Adult
Deciding whether to get a puppy or an adult is mainly about time. A puppy can feel like a full-time job. They have endless energy, all kinds of needs, and require constant attention. Housebreaking a puppy will in itself take quite a bit of time.
Adult dogs tend to have most of their basic training already in their bones. However, raising a dog from its youth gives you more time to grow and share a bond together.
A good temperament is everything, especially if you have kids. Some dogs are known to be better with children than others. Small terriers, spaniels, poodles, and pinschers do not get along well with kids. On the other hand, many larger dogs are gentle and great with kids. Retrievers are known for their temperament and make great family dogs given regular exercise.
Whichever breed you choose, make sure you spend plenty of time socializing them early. Regardless of breed, good training and social skills can help any dog acclimate to a kid-friendly environment.
4. Male or Female
Typically, male dogs are more affectionate and require a bit more attention. Females can be much more independent but also inconsistent with people. That doesn’t mean female dogs are mean; they can be just as loving, affectionate, and into attention. However, female dogs tend to enjoy their alone time. Both genders are great with kids, though females are naturally more nurturing.
Regardless of what gender you choose, make sure to spay or neuter your dogs.
5. Your Living Space
If you live in a studio apartment, you probably won’t want to share the space with a huge dog. Consider the amount of available room you have. For smaller spaces, go with breeds weighing less than 50 pounds and avoid dogs with lots of energy. Consider a dog crate for your dog to sleep in.
If you live in a single-family home, you should ideally have a fenced yard and plenty of outdoor space for exercise and play.
Don’t forget your neighbors either. Avoid breeds that tend to bark a lot.