Monday, July 20, 2009

Ask Billy: How Do I Choose The Right Dog For Me?

Q: Emily from New York wants to know how to determine what type of dog is best for her lifestyle and family.

A: Emily, I'm so glad you asked this question because bringing a dog into your household is an important decision that cannot be taken lightly --EVER! A dog is a lifelong commitment and should never be an impulsive acquisition -- many dogs live 12-17 years.

First things first, do a lot of research and analysis. Many respectable websites offer sound advice for potential dog owners. Here are a few articles to start you off:

Realistically assess your capabilities, time commitment, and budget. A Poodle requires much more professional grooming than a Pug. Don’t get a Border Collie or a Portuguese Water Dog unless you are willing and able to provide a safe means to release all the innate energy. Read books and talk to friends, family, and dog care professionals.

Visit shelters and reputable breeders. A good breeder is picky and will want to ensure that you know the pros and cons of a specific breed before you take a dog home. Similarly, if you’re considering a mixed breed, try to get a sense of the dog’s personality and learn about the breeds in the mix. Spend time with the breed or dog you like before making a final decision.

Never get a dog unless everyone in the family or household wants one. Likewise, dogs make lousy gifts. The recipient may not have the time, money or energy to care for the pooch.

Remember to check you local shelter for your new best pal and don't buy a dog from any person or store that supports puppy mills.

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