Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

What kind of dog fits me?
January 19, 2008

Question: I know I want a dog but how do I know what kind?

Answer: It’s easy!!!

Step one – Get a pen and paper. You have homework to do! Think I’m kiddin? Read on!

Each member of the house gets a paper – No looking at anyone else’s answers! I want you to write down what YOU want out of a dog. Activity level, hair length, sex, size when grown, etc. Do you want a clingy dog or one who will ignore you? DETAILS!

Then, you write down YOUR activity level (OK, be honest here) – things you’d like to do with a dog (walk, jog, run, agility, hike, share the couch, etc.).

Then, compare notes with the rest of the family. Get a “general description” of what you’d like in a dog. Make sure everyone agrees on the final product so there will be no hurt feelings or mis-understandings.

Step two – Go to the library (whoo hoo! Field trip!). Get a dog book. I use “Encyclopedia of the Dog.” The books are usually classified into sections like “working class” or “toy class.” Look page by page at ALL the dogs, there should be descriptions of the dog’s size, temperament, compatibility with other dogs, kids, cats, etc. READ UP.

Narrow it down to a few who you and your family like.

Still not sure? Call a kennel club. I use South Windsor Kennel Club. They will get you in touch with a breeder if you’re interested in a specific breed but are not sure.

Step Three – Decide your family’s responsibility level. This will determine whether or not you start from a puppy or more of an adult. I specifically have not mentioned looking at puppies up until this point because …

A puppy is a puppy for ONLY about THREE months -– it then becomes a DOG for about 10 to 15 YEARS. PICK A DOG BASED ON WHAT IT WILL BE AS AN ADULT -– NOT BASED ON HOW CUTE IT IS AS A PUPPY!!!

Step Four – Go to and plug in the breed you have found best suits your family. Then go look! Still like two different breeds? Look for a mix of BOTH!!!

Step Five – GO MEET THE DOG!

Things to Look For: The dog/puppy should make eye contact with you. It should be easily petted without freaking out. It should be basically comfortable with you and your family. If the dog does NOT approach you or your kids, it has NO INTEREST -– MOVE ON! Remember, kids can be SCARY to ANY dog -– so take that into account. A dog or puppy should LIKE YOU! If the dog or puppy jumps up and your kids freak, they’re not ready. DOGS AND PUPPIES JUMP UP.

ASK QUESTIONS!!! You will be living with this creature for MANY YEARS! You want to know this dog very well BEFORE you bring it home! Don’t feel dumb about asking questions -– I’ve been doing this 20 years and I STILL ask!!!

Owner Surrenders: OK, first things first: No owner gives up a perfectly behaved dog. Unless it’s a case where the dog was owned by a relative who died, moved or the owner has to move, etc., be suspicious.

ASK IF THE DOG HAS EVER BITTEN ANYONE. If they say no but you want to make sure, call the animal control officer in that town (via the police department) and ask!!! Basic premise? PEOPLE WILL LIE!!

ASK FOR THEIR VETERINARIAN’S NUMBER. CALL the vet to see if there are any aggression issues with this dog. Ask if the dog has been kept up to date with vaccinations, etc.

ASK HOW THE DOG IS WITH KIDS, CATS, OTHER DOGS … Even if you don’t have other dogs or cats, you want to know how they are anyway in case you’re out on a walk with Fido. You really don’t want to find out he HATES dogs when a neighbor’s dog comes to say “Hey,” and you end up flying across the roadway on your face being dragged by a snarling pooch.

ASK ASK ASK!!! Make a list of questions to ask the owner. IF the owner gets testy or seems to be guarding his/her answers, WALK AWAY!

Summary: This animal will be with you for MANY YEARS. You need to make SURE it’s a PERFECT FIT for your family.