Choosing the Right Dog for your Family

by - December 08, 2017


PetSmart

Making the decision and commitment to bring a dog into your home and family is a big one. Pets need love, stability, attention, and forever homes. Finding the perfect pet for a family can be difficult. Especially, if you have small children like I do. There are so many breeds and these days hybrids and all sorts of various sizes to choose from. I spent countless months, weeks, days, and hours researching dog breeds and their traits until I finally narrowed down our options for what dogs would fit best into mine and Milo's home. It was between a Bernese Mountain Dog (which I have had before) and a hybrid breed called a "Doodle". Both are gentle large family dogs. Loyal, sturdy, smart, companion breeds. Which is exactly what I wanted for Milo and I. 

Luckily, I found a woman who posted in a neighborhood Facebook group about her parents needing to rehome their 1 year old Sheepadoodle (hybrid between an english sheep dog and a poodle). I instantly fell in love with his photo and decided to reach out. I was planning on waiting until next year after I had been in contact with breeders in my tri state area, but this was fate. Also, much much cheaper than purchasing a puppy from a breeder. So Milo and I welcomed "Axl Rose" formally known as "Axe" into our home and he has been an incredible addition to our small little family. 

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The 5 Links I Used For Research 
Whether you adopt or purchase from a breeder, researching breed traits and needs is still a crucial first step in welcoming a dog into your family. These links not only helped me find more detail on dogs, but also what breeds would and would not be a good fit for us. Finding out and accepting what will not work is just as important as knowing what will.

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Be honest with yourself on what your wants and needs are out of your pet. Also, what you can provide. Ask yourself, what is your family's lifestyle like? Are you active or more laid back? Do you have land or limited space? Do you have an apartment in the city or a house in the country? What size are you truly comfortable with? What amount of grooming can you offer? What do you want out of a dog? A companion friend or a worker bee? What climate do you live in? Hot humid weather or cold and mountainous?

All of these and many more are perfect questions to ask yourself. It is crucial for everyone's happiness that the dog you choose not only fits your lifestyle, but you fit the dogs. A small dog might not be able to keep up with a family that lives a more adventurous active lifestyle. Just like a dog like say a Bernese Mountain Dog might not be happy or healthy with a family living in the tropical climate of Florida. You want to be sure the dog you choose is a good match not only for you but you are a good match for your dog.

For me, I do not like small dogs so immediately I knew toy breeds were out. Also, if you have small children you might want a to look into dogs that are a bit more tolerant and sturdy. One who can handle a pull of the ear or a tug at the fur. Milo loves to climb all over Axl which is something I predicted when I was still in the research phase.

Milo and I also travel and like to explore so I knew we needed a dog that was loyal and intelligent. One who could go on hikes and adventures with us. A dog's training abilities is also something to consider when researching the perfect pet. Do you have countless hours to spend training or in an obedience class? I don't have the ability or desire to leash walk a dog with being a single mom pushing a baby stroller, so I knew hounds and other harder to train dogs were also going to be instantly checked off our list of possibilities. Hounds will follow a scent once they find one and off they go. We live in a climate that is mountainous and cold in the winters so a dog who could handle the elements was also a must.


Making a honest list of the lifestyle you live and where you live it will help you mark off breeds that don't quite fit in. While at the same time opening you up breeds you may not have considered before. It's much simpler to find the perfect pet when the list of options is narrowed down.


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Time To Find Your Pet
Once you narrowed down the dog breeds or hybrids that you believe to best fit your family and lifestyle then it's time for you to start your pet search! I started with local shelters. Try checking your country register or website. They will have links to shelters in all the towns located in your county. Also Petfinder is an incredible resource when searching for adoptable pets. I found Axl on a Facebook neighborhood pet group. So you can even check for groups in your area.

If you are looking for a puppy from a breeder Puppy Find and the AKC Marketplace are good places to start. Also a simple google search of the breed you are desiring will locate breeders in your area. For example search Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies For Sale in Nevada or Doodle Puppies For Sale in Salt Lake City. If breeders in your area do not come up then that dog breed probably isn't a good fit for your location or you may have to search in cities a few hours away if you live in a more rural area like we do.

What You'll Need
Simplified New Dog Checklist

These are the basics when it comes to dogs. If you are bringing home a puppy you may need some extras like Puppy Pads and a Tie Out cable if you do not have a fenced yard and still working on commands like "Come" and "Stay". Plus any super cute extras you may find during your doggy shopping extravaganza.


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Pets First Night
Getting acquainted and learning to trust your pet is something that takes time. It's recommended to ease slowly into this process. Try not to let your new pet have full roam of your home right away. Introduce him/her room by room. Set up a routine and during the first day frequently visit the designated potty area. A Baby Gate works great for sectioning off places in your home you may not want your new pet to be in or explore right away. Such as upstairs or kitchens. Remember to quickly reward positive behavior and correct misbehavior. Let your pet know right away what is and isn't acceptable. However, make sure to do this in a positive manner. Your new pet needs to trust you as much as you need to trust your new pet. 



Leave your new pet stories in the comments below. As always don't forget to share and subscribe! Until next time thanks for reading!

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2 comments

  1. This is wonderful! It's definitely important to pick a dog based on matching temperaments and what you can provide. I think cattle dogs and sheep dogs are beautiful, but I don't have the energy to keep up with them, so I know to admire them from afar. Thanks for this post and good luck with your pup :)

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    1. Thanks, and thank you for reading! Im so glad you enjoyed it

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