Choosing the Right Dog

Dogs have a certain way of brightening up a family. Not only do they help us feel a little safer at night, but they make terrific companions. Deciding whether a dog is right for you (or your family) is the first thing to consider before you commit to bringing a dog home. This article contains a few tips for not only determining what kind of dog would be best for your family, but also ways in which you can help your family and its new addition get comfortable with each other.

You have probably already asked yourself this question, but I’m tossing it in here just in case: Do you have what it takes to care for a living, breathing, thinking, feeling creature? Caring for a dog means fulfilling both its physical and emotional needs. If you don’t have any spare time or are away from home a lot, you might want to consider another pet. I recommend a fish. If you believe you’ve got what it takes to raise a dog, then you need to ask yourself what characteristics you want in your future pet. All dogs are different, of course, but I’m talking about things like: patience with children, trainability, size, level of activity, etc.

Your goal at this point should be to choose a breed of dog whose lifestyle will mesh nicely with your own. If you don’t lead a very active life, you might do better with a dog who can maintain good health with a short walk every day. On the opposite end of the table, you don’t want a dog who can’t keep up with you, either. Both you and your dog will be much happier if you can live similar lifestyles in contentment. The best way to find your ideal breed of dog is to do lots and lots of research. There are plenty of online resources you can access by doing a simple Google search. Try searching things like: best dog breed for children or small dog breeds. You will feel much more at ease bringing a dog into your home if you know roughly what kind of temperament you can expect from the breed.

After you’ve decided on the dog that you want, arrange a meeting with the dog’s owner or breeder so that everyone in your family can meet the new addition. Let the dog sniff everyone thoroughly so he can remember their scent later on. When you finally bring your dog home, he should be able to recall the scent of each family member quite easily, which will work to reduce his stress and help him settle. One thing I personally did to help my pup settle was to purchase a baby blanket (just the plain cloth kind) and gave it to the breeder a few weeks before we were due to bring our puppy home. We asked the breeder to place the blanket in our dog’s bed (which was shared by the litter and the mother) so the blanket would collect familiar scents on it. When we picked our puppy up, we also brought the blanket with us and put it in our dog’s bed.  If your future dog isn’t a puppy, see if he has any toys or a blanket of his own that can come with him. Familiar scents and objects are always a good idea.

A great way to get your dog to settle a little quicker is to entertain him with activities. Playing with him and letting him accompany you around the house while you do chores are excellent ways to involve him in family life. Also, you might consider getting a set of pet stairs and train him to use them. It doesn’t take long to teach a dog to use the steps, but the time you spend training him will encourage a bond of trust and companionship between the two of you, and this is crucial to turning your new dog into a good pet.

If you’d like to read more about caring for dogs or purchasing dog stairs, visit

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