With Christmas being right around the corner, it's not uncommon for families to get puppies as a gift for their family member or themselves over the holidays. As wonderful as a gift dogs and puppies are, unfortunately, often times they are soon surrendered for adoption because not enough research was done to ensure the dog you are getting is a good fit for you and your family. Often times, important things to consider prior such as dog's breed, dog's energy levels, dog's temperament, dog's grooming and health needs, the time, attention, and training required, etc. are overlooked before bringing a dog home. For example, if you are interested in a low maintenance dog, a golden doodle, though adorable, may not be the best choice because they require daily brushing and regular grooming every 6-8 weeks to avoid matted hair (see blog post on matting). Dogs are not objects, dogs are living, breathing creatures and most importantly, they are family. We encourage everyone to do their research before making the life long commitment of adopting a new family member. So here are some helpful tips and things to consider before giving the gift of a forever friend!
One of the most common things that new pet owners overlook before getting a dog is the dog's breed. All of the other topics mentioned above come into play with the dog's breed. Different dog breeds all have different temperaments, energy levels, characteristics, and overall health/grooming needs. Consider doing extensive research on the individual breed or mixed breed to ensure they are a good fit for your family. For example if you live in an apartment complex, I wouldn't recommend a breed that is more prone to barking. Don't get us wrong, dogs can always be trained (if done properly) to bark only on command or limit the barking, but certain breeds, such as Hounds, Schnauzers, and Jack Russells are more prone to being noisy and may disturb your neighbors. It is imperative that you consider your situation and the dog's personality before selecting your pet.
Dog's Energy Levels:
One of the most important things to consider before adopting a new furry friend is the dog's energy level. Having a high energy dog is not ideal if you work frequent, long hours unless you can provide your pet with plenty of exercise to accommodate their high energy. Dogs that don't get the exercise and stimulation they require may result in disobedience or behavioral issues, as they will find something else to take their energy out on (such as chewing, digging, destroying, etc.)
Each dog has his or her own temperament. Choosing a dog with a temperament that meshes well with you, your family, and your living situation is essential. For example, if you have a loud, busy household with lots of people or children, a dog that is highly sensitive to noises, people, etc. is probably not a good fit. Although a lot of how a dog acts and reacts has to do with training, some characteristics are more prone in different breeds.
Dog's Grooming and Health Needs:
Just like temperament characteristics, some dog breeds are more likely to develop certain illnesses in their life time, for example, German Shepherds and other larger dogs are typically prone to hip dysplasia, though not every single dog may develop it in their life time, it is likely to occur. Another thing to consider is the type of hair your dog has. If you're looking for a low maintenance dog that requires fewer trips to the groomer, a golden doodle is not your best bet. Also consider the level of shedding the dog does, any other medical issues that may warrant several vet visits, etc.
One of the most common reasons that people give up their pets for adoption is "I couldn't give him/her the amount of time/attention they needed". This is something you should consider prior to getting a pet. Also be aware that some dogs may need more training than others, and learning how to properly train your dog is very important. Lack of proper training from the beginning is another reason why dogs end up in the pound for adoption. Some breeds are easier to train than others and ensuring you properly train your dog will ensure they remain a perfect fit for you and your family.