Finding the Perfect Dog for Your Family
Dear Rich Lifer,
We hope you found our list of eight reasons to adopt a dog to be a helpful guide to evaluate if it’s the right time to add a dog to your family.
Because of the amount of Americans quarantining, there has been a 70% increase in pet fosters and adoptions, according to estimates from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
If you’ve decided to move forward with adopting a dog, there are still a lot of factors to consider to find and actually get your new pup in the best way!
As you’ve already learned, there are so many benefits to having a dog in the household, from emotional and physical benefits for adults, to developmental and behavioral benefits for children.
However, knowing how to add the right dog to your family in key in making sure you and your furry friend will be a perfect match.
Research the Breed
Different breeds not only look differently but behave differently. Maybe you’ve always liked the small, sweet-looking, Jack Russel terriers, but have you researched if the breed is right for you?
Jack Russel terriers are actually one of the most sought after breeds by potential owners. However, they are by nature highly energetic and strong willed. They need lots of attention and consistent training; not only for the dog to thrive, but also for the owner to be happy.
If you have your heart set on a dog with these types of personality traits, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing and able to give the dog what it needs.
Do you enjoy running? Would you take your dog on runs? Do you have the energy, time or desire to walk your dog for long periods daily? Do you have the time to train your dog consistently?
Be honest with yourself when assessing exactly what kind of lifestyle you will need, or what you will need to adjust, to best care for your dog.
If you’re someone who thinks they know what kind of dog they want, but aren’t quite sure if the breed is a good match, head over to the American Kennel Club’s website, https://www.akc.org/.
They offer a “Dog Breed Selector” where a series of questions presented can help you narrow down what breed of dog is best for you. They also allow you to compare breeds side by side which makes narrow down your perfect match even easier.
Once you’ve decided on the breed, the site will even link you directly to puppies of that particular breed that are available for adoption.
Learning About Your Breed
Once you have a breed in mind it’s time to do your research so that you’re sure you’re making the best decision for both yourself and your potential new pup.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) website is a great place to start. They have a specific page for every dog breed where you can read up about a dog’s history, personality, grooming and exercise needs, and more.
Each breed also has an AKC-affiliated club, made up of breeders who have years of experience in a particular dog breed. Many clubs offer information on the dog’s personality on their website, but if you need more information, club members’ contact information is easily available, and members are always willing to answer questions about the breed they are so passionate about.
Watching dog shows is also a great way to learn more about different breeds.To learn about a specific breed, we’d recommend a conformation show, a traditional dog show, but if you are looking for a breed in a particular sport (like agility), watching a competition might give you a good idea of what to look for.
Finding the Right Breeder
Now that you’ve done your research and found the perfect breed, it’s time to find a great breeder.
A great place to start is by visiting the AKC Marketplace on their website, which allows you to search for breeders near you.
Puppy buyers browsing there can see which breeders have earned Breeder of Merit distinction, and which are members of an AKC-licensed club, for example.
Once you’ve found your breeder, talk openly about your expectations in a dog. Breeders love to talk dogs, so they encourage buyers to ask anything and everything that they might want to know.
Your breeder will also have experience in predicting a dog’s temperament and can help you pick the best from the litter for your needs.
Additionally, the breeder will give you advice on socializing and training your puppy as well as his training and exercise needs to ensure that your grown dog is exactly what you had hoped for in a family pet.
A breeder interview is as important for the breeder to learn about you, as it is for you to learn about picking the right puppy from the breeder.
A good breeder interview is a two-way street. Breeders love to meet eager and engaged puppy seekers who want to learn as much as possible about the breed before bringing a dog home. This demonstrates that the family coming to meet a breeder’s treasured litter is committed to giving one of their puppies the best life possible.
Finally, honesty is key when you’re talking with a breeder about your home, your needs, and the kind of lifestyle you can provide to a puppy.
You should be ready to answer questions about your home, other pets, and the activity level in the household. More specific questions can help determine how prepared a puppy buyer is to welcome a particular breed into their home and lifestyle.
Responsible breeders always want to ensure that the homes they’re selecting have their puppies’ best interests in mind.
At the end of the day, breeders and buyers have a mutual goal: puppies living happy lives with happy families.
To a Richer Life,
The Rich Life Roadmap Team