Choosing the right dog is a big decision and a commitment for the whole household. There are several factors to consider when selecting the breed and the individual dog that is the right fit. The shelter workers or adoption agency can help answer questions about each dog’s history. Interacting with dogs in the shelter can be the deciding factor when choosing the perfect new family member.

Size

One of the first things to consider is what size dog is right. When adopting a puppy, it is important to know about how large the dog will grow. Small dogs may not be a good fit for a family with small children as they can easily be hurt or stepped on. Small dogs will also have less protection from the cold weather and need to be kept warm. Very large dogs require space to move around and may be cramped in an apartment or other small space.

Age

Many people want to adopt a puppy. While this is often a fine choice, it is important to consider the time and patience that will be required to train a puppy. Puppies shouldn’t be left alone for longer than a couple hours. An adult dog is typically calmer and will have some level of training, a refresher on housetraining and other behaviors will probably still be necessary.

Grooming Needs

Some breeds will need regular grooming while others are fairly low-maintenance. Shedding also varies drastically between breeds. Find out before you adopt whether a dog will need professional grooming appointments. This is an expense that needs to be taken into account. If someone in the home may have allergies to pet hair, it is important to find out ahead of time and look into breeds such as Bichon Frises that tend to cause fewer reactions.

History

Be sure to inquire about how well specific dogs get along with children, other dogs, and cats if they will be sharing the home with any of the above groups. Animals that were abandoned or abused in the past will require an extra level of care in order to assimilate into a new home. It is important to know as much as possible about a new dog’s past including any known health concerns and whether all vaccinations are up to date.

Energy Level

All dogs need exercise, but different breeds have different energy levels and exercise requirements. Some breeds, such as Border Collies, do best in a home with a fenced yard and space to run. Other breeds, like Basset Hounds, have fairly low energy levels and are generally content with a few short walks.

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