This is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts!
At Saving Grace, we are all about well-balanced dogs. Finding the right match between your family’s energy and ability and your future pet’s is the most important thing you can do to set things up for success.
It’s exciting to add a new pup to your family! We melt at the sight of puppies and kittens, spend hours watching videos of silly animals, and we imagine writing our own story with these sweet creatures.
What feeds this impulse to share our lives with these furry ones?
We have theories.
Humans are built to nurture: whether it’s plants, pups, kitties, or babies. That energy always finds an outlet.
As tempting as it is to pick a new companion because of a cute face, soft fur, or funny video there are other factors to weigh.
A careful evaluation of your family and your prospective pet can help to avoid a mismatch. In this article we are going to focus on dogs.
Before you adopt or buy, answer these questions:
Number of people at home? Do you have a busy, crowded house or a quiet domicile of one? How old are the residents? – House size: spacious or cramped? Minimalist or maximalist? A large, quiet dog could do fine in a small space while a small higher-energy dog might need more room for “zoomies”! How much is there to chew on?
Yard size? While a city plot will probably not be large enough for real exercise, it’s sure nice to be able to put the dog outside for some fresh air. Carefully consider the energy needs of your proposed pup. If you don’t have direct access to the outdoors a large dog with a large bladder might pose some problems.
Your daily free time? A high energy dog with a small yard will need exercise—and lots of it. Some pet owners report walking their dog four hours per day and going for long runs on weekends just to channel their dog’s energy in a positive direction. Could you manage this?
The relationship you want to have with your pet? Is your pet to be a jogging companion? a child’s friend and guardian? a hiking partner? a couch-based work-from-home buddy? Your dog’s age, energy level, breed and temperament must match your desired role for your pet.
How active are you? Do you sleep until noon and relish weekends lounging at home? If so, say no to the cute border collie. Are you a triathlete who logs miles on the trail or in the pool weekly? Maybe that pug is not for you!
How much money you can spend on your pet? Some breeds are prone to illness and congenital health problems. (We once cared for a shar-pei with her own neurologist!) Be aware of this going in. Often a mutt is a sturdier choice.
How much experience do you have? If you are a dog rearing novice, an adopting an intense breed with a high need for training may find you in over your head. Leave the Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Cane Corsos to the pros and maybe find a sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or Shih-Tzu to call your own.
Finding the right dog for you and your family might take a lot of time, research and reflection. TAKE YOUR TIME!
Over the years we have witnessed the tragic consequences of bad matches. These can include dog bites, home and furniture destruction, intense anxiety and anguish due to living with an incompatible pet, guilt, high expenses and needing to rehome the recently adopted dog.
It is not good for you and not good for the dog!
If you are considering adding a dog to your household, give us a call. We’re happy to talk with you about your situation and make general recommendations about what breeds might make a match made in heaven!