How To Find A Dog The Right Way

Many people wonder how to pick the right dog.  There are so many different breeds and types out there, and each and every dog is adorable and charming in its own way.  It is very hard to resist that kind of fuzzy charisma.  However, before you make an impulse decision and bring home that "Rover" or "Fido", you should stop and consider the resources available to you when you begin your search for the perfect companion.

Good Breeders

If you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog and are set on raising a puppy, a reputable breeder may be the place for you to find your dog.  Good breeders will have waiting lists and will ask you as many questions as you will want to ask them!  They will be able to provide documentation of genetic background and extensive medical testing for each of your future pups parents.  Their dogs should be active in showing or in breed specific activities (tracking, search and rescue, agility) and the breeder will expect you to have knowledge of the breed you are picking out!  Make sure you read up before starting to contact serious breeders.  They are passionate about their dogs and want you to be as well.  Good breeders do not need to advertise in newspaper ads.  You can find them through online searches of breed clubs.  If the breeder you are looking into does not seem to be living up to these standards, you may want to consider looking for your special pup elsewhere.

Dog Shelters

Sometimes choosing the right dog means going to a shelter.  There are many different shelter options, ranging from private no-kill shelters to municipal animal controls. When trying to pick the right dog, do not neglect the option of adoption.  There are many amazing dogs, both mixed breeds and purebreds that are in need of loving homes at these locations.  While shelters can be overwhelming and even depressing to visit, the satisfaction you will feel knowing you rescued a beloved member of your family is huge.  Try and make a list of the qualities you are looking for in a dog before you visit the shelter.  When you arrive, discuss your needs with a staff member or adoption counselor and they should be able to help you in narrowing down your choices.  Do not bring home a dog just because you feel sorry for it.  You don't want to start a 12 year (or so!) relationship based on guilt!  You should be thrilled by the prospect of your new family member and it should be a good match for everyone involved. 

Dog Rescues

Rescues are usually privately run organizations.  Often they are comprised of a network of volunteer foster homes and have no actual facility (unlike a shelter).  There are many different types of rescues.  Some specialize in one type of pure breed dog (for example, a Golden Retriever rescue) while others may be a broader type of rescue (Giant Breed rescue or Small Dog rescue).  Then there are some groups that are "All Breed" rescues.  Private rescues often have an advantage of having a smaller turn over of dogs than that of a municipal dog pound or shelter.  Thus the individuals who interact with the dogs are truly able to know the personalities of the dogs within their care.  Be prepared for higher adoption fees when working with a private rescue group.  These people put in huge amounts of time and effort as well as their own funds to care for dogs that are in dire need of help.  They are only trying to recoup some of these expenses.

Pet Stores

These are places to avoid at all costs!  No good breeder is going to send puppies to be sold to strangers that they have no way of staying in contact with.  Pet store puppies are usually bred in puppy mills and run a huge risk of health and behavioral problems.  While they are enticing and adorable, please stay far away from these stores.  If you don't think you can resist the temptation, don't go in at all.  


If you are trying to pick the perfect dog, first ask what it is that you and your family want out of the relationship you'll have with your dog.  Once you figure out what each of you want out of the bond you are about to form, you will have a better idea of the type of dog you are searching for.  Oftentimes you will find that an older dog will fit better with a busy schedule than a puppy that will need to be taken out to relieve itself every 2-3 hours!  Breeders occasionally have retired show dogs available for adoption, but your best bet in finding an adult companion is the adoption option.  No matter where you decide to begin your search, remember to take your time!  This creature will be a beloved member of your family for a very long time!   You should enjoy each and every step in finding the right dog for you!


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