Choosing the Correct Dog for Your Lifestyle

Literally thousands of years have passed through time with humans and domesticated dogs sharing in life.  We are surely only starting to understand the extent of the remarkable bond between people and dogs.  Bringing a dog into your life can be a wonderful idea at any age, but it is a decision not to be taken lightly.  If you are looking for a new dog for yourself or for a family member, it is very important to take your time to find the right dog to properly be suited for your age, health, and lifestyle both now and possibly for over the next decade or beyond.

Here are just a few tips to help you when choosing the right dog for your current stage of life and activity level:

#1: A Dog For a Active Person or Family
If you are an active family that is looking for a dog that can keep up with you or your family’s high-energy lifestyle, then your dog options are for the most part limitless.  There are many options available when seeking to find an active dog.

  • Visit your local rescue/shelter—they are sure to have a fun-loving dog with the right temperament for you and your family.  A timid or senior dog may not be such a good match if you fall into this category.  Consider a puppy or young adult dog, and look for a dog that is very active and outgoing, with an energy level that you desire in a pet companion.
  • Some breeds or breed mixes that are known to do well as active family dogs include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Boxers and the Beagle.  There are many other great breeds as well.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the American Pit Bull Terrier can make an excellent energetic family dog. They were once nicknamed “Nanny Dogs” as they can be especially gentle towards children.
  • However, regardless of the breed, or breed mix you choose, it is essential that you never leave a small child unattended with ANY dog for any amount of time.

#2: A Dog For a Working Person or Couple
If you have to work for long hours away from home, you may want to think twice before getting a dog.  Many dogs do not cope well with being left alone for long hours.  If you are determined to get a dog, there are a few ways that you can make life better for you and your future dog in these situations.

  • I suggest adopting an adult dog that is already out of the puppy stage. You should be looking for a dog that is already potty trained and has a relatively relaxed and laid back personality.
  • Contact or visit a local rescue organization—they will be able to match you with a dog that can handle long hours alone.
  • Invest in pet sitting services or hire a dog-walker.  Doggie daycare is another great option for highly socialized dogs.  You will thank yourself at the end of the day when you come home to a tired, happy dog.
  • Remember that any dog is going to have an adjustment period whenever you first bring them home.  A dog that is house-broken, or potty trained may have accidents while they adjust to your schedule and their new environment with your family.
  • Dogs can be a great stress reliever whenever you have an otherwise chaotic and busy life.  Studies have actually shown that dogs may prevent heart disease and improve overall health.

#3: A Dog For A Senior Citizen or Older Couple
A dog can be a wonderful companion for a senior citizen.  Recent studies have shown that dogs can serve as early warning detectors of when a person’s health is declining, which can give loved ones a peace of mind.  If you are looking for a dog for yourself or for a friend or family member, take the time to make sure that you choose a suitable dog that best fits the new environment they will have to adapt to and live in.

  • Many adoption centers have “Seniors for Seniors” programs where a senior citizen can adopt a senior animal for a reduced cost.  Check to see if there is a program like this in your area.
  • Keep in mind that a puppy or young adult dog is generally not a good idea for a senior citizen.
  • You will want to look for an older dog that has a very calm temperament and that has already had at least some basic training.
  • Lastly, regardless of which dog you choose, it is often vital to have a friend or family member that is willing to care for the dog in the event that the dog’s owner becomes unable or passes away during the dog’s natural life.  Although we hope this never happens, you want to be prepared with a plan just in case it does.
Sumter Pet Sitters
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