Deciding to purchase a new dog or puppy is an exciting time. The joy that our four-legged friends bring into our lives and homes is unrivalled. In order to find the most suitable dogs for adoption, there are number of considerations that you need to think about before you adoptapet.
We will not be reviewing specific breeds as we do not believe this will help you find the most suitable dog for you or your family. Every dog is different. Even from the same litter, siblings will display different characteristics. Just like humans, animals have their own ‘personalities’ or idiosyncrasies that may make them more or less suitable for you or family. For example bulldogs are generally considered not to be very active due to their shape. However, someone looking for a dog with a low exercise requirement may be disappointed to find they have taken home the world’s most active bulldog. Also, wanting a pedigree or pure breed because of certain traits or characteristics puts crossbreeds (or mutts) at an unfair disadvantage. Non-pedigree dogs make great pets, and due to the greater gene diversification, they are generally healthier and less disposed to inherited diseases.
Things to know before you adoptapet
1. The adoption option
Considering the thousands of dogs for adoption in Australia, everyone should consider adopting a dog from an animal shelter, rescue home or pound. The ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling you will get from adopting a dog, who would otherwise have an ‘uncertain’ future, will last a lifetime.
2. Puppy vs adult?
No doubt about it, puppies are adorable. However, raising a well-adjusted puppy is very demanding. Someone needs to be with the puppy almost full-time for its first year. That said, puppies are impressionable and can be moulded (to a certain extent) to your family’s lifestyle. Adult dogs are less likely to chew everything and may be better suited to people or families who spend most of the day at work. Adult dogs have fully developed ‘personalities’ so make sure you spend a good amount of time with them to ensure they fit with your family’s lifestyle. Adult dogs may also come fully trained, saving you a lot of work.
If you decide to purchase a puppy it is critically important that you get to know the breeder. How the puppy is raised in the first few weeks of life will heavily influence their character and temperament. Make sure the puppy has been adequately socialised with people of varying ages and other animals, including other dogs.
4. Time commitment
Dogs require a lot of attention. This will vary on the breed and the individual pet, so you should think carefully about the amount of time you can spend playing, grooming and walking a dog and only consider dogs that will be comfortable with this amount of time alone. A mismatch here can make your life difficult as your dog may misbehave in order to get your attention. If you work all day and spend most nights out, then no dog will not fit into your lifestyle.
In addition to time, you need to consider whether you have the physical, mental and emotional energy to look after a dog. All dogs require some form of exercise and stimulation every day. Active and energetic dogs will require off-the-lead exercise at least twice a day. You will also need to ‘tune in’ to their needs and give them lots of love and attention, even when you are tired.
6. Your long-term plan
Getting a dog is a significant commitment, with some dogs living for 15-20 years. We’re not suggesting you dust off your crystal ball, but before buying a dog try to cast your mind forward 10 years. Did you ever want to live overseas? Are you settling down with a new partner or planning on having children? Will you have the time, energy and inclination to look after a dog with young children? If you have an older family, how will the dog cope with the isolation when your children move out, or everyone is at work all day? Whatever your situation, make sure that you get a dog that is better suited to these expected changes.
Looking after a dog can be more expensive that people expect. After the initial purchase price, owners may be faced with the costs of vaccinations, desexing and microchipping-although reputable breeders and animal shelters will ensure this is done before offering the dog or puppy for adoption. Owners will also have to buy a kennel, bedding materials, collars, leads, toys, obedience classes and pay annual registration fees. If you travel a lot, consider the cost of kennelling every time you go away. Veterinary bills can also add up quickly, especially in an emergency, so pet insurance is always recommended.
8. Length of coat
This is an often overlooked consideration in Australia. During a hot Australian summer, a dog with a long, thick coat will shed continuously and may be uncomfortable, leading to constant panting and a ‘cranky’ demeanour. Shed hair will take over your house, unless you brush your dog daily. People with allergies should look for a dog that does not shed.
Before heading to the local animal shelter, rescue home or breeder, sit down and think carefully about the type of dog that will suit your circumstances. It will help to make a list of essential and desirable characteristics. When you start looking for your new furry friend, stay objective (as hard as it is with those big, brown eyes looking at you) and try to only visit those dogs that meet your essential criteria.
Being a dog owner can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in life, but it is important for you and your new furry friend that you spend time thinking about your circumstances and finding the right match.
Need help finding the right dog for your circumstances? Click here to use the Perfect Pet Finder ‘Pet Match Maker System’ to find dogs for adoption.