Having a family dog or welcoming a canine companion into your family adds a unique and exciting dynamic. From seeing your pup wag its tail in excitement to watching it play around, the opportunities for happiness and unforgettable memories are endless.
That said, finding the dog best suited for your family may be challenging, seeing as there are numerous factors to consider.
This article contains some benefits of owning a family dog as well as some tips to help you make the right choice.
The Benefits of a Family Dog
Dogs are known for the positive impact they have on individuals and families. Here are a few benefits of owning a family dog.
1. Teaches Responsibility
Bringing a canine into your family is an incredible parenting style. Not only does it teach your children to be responsible, but it also allows them to learn how to be compassionate.
Dogs are social creatures and appreciate the opportunity to be companions. This means having a family dog gives the entire family a companion to rely on. Furthermore, this relationship goes ways, as your dog will also lean on the family for companionship.
3. Improved Physical and Mental Health
Daily activities, like taking walks and playing outside, allow you and the family to be more active. This active lifestyle leads to improved physical and mental health. Additionally, receiving comfort and support from your canine can help to reduce stress and blood pressure issues.
Factors to Consider When Finding the Perfect Match
Finding the perfect dog for you requires considering several factors to ensure you meet your family’s needs. Here are some factors to think about when selecting a new addition to the family.
1. Family Size and Dynamic
One of the most important factors to consider is the size and members of your family. Younger children require low-maintenance and calm dogs. Alternatively, if you have older kids, you can opt for dogs with high energy levels.
2. Family Lifestyle
Dogs have varying exercise needs, meaning some enjoy going outside to play while others are comfortable indoors. Therefore, you need to understand your family’s lifestyle.
Are most members usually on the move, heading to school, busy with work, or focusing on various activities? If so, then your family needs a pup that stays inside and does not need much exercise.
On the other hand, if your family members are outdoors enthusiasts who go jogging or hiking often, you need an energetic dog.
3. Living Space
Your living situation plays a vital role in determining the best dog for your family. If you live in a suburban home with a large yard or indoor space, you can go for bigger and more active dogs. They’ll have enough room to move around.
However, if you live in an apartment or a home with limited space, you should consider going for smaller breeds with lower energy levels.
4. Allergies and Other Conditions
Allergy to dogs is quite common in numerous households, so it is best to find out if any member of your family is allergic to pet dander.
If anyone is allergic, a hypoallergenic pet breed may be the perfect match. These are allergy-friendly dogs that produce fewer allergens.
A great example of a family-friendly dog is the Labradoodle. This breed is a combination of a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, and this dog is known for being friendly, intelligent, and hypoallergenic.
Alternatively, family members with allergies can go for allergy shots that help to curb their allergies. That said, be sure to consult a vet and your physician before making any decisions.
In addition, be sure to keep family members with certain disabilities in mind. Choose a nurturing dog that can offer emotional support and care for them.
5. Time Commitment
Dogs, no matter the breed, require a certain amount of time, dedication, and attention. From grooming to exercising, someone needs to be there for your furry friend.
So, evaluate your daily routine and determine how much time you are willing to dedicate to caring for your dog. When you figure it out, you can determine the dog for you depending on how much attention they need.
Choosing the Right Breed
Now that you have figured out what your family needs, you can start finding the optimal breed. Dogs are unique creatures with defining characteristics, so you might get confused when trying to pick one. Here are some tips to help you make a decision.
1. Research Breeds
Dedicate some time to researching the different dog breeds. Learn about their sizes, energy levels, temperaments, grooming requirements, and health conditions they may be predisposed to.
You can do research online or read books. Alternatively, you can find a breed club and learn from there.
Sometimes, it is best to receive information from people with first-hand experience. If you have friends with families who have dogs, you can also ask them.
2. Visit the Parents
If you choose to take a purebred home, visiting their parents goes a long way in ensuring you make the right decision. Observing your pup’s parents can give you insights into your puppy’s possible health status and temperament.
3. Ask For Help
If you are unsure about anything, you can converse with breeders, vets, or adoption centers. Make inquiries regarding dogs they currently have and how helpful they can be with matching your family with the dog it needs.
Getting to Know Your Potential Dog
Once you have determined what your family needs and what breed you want, you can set out to meet the pup of your choice. This is crucial for learning if the pup is the right fit.
Firstly, spend some time with the dog. Play with them, go for a walk, and observe how they interact with your family in general. Do their sociability, behavior, and energy levels align with what your family needs?
Secondly, ask questions about the dog. Ask about their behavior, parents, health concerns, and others. It is also a good idea to consult vets and professional dog trainers to help make an informed decision.
Welcoming Your New Family Dog
Once you pick a new family member, it’s time to make arrangements for this new addition. This includes:
- Dog-proofing to protect your dog and house.
- Purchasing essential items like food and water bowls, a collar, grooming tools, and toys.
- Selecting a trusted local veterinarian for vaccinations and check-ups.
- Enrolling in obedience school or hiring a trainer. Alternatively, you can train your dog by yourself.
- Coming up with a routine for feeding, playtime, and exercising.
Bringing a family dog home is the beginning of an incredible journey filled with comfort, joy, and excitement. However, finding the perfect fit requires some discernment.
You need to assess your family and what it needs, choose the right breed, and take other measures to ensure you find a match.
Keep in mind that owning a dog is a lifelong commitment, so you need to take your time and ensure you are making the best possible choice.