There’s no better way to rally enthusiasm in the family than by inviting a new canine into the fold. Dogs are a great addition to any family, and are great for companionship, security and can help teach your children about looking after another life.

Beautiful Sunset

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However, when it comes to choosing a new pet, there are many things to think about before jumping in at the deep end. It’s easy to get carried away when faced with an adorable litter of bouncing puppies, but wouldn’t it be awful if you found out that the puppy your daughter chose because of the patch on its nose, turns out to be an unsuitable character for you family? Here, I’ve compiled a list of nine things you’ll need to think about before choosing a new dog to join your family.

Think about your schedule

Take a good, hard look at your schedule before you decide on whether or not you should get a dog. If there is nobody around for periods of four to eight hours or more, regularly, then you may want to think about getting some help. If you are busy people, it will likely be more realistic not to get a puppy and opt for an older dog from a rescue center; puppies need a lot of attention and don’t take well to being left alone for long periods of time! Which leads us onto our next point…

What age dog would suit your family?

Having a puppy is something like having another full-time job, on top of your commitments and family life. Potty training a puppy can take several weeks, and it will take a few years for their seemingly endless energy to settle a little. Grown up dogs are more likely to already be through their destructive phase and will require less time spent on training. Remember too, that there are many more adult dogs who need adopting and looking after, and giving an abandoned dog a forever home is such a great thing to do!

Cocker Spaniel

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Budget

Choosing a dog should be no exception to family budget planning than any other major decision. If you choose to skip the adoption route and opt to buy a specific breed, you can expect to pay a good few hundred dollars for your chosen breed, and that’s before any breed related health issues that are likely to come up!

The size of your dog will also have a big impact on your budget moving forwards too, as costs of premium dog food and grooming can all add up to cost quite a lot. There is help out there though, and quite often you will be able to find discounts on sites like dontpayfull.com for necessities such as kennels.

Choosing the right temperament

If you have small children, it’s important to do your research when it comes to breeds. Some dogs are excellent with small people, and others are not – and this isn’t always big dogs! Small terriers, spaniels, and poodles are well known for not being amazing around children. On the other hand, Retrievers, Boxers, Collies and St Bernard’s are all big dogs which have a great temperament to go with boisterous and noisy children.

Remember, however, that there are exceptions to every rule, and if you are adopting your rescue center will be able to tell you about which dogs they have in are good for your family, and which aren’t.

Bulldog

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Consider rescuing

Animal rights activists will actively tell you that adopting a dog is far better for the world than buying a brand new puppy. In the United States alone, there are between six and eight million dogs and cats rescued each year, and out of these, three to four million are euthanized because they cannot find a home.

Girl with her dog

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Picking the right breed

We talked about this earlier on, but choosing the right breed for you and your family is one of the most important things to consider before going down to the pet store. Do some good and thorough online research into all the different breeds available to you. A good place to start would be here, http://www.akc.org/, as are different adoption sites. If you are adopting, the shelter sites will likely have photos of all the dogs they currently have in their care, as well as a breakdown of their personality and what they like – be it long walks up mountains and camping, or lying on the sofa snoring all day.

Male or female?

Of course, there are bound to be different factors between boy and girl dogs. Males are said to be more affectionate and require a bit more attention, whereas girls tend to be a bit happier to do their own thing. Males are also supposed to be a little bit more difficult to train than females, who, because of their natural and maternal instinct, are also much better with children. Of course, each dog is different and remember that this does not mean the same for each male and female dog you meet.

How much space you have

The amount of space you have available is a crucial part of your dog-choosing decision process. If you live in a small house, a small dog it is, but if you have a large fenced garden where your dog can run around freely, a larger dog will be perfect for your available space.

On a happier note, the rest of these pets are adopted into loving families and become a big part of life for everybody involved. By rescuing a dog from a shelter, you could be saving a dog’s life – now that’s something to feel good about, right?

Are there any allergies in the house?

Another thing to consider when bringing a new pet into the house is whether or not anybody has any allergies to dogs. Thankfully, dog allergies are less common than cat allergies, and therefore it is unlikely that someone will get the sniffles because of your new friend! However, it’s probably worth getting a dog who don’t shed so much so that you don’t spend your whole life vacuuming behind them!

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Filed under: All About Dogs

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