Choosing the right dog – the breed, the size, the temperament, the cost – is the key first step to building a loving, healthy and happy relationship with a pet. Get it right and you’re likely to have a deeply rewarding experience. Get it wrong and you’re facing a potential nightmare.
So what should you do? First, recognize that there are two parties to this relationship – you (and the fellow humans in your household) and the dog. Both sides of the equation have to be compatible, which means that you have to understand as much about yourself as you do about the animal you’re adopting.
Your lifestyle, habits and personality will guide the type of dog that’s right for you. So before taking a dog in, it’s crucial that you take a personal inventory.
Do you live in a small apartment in a city, in a suburban home with a backyard or in the wide-open spaces? Are you an active person or are you a couch potato? Are you looking for a dog for security, as a companion for children, as an exercise partner? Are you a type-A workaholic with little attention to spare, or do you have more leisure time? Are you away from home a great deal or is the house your base of operation? Are you prepared for the expense?