How To Choose The Right Dog For You

choosing the right dog

When choosing your forever best friend, you may think it is as easy as, “whatever breed I want, I will get”. Well, as much as we wish it were that easy, it’s not. There are many different factors to consider before you get your dream dog, and we are here to help you find that perfect four-legged pooch that is exactly right for you and your lifestyle!

Research the Breed

research the breed

There are many breeds of dogs, a lot of which you may never have heard of. So when it comes to finding exactly the right one for you, it will take time and a lot of research. Choosing the right dog for you is very much like online dating; you will have to flick through all of their attributes and see if they match up to what you are looking for.

Some of the things you may need to consider when looking for the right breed is:

  • Active or non-active,
  • Long-haired, short-haired or non-haired,
  • How much grooming do they need?
  • Double coated or single coated, 
  • Working dog or pet,
  • Easy to train or stubborn,
  • Family-friendly or not.

These are just some things to consider when choosing the right dog breed for you and your home. A dog is a big decision, so please don’t take it lightly and be honest with yourself too, don’t get a breed that doesn’t fit your lifestyle because that would be unfair not just on your dog but on yourself too.

Do You Want to Buy or Rescue?

Another decision to make is whether you want to buy from a breeder or whether you want to take on a rescue dog, as both of these are polar opposites and have their advantages and disadvantages. Below is a small list of the main things you need to consider when deciding whether to buy or rescue.

Buying from a Breeder

There is nothing wrong with buying your dog. There is a lot of controversy with buying “designer dogs”, but if done correctly with the proper research, it is perfectly acceptable to buy your dream dog from a reputable breeder.

You have to be aware of who is legit and who isn’t. Things to look out for when you want to find a legit breeder:

  • That they are Kennel Club Assured or equivalent,
  • They are happy to talk through any questions you may have,
  • Puppies should be pictured with, or the breeder should be happy to show you the mother and the father of the litter too.
  • They can provide you with certification and proper documents for each puppy,
  • The puppy’s mother and father are well cared for, and the home is clean and looked after.

 

But there are advantages and disadvantages to buying your dream dog from a breeder.

Advantages 

  • You get your dog from 8 weeks and can get started moulding them to how you want (to an extent), 
  • You get to see them grow and change and bond with them from the start,
  • With a good breeder, you will get quality bloodline and hopefully fewer health issues,
  • If you want a pedigree puppy, you are more likely to get one from a breeder than a rescue.

Disadvantages 

  • The breeder may not have clearly stated any medical requirements or deformities, 
  • They are at a higher cost than your average puppy, so it can be pretty costly,
  • There will be lots of vaccinations and vet checks needed in the first few months up until they’re about a year old,
  • Some breeders may try to ‘sell’ the dog to you by telling you all the positives and leaving a lot of natural naughty behaviours that come with the breed.

Getting your dog from a Rescue

We have all seen the Dog Trust adverts with the horror stories and the happily ever afters. Rescuing a dog can be rewarding, but a lot more goes into rescuing a dog than you may think.

breeder or rescue

Things to consider before rescuing a dog: 

  • Whether they are aggressive towards other dogs, children or people,
  • Where were they rescued from? Different situations can determine what mental or physical issues the dog may have?
  • Are they on medication, and what health issues do they have? 
  • Be open to the fact you may not get a puppy, and all the rescue centre has are adult or elderly dogs,
  • They may not be house-trained,
  • Their mental health could mean they may have weird quirks or needs.

As well as the above, you also need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of having a rescue dog.

Advantages 

  • Once settled, they will love you unconditionally,
  • The rewarding feeling you get from saving an animal from a bad situation,
  • Giving safety and security to your new best friend, 
  • It costs less to rescue a dog than buying from a breeder.

Disadvantages

  • Some rescue dogs need a lot of attention, 
  • It takes time to build trust and that special bond, 
  • You need to give a lot of time to a rescue dog to make sure they are settled and happy, 
  • If they have medical issues, they may need lots of medication which can be costly.

As we say, there is a lot to unpack and consider when weighing up if you want to buy a dog from a breeder or rescue a dog. Still, both options, if done correctly and researched thoroughly, are entirely valid and reasonable options to welcome a new furry friend to your family!

Do you Want a Puppy or Not?

When you think of getting a dog, many think straightaway about that cute little puppy, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. There are many dogs that are adult or elderly that need a loving home just as much as puppies.

Getting a Puppy

Advantages

  • They are adorable and loveable, 
  • You can mould them to your way of life (to an extent),
  • You can train them right from an early age, 
  • If you have children, they can grow up with the kids, 
  • You see and experience every moment.

Disadvantages 

  • Training takes a long time (especially toilet training), 
  • There may be many long and sleepless nights, 
  • They go through “naughty” behaviours and test boundaries, 
  • You can’t leave anything lying around if you don’t want it chewed, 
  • The upfront costs can be pretty expensive (vets, food, toys, bedding etc.)

So as you can see, having a puppy can be very fun and exciting but can be challenging and costly. But what if you want an older or elderly dog?

Getting an Adult or Elderly Dog

Advantages 

  • They may already know essential commands and tend to be house trained,
  • You can skip the draining puppy stage,
  • They just want love and attention,
  • With older dogs, they can help with people or children who are wary of dogs as they tend to have a softer temperament,
  • You can give them the happiest years of their life, and yours.

 

Disadvantages 

  • They may need medical attention and lots of medication, 
  • You won’t have as long with them,
  • Bonding with them may take a little longer than with a puppy, 
  • They could have past trauma from other owners, 
  • They may have bad habits or training from other owners.
choosing the right dog for work life balance

No matter what you decide, make sure to consider both and make the right decision for you and your home.

Work & Dog Life Balance

So what if you want a dog, but you have a busy work schedule as well? Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are not suitable to have a dog because we all have to work, but there are aspects to consider to get that perfect work and dog life balance. 

Your dog could get lonely or sad if you leave them at home for long periods of time. So we suggest that if you do have to leave them, make sure you leave them plenty of toys and water, and if possible, on your lunch break, go home and give them a walk and some attention. 

Alternatively, if you can work at home, having a dog is more accessible because you will be there with them all the time. Still, you need to have boundaries and make sure to leave them a couple of times a week, so they don’t develop separation anxiety. 

Another option if you have a busy work life is to put your dog into doggy daycare. Doggy daycares are dotted all around Manchester and the UK and are great places to put your dog during the day because they get loads of physical and mental stimulation. They also get to play with other dog friends and get to have fun whilst you are busy working. It doesn’t just put your mind at ease knowing they are happy; it also helps keep your dog happy and healthy and ready for lots of snuggles when you get home! 

But if you have a job where you need to be away from home a lot and is very physically demanding, consider that maybe having a dog at this time in your life isn’t the best for you or that potential doggo. At the end of the day, you don’t want an unhappy pet or give yourself more to worry about on top of a very stressful job.

Is Your Home Right For Your Dream Dog?

You have decided on the breed and whether you are having a puppy or an older dog. Now you have to think about if your home is a suitable space for a dog. Dogs take up a lot of space, even if they are as small as a chihuahua, so making sure you have the right home for them is crucial.

The Living Space

Do you live in an apartment or a house? If an apartment, this doesn’t completely rule you out from having a dog, but you need to remember that a big dog may not be the best choice. Think about having a smaller dog that doesn’t have as much energy, like a bulldog, for example. 

If you live in a house, you need to make sure all your living spaces, including the living room, kitchen, hallway, are all dog proof or can be dog-proofed. For example, you may need to install baby gates to segregate specific spaces.

choosing the right dog

Having Enough Garden Space

Having a garden isn’t essential, but it does help. If you don’t have a garden, then think about where could you take them to the toilet and whether it is feasible to take them outside two or three times a day, in between going for their walks too. 

If you have a garden, you need to make sure it is big enough for the breed. So if you have a Pug, you may only need a small garden or space outdoors so they can do their business, but if you have a Husky, you may need a more extensive garden with room to stretch their legs expend some excess energy.

Choosing the Right Dog Over your Dream Dog

So when you are looking for your “dream dog”, maybe instead think about getting the right dog. We all have dream dogs that we see on Instagram and think, “OMG! I want one!” But the actual reality of having that breed may not fit your day to day life. 

Choosing the right dog over your dream dog will always be better, and if the two align and you can have both, then GREAT! But don’t just get your dream dog because you want one; think about the dog’s needs, your lifestyle and whether the two actually go hand in hand.

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