So you have decided to adopt a dog. Now the search begins for the perfect dog. In reality, a perfect dog is often an elusive ideal, no matter how much search. A more practical approach is looking for a dog that closely matches your needs, and those of your family. To find the best match, you should first analyze why you want the dog and then find out what options are available out there.
Why do you want a dog?
People have many reasons for wanting a dog, not limited to the company and comfort they offer as a pet. They can perform several functions such as hunting and guarding property. With proper training they can become guide dogs or therapy dogs or can be used for search and rescue operations. When you spell out the reasons for deciding to adopt a dog, it will help you locate the dog with the right kind of temperament or training.
Which breed is right for you?
Breed is an important factor in obtaining a dog with the functionalities you are expecting from it. Specific breeds are developed for specific characteristics such as size, stamina, temperament etc., through selective breeding for generations. While each dog is unique, and may not display all the traits attributed to a particular breed, you have a higher chance of getting what you want if you focus on a breed.
What do you offer the dog?
Once you have defined what you want from the dog, you should think about what kind home and life you will offer it. Different breeds of dogs have different requirements in general, apart from the specific needs of individual dogs. The owner should have sufficient time and energy to devote to the dog. Some breeds are high energy dogs that require an active daily routine involving vigorous exercise sessions.
Safety and suitability
When you plan to adopt a dog and bring it home, you should consider the safety of the dog as well as that of the other members of the family. Small children who tend to rough-handle dogs can hurt small breeds. On the other hand, large dogs may harm young children. Hyperactive small dogs that keep running about the house are best avoided in households with toddlers.
Apartment life lays its own restrictions on the type of dogs you can keep. Small dogs with gentle temperament would be a better choice as large dogs may get frustrated and become cranky in small homes. Some apartments even have a ‘no pet’ policy.
Where can you source the dog?
Dogs are available for adoption from several facilities like animal shelters and rescue homes. Some of them deal with only certain breeds of dogs while others take in all kinds. Most of them have websites from which you can get a fairly good idea about them. After the initial search you can approach those who are keeping the kind of dogs you have in mind.
They are temporary accommodation for dogs which are found without owners and those rescued from unsuitable conditions. Consequently, they may not have proper accounts about the history or nature of the dogs. They’ll keep all kind of dogs too. So, if you are adopting a dog out of altruistic feelings, and have no specific function or breed in mind, this is the place to look first.
There are general rescue groups that keep all kinds of dogs but many are selective about the breeds they keep. They’ll generally have an account of the previous owners as well as the past history of the dog for reference. It helps greatly in finding the right dog and also in understanding your adopted dog later on. Since the dogs in rescue groups reside in a home-like environment, they are more relaxed, which makes it easy to assess their temperament.