Here are some important considerations when picking a dog.

When it comes to picking a dog, there's a lot more involved than the joy you feel as you stare down at that cute little face staring back at you. And it's not only the way your kids play with the puppy as their faces light up.

Most people, when picking a dog, take the easy way out. They take a very casual approach. But if you follow their lead, and take the road of least resistance, you could be making a very big mistake. Jim Rohn says, “Casualness leads to casualties.” Lesson: Don't be casual in your approach to picking a dog. You're going to have this dog for a long time.

Can you find the right dog acting only on a whim? Of course you can. But when you do that, you’re relying on plain luck. There‘s a better way. Why not take some time now, think it through some, so you won’t regret it later on?

First, when picking a dog, realize there are several hundred dog breeds for you to consider. No, you don’t have to consider them all. The good news is, all breeds have traits particular to that breed. And what you need to do is consider some of these traits in relation to your particular situation. And here’s more good news - by following a few simple steps, you can narrow down your choices so you end up selecting the right dog breed.

So what are the steps to take when picking a dog?

Let’s start with how much space you have for the dog you choose. It is very different for the dog whether you live in an apartment or a house with a fenced in yard. If you are in an apartment, you’ll probably choose against large dogs. It would probably be wiser to go for a smaller dog, even a dog from the miniature and toy dog breeds. Dogs like Yorkshire Terriers or a Miniature Schnauzer. Having said that, the bulldog is an ideal apartment dog.

The next step to consider when picking a dog is based on whether you have children or not. If you have very young children and get a very small dog, it’s very possible the dog will get injured. Children naturally want to play and are not aware of how delicate a very small dog can be. Result… an injured dog.

Now let’s say you have a very young child and get a large dog. You have to use caution. Again you can have negative consequences. Let's say when picking a dog, you choose a Boxer or Saint Bernard. These dogs as puppies can be overly boisterous and the result is your child gets bowled over in play. Not something you want to see happen. You also have to realize that it’s not a good idea to leave infants or very young children alone with the dog.

The next decision as to what size dog to get if you have children is to get a medium sized breed such as a Boston Terrier or Lhasa Apsos. Also, you need to properly introduce the child and the dog and watch how they with each other. Then spend time training your dog.

So far we have talked about how much space you have and whether you have children or not. Now let’s consider your new dog and the exercise you can and need to give them.

If you have a home with a fenced yard, your dog will be able to get some exercise on his own. However, dog breeds in the Sporting, Hound, and Herding groups are very high energy animals. They need more. You will need to have enough time to give them what they need. And what they need is more intensive exercise.

You'll need to plan to lots of long walks with your dog, perhaps go for a daily romp in the park. After all, these dog breeds were bred to work hard and don't they won't do well unless they have a job to do or a way to burn off excess energy.

Finally, don't forget to consider grooming needs when picking a dog. Some dog breeds only need a half hour or so of grooming a week, while others need to be groomed for an hour a day. If you are short on time, don't buy a Standard Poodle or a Maltese, unless, of course, you plan to take your dog to a groom. Breeds like Boston Terriers or Whippets are good choices for people who don't have time to do a lot of grooming.

Once you decide which breed of dog you want, you will need to consider the age of the dog. Many people, when picking a dog, opt to buy a cuddly little puppy instead of an older dog. While puppies have not developed any bad habits, it will be up to the new owner to be sure that the puppy becomes housebroken and obedience trained. Older dogs are frequently already housebroken and usually have some obedience training. They are also more likely to be less hyper and less destructive. However, they can have behavioral problems or health problems that prompted the former owner to find them a new home.

Do you want to buy a puppy? If so, you will need to find a reputable dog breeder who has a litter of the breed you are interested in. Often, a good breeder will have a waiting list for puppies. If you aren't the patient sort, you may be tempted to buy a puppy from a pet store. However, many pet store puppies come from puppy mills and have genetic health defects, bad temperaments, or other problems. When picking a dog, it is usually safest to buy a puppy directly from the breeder.

If you are interested in an older dog, you may want to visit your local animal shelter or call a breed rescue. These groups evaluate the dogs' health and temperament before adopting them out. You can imagine how important this can be when picking a dog.

Now, once you've narrowed down the breed choices and have decided which dog is right for you, don't get too relaxed. After all, you still have one more important decision to make, what to name your new companion!

Other articles on dogs:
How adopting a pet online can save you time, energy, and money!
Purebred dogs and the American Kennel Club.
Is a Boston Terrier the right dog for you?
So you want a bulldog?
Is the Golden Retriever the right dog for you?
Do you want more pet articles? Then click here for the pet index page.

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