If you want to adopt a pet, October is the perfect month to do it. That’s because it’s the American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month! Every year there are millions of pets in shelters across the country, and they all need loving homes. Instead of buying a dog from a breeder, consider finding the one waiting for you right in your own hometown.
Because there are so many pets that need a family, you’ll want to know how to find the right dog. What should you consider when making your choice? Here are some tips.
How Big of a Dog?
One of the first decisions you have to make is how big your new dog can be. If you live in a small apartment, face it: you’re going to have to find a small dog. If you live in the country with acres of space for your dog to roam in, you can look for a much bigger breed.
While all puppies may be pretty small, do your research and find out how big dogs of different breeds get. If a certain dog is a mixture of breeds, talk to your shelter’s staff to find out how big he’ll probably grow up to be.
Dogs are just like people in that each one has his own personality and temperament. Some dogs will be extremely energetic and playful, while others will be quieter and like to sleep a lot. Finding out what kind of personality a dog has is extremely important in deciding which one will fit well in your family.
If you have small children, you will need a loving, careful dog that isn’t going to run them over. If you plan to take your dog hunting, you’ll need one that doesn’t frighten easily. Doing research on the temperaments of different breeds can also give you a lot of information in figuring out which types of dogs are likely to act in different ways. Nothing beats meeting the dog in person and getting to know it, though.
Age – Puppy or Full-Grown Dog
Deciding what age of a dog to adopt will have a lot to do with how that dog acts. If you adopt a puppy, get prepared for a few indoor accidents. Also, you’ll have to commit yourself to spending a lot more time taking care of a puppy (as opposed to an older dog that will be more likely to look after itself.
One of the upsides to adopting a puppy is that you will have time to train her and to attend obedience classes together. In essence, you can help a puppy grow up into the friendly and loyal dog that you’d like her to be.
Adult dogs may already have been trained well, and they will be much more likely to already listen to their owners, but they can also have ingrained bad habits. It may be too late to train an older dog to obey your directions. If you’re patient, however, these older dogs are some of the sweetest around, and they need homes, too.
Health and Special Needs
Some breeds of dogs tend to get diseases that are specific to that breed, while others will need certain grooming care that others can ignore. Before deciding on a dog, find out what special needs it may need due to its breed. Also talk to shelter staff about what individual needs a particular dog has. He may need special care due to being partially deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from being the sweetest dog in the world!
Have fun welcoming a dog into your family this October!