A friend recently sold her house and asked us to look after her very energetic German Hunting Terrier for six months while she moved out. Unfortunately we had to decline. Our small city apartment has no extra room for any living thing, not even a dog of this compact size (and I must add, very adorable). Our doubt is more that she is a rescue dog and although she has come a long way since her initial adoption, she is still very skittish and tends to urinate in random places when she is nervous. But our biggest reason to believe that she wouldn’t work comes from the fact that her barking, either when she’s nervous or detects possible play, can break glass. This type of behavior would not work in our quiet apartment building or neighborhood and this dog loves to bark.

My point here is that I recommend anyone considering adding a canine to their family, especially if they’ve never owned a dog before, to do some homework. We knew enough about our friend’s dog’s behavior to know that our little apartment is not a match and this dog definitely needs a backyard. Check your local library for information on any breed you’re considering. And of course, a great resource is the internet (some sites offer basic quizzes on the best dog breeds for you). Do some research on the breed of dog you are considering to find out if it is compatible with your family or living space. Do you have the resources to care for the dog plus the time, determination and perseverance to train a puppy? And most importantly, how much exercise does the dog need daily? For example, there are many dogs that need at least an hour or two to run or walk every day, which is the exact opposite of a friend’s bulldog who just wanted to walk from her apartment door to the nearest tree to take care of your business. and that was it.

Other considerations

Does the breed of dog you are considering get along well with children? If you plan to let the dog spend a lot of time in the backyard, is this a breed that loves to dig? Are they easy to train? If you are choosing a puppy, how big will the dog grow (do you have the space)? Do you need a dog with hypoallergenic fur? If you still want to go down the puppy route, it’s a good idea to get some training manuals or sign up for a local dog training class. Is the breed you are considering also prone to health problems? Regardless, it’s always a good idea to sign up for pet insurance as soon as possible because if you have medical issues, the costs can be high.

adopt a rescue dog

While you may want a puppy because you want to ensure you are involved in the socialization and training of your new dog, don’t discount the many dogs waiting to be adopted at the Humane Society or other rescue organizations. Puppydom can be difficult if you don’t have the time and patience to train your new pet. Rescue organizations not only have lost animals, but also those who have lost their owners due to illness, old age, divorce, etc. Adopting an adult dog from a shelter also means that he has had a physical exam, his vaccinations and has been spayed or neutered. Also, there will be no surprises in the size or personality of the dog.

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