Don’t leave finding your perfect canine match up to chance. Breaking up is hard to do and these tips may save you as well as your pup from heartbreak.
- Take your time. This is a commitment. A dog’s average life expectancy (13 years) is longer than the average length of first marriages (8 years.) Committing to a person after only one date would be insane. Making a commitment to a dog or puppy after one date is equally insane. Plan to spend some time with the puppy or dog, whether n a home, foster home or shelter.
- Size matters . But more important than size is your energy level and that of your prospective pet partner. Do not delude yourself that getting a Border Collie is going to make you a jogger because of their high exercise needs. Instead, better to be realistic and assess your current level of activity. M atch accordingly. If you are a couch potato, realize that you are likely to remain so. And there is no shame in that! There are plenty of dogs who are looking for a couch potato buddy. Consider an older dog, or a breed that is known for their laid back demeanor.
- Personal Hygiene. Yes, some dogs are naturally easier to live with than others because of their fastidiousness and physique. If you aspire to being featured in House Beautiful perhaps you should not consider a breed that is heavy on the drool, spittle and shedding. Newfies, Mastiffs, and Bulldogs immediately spring to mind. Long haired breeds also of course leave behind long hairs. So if you don’t consider slime trails and long hairs a fashion accessory then these breeds may not be for you. Whether you consider these attributes design flaws or endearing qualities may help narrow your choices.
- Look to the future. If you plan on a change in your family composite, be realistic about the impact it may have. Are children a likely addition in the course of your intended canine friends life? A small nervous breed might not be the best choice. Is your boyfriend/girlfriend a fan of large breeds, if that is what you are considering? If your household might include elderly parents or grandparents who are frail then a large breed that might knock them over might best be avoided.
- Are you a gambler or do you like to minimize the risks? Any committed relationship is a gamble. But if you would like to minimize your risks consider an older dog who has been with a foster family. They may be able to tell you whether the dog is good with kids. They may know whether they are good with cats or whether they consider them a delectable morsel. They may have experience with them around other dogs or on leash. A purebred dog may minimize the risks as well. A Chihuahua is not likely to pull you down the stairs or eat you out of house and home. Some pure bred dogs will absolutely require grooming, which may best be handled by a professional, thereby running up the cost of maintenance. Others require little or no grooming. Some breeds have been bred for specific purposes and generalizations may be made about their temperaments, though bear in mind that yours may be the exception.
- Are you a patient person? Puppyhood , though it may only last one year, can easily feel like five. Can you keep “that lovin’ feelin’” and are you prepared to love him even when no one else could, should or would? Puppyhood requires patience, preparation and more patience. Be prepared to spend time and money . The primary reason dogs are surrendered is behavioral so at the top of your must do list should be “seek professional training.”
Above all, before you walk down the aisle with your new partner ask yourself if you are truly being realistic and if you are prepared.