Dear Miss Behavin’: Our kids have been begging for a dog, and we’ve finally decided it’s a good time. This will be our first dog, how do we find the perfect match?
Once you’ve decided to start the search for the right dog for you, there are lots of factors to consider, but one is key: What do you as a family want out of a dog? Have a conversation about how you picture your dog fitting into your life. Do you want a dog who can go everywhere with you, from coffee shops to the beach? Or are you homebodies wanting a companion to watch movies and go for strolls with?
If you’re looking for that dog who can happily tag along on errands and hikes, you’ll want a dog who is friendly with people and dogs and comfortable exploring new environments. Active and/or young dogs make great fits for these lifestyles as they love to be on the go just like you. Plus, you don’t always have to factor in extra time to exercise the dog if you are already a regular walker or runner.
For the homebodies out there, you may not need such a social butterfly, and in fact may be better suited towards a shyer or older dog who is happy to lounge around and live a quieter lifestyle. Adult dogs who are out of their puppy phase and have mellowed out a bit often mesh well into these types of homes. If you don’t love exercise, steer away from high energy young dogs, as they can become frustrated or destructive if their needs are not met.
If you still aren’t sure, ask a friend if you can “borrow” their dog for a day to feel it out, or consider volunteering at a local animal shelter to get to know different personalities!