Choosing the perfect breed of puppy to welcome into your home can be a science as well as an art. While deciding on a breed, you’ll have to take your lifestyle, personality, and living space into consideration. Particular breeds’ temperaments, grooming requirements, and health needs can significantly factor into your choice. Puppies also have specific raising, training, and exercise needs. While opting for a particular breed can give you a good idea of what to expect when owning a your pet, as many members of the same breed often share general characteristics, adopting a mixed-breed dog from a shelter can save the life of a needy dog. Pet-sitting services in your area may be able to offer great advice about trusted veterinarians and provide daily assistance with your dog while it’s still becoming accustomed to your home.
Picking the Right Dog Breed
When considering which dog breed to select, it’s important to assess your lifestyle and personality and the space in which you live. Each dog breed has its own particular temperament, physical characteristics, and exercise needs, which can influence its compatibility with you. Small, gentle dogs may be better suited to apartment living, while larger dogs can do well in houses with expansive yards. In addition, certain breeds are historically better suited for specific tasks, such as security, hunting, livestock-wrangling, and assisting the disabled. Dog breeds that shed very little and have comparatively less dander can be good choices for people with allergies.
Picking the most compatible dog can be entirely dependent on your preferences and your situation. Read dog profiles that include information about breeds for prospective owners. Consider each breed’s personality, size, and energy needs to make a preliminary determination of which might appeal to you. Then, research feeding and grooming care requirements along with any special health considerations before deciding on any one particular breed. Take into account that high-energy or working breeds may require more time and effort to train, and those with luxurious coats or noted health problems may necessitate additional financial investments.
Outside factors may also be able to help you narrow down your choices. If you rent, verify what sizes of dogs are allowed in your apartment complex; similarly, homeowners should inquire with their city about the breeds and sizes of dogs that are welcome in their neighborhoods. Veterinarians may be able to offer suggestions, while dog breeders and national clubs can provide special insight into specific kinds of dogs. Online dog breed selector tools can make the task of narrowing down your options easy: Simply complete the tool’s questionnaire to get suggestions for the perfect canine companion.
- American Kennel Club’s Complete Dog Breed List
- Selecting the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle
- Purdue University’s Guide to Choosing an Appropriate Dog Breed (PDF)
- The Best Dog Breed for Your Family and Children
- Getting a Dog for Personal and Home Security
- Animal Planet Dog Breed Selector Tool
- Choosing Your Next Hunting Companion
- Finding a Suitable Candidate for Assistance Dog Work
Adopting a Puppy
Rescuing or adopting a puppy from an animal shelter can be a conscientious, compassionate decision that can provide a home for a dog in need. Puppies from animal shelters are usually mixed-breed dogs with a variety of lineages in their bloodline. Advantages of adopting a mixed-breed pet are that they are usually less expensive than buying a purebred puppy and their varied heritage makes them less susceptible to genetic diseases that are associated with specific breeds. Potential drawbacks to adopting a mixed-breed puppy are that it won’t be eligible to sire purebred animals or participate in dog shows hosted by the American Kennel Club. Still, mixed-breed dogs are just as capable of providing companionship and joy to their owners as their purebred cousins.
- Why Adopting Is More Humane Than Buying
- Adopting the Best Shelter Dog
- Which Is Right For You: Pure or Mixed-Breed?
- Why Mixed-Breeds Make Great Companion Animals
- Adoption Tips
- Choosing a Puppy From a Litter
- Introduction to Puppy Ownership for Foster or Adopted Animals (PDF)
Bringing your puppy home for the first time often inspires anticipation but also requires prep work. To properly prepare for a puppy, you’ll first have to obtain all of the right supplies. Puppy food, bowls, collars, tags, and grooming tools are just a few of the things that you need to have on hand upon your puppy’s arrival. Your new canine friend will also appreciate a leash, crate, bed, and toys to keep it entertained and energized. Before your puppy enters your living space, be sure to puppy-proof your home so that harmful chemicals and cords are out of reach. Repair any holes in fences, and block other potential escape routes. Remove fragile items, small items, and plants from the floor. It can even be a good idea to elevate your trash can until your puppy becomes accustomed to its new surroundings.
A puppy’s feeding schedule can vary depending on its age and breed. Consult with a veterinarian to determine when and how much your particular puppy should eat. While there, inquire about vaccinations and make sure your puppy remains up to date with all of its shots. Schedule spaying or neutering when your puppy is old enough to do your part to reduce the pet population. As an extra layer of safety, consider microchipping your dog to increase the chances you’ll be reunited if your puppy runs away. Establish relationships with dog pet-sitting businesses so that you’ll never be without someone to care for your pet should you have to leave your residence for an extended period.
- Shopping List for a New Puppy
- Puppy-Proofing Your Home (PDF)
- Puppy Feeding Guide
- Handling and Feeding Exercises for Puppies (PDF)
- Five Good Reasons Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- Dr. P’s Dog Training: Don’t Lower the Dog, Raise the Bowl!
Training a Puppy
Following a routine is crucial to the success of training your pet and establishing your authority. Introduce your puppy to its elimination area early on and guide your puppy to it every three hours to guard against accidents. Let your puppy become comfortable within its crate before allowing it to explore other areas of the home. This can help quell separation anxiety if you have to leave your puppy alone during the day. Make it a point to try and correct bad habits like mouthing to avoid problematic biting behavior in the future.
Sticking to a regular daily schedule can be very beneficial to your puppy’s understanding of appropriate behavior. Patience and consistency are key to seeing the type of results that you want, and positive reinforcement for good behavior will always lead to better results than scolding or punishment. The gender of your puppy can also affect the type and intensity of training that you’ll have to do. Generally, male dogs have reputations for having more aggressive behavior, while special routines may have to be implemented to protect female dogs when they go into heat.
- San Antonio’s Guide to Housetraining Your Puppy (PDF)
- Tips for Housetraining
- Quick Training Tips
- Biting and Mouthing: How to Correct Your Dog or Puppy
- Crate-Training Tips
- Vaccination Schedule for Puppies and Dogs (PDF)
- A Guide to the Livestock-Working Dog (PDF)
Recreation, Socialization, and Exercise
As well as being fun for both pet and owner, recreation provides much-needed opportunities for socialization and exercise. Consider designating a space at home for your dog’s recreational needs. Yards with fences can help you provide adequate exercise activities for your new puppy without having to leash and walk them through a park or another public area. You can also find ways to incorporate socialization exercises into everyday tasks like handling and feeding. If you’re gone for several hours a day due to a job or other responsibilities, you may consider finding an organization or business that specializes in pet day care or dog pet-sitting for ways to keep your furry friend engaged at all times.
Along with keeping your dog healthy, regular exercise can reduce excess energy that can lead to common destructive behaviors. Socialization with other dogs also teaches your puppy important lessons about acceptable behavior. For example, a puppy will soon learn the important difference between roughhousing and fighting from other animals as well as the concept of dominance. As a result of good socialization practices, dogs that are comfortable around strangers and that have expended their energy engaging in positive behaviors can make for happy pet-sitters and owners.