Illustration Credit: Lili Chin
Because You Actually Get To Choose This Member Of Your Family
Welcome to my first blog post! I really hope you read this blog before you choose your new dog. If I’m too late, hopefully you are having a love affair with your new four legged child and you should read read this anyway.
Dogs are a significant member of the family. We used to be a subculture. Now we are a culture. What confirms this is a private equities firm purchased Petco in 2015 for 4.6 billion dollars, one of the biggest leveraged buyouts of last year. We are spending more money on pampering our dogs and getting them the best medical care and training to insure they live a happy and healthy and long life.
It’s very common to want the dog you grew up in childhood. I did. I grew up with a German Shorthaired Pointer/ Retriever, named Shakey. Since German Shorthaired Pointers were uncommon, my first dog as an adult was a hunting dog: half beagle and half cocker spaniel… to help me with all of the bird & fox hunting I was going to do in the city of Chicago? #WTF was I thinking? More importantly, there was not a single person who stopped me. #WTF were my friends thinking?? I was encouraged to get the adorable yet disruptive dog known as Henri Matisse.
I loved Herni and I was committed to him, but I will never get a beagle mix ever again. (My hand is up to God as I type this.) Beagles are for hunting. What I learned from having Henri was I like a dog who comes back, like retrievers. The beagle in him dug under the fence and would take off for the day and come back for dinner…. like a cheating husband. A new fence, some trauma therapy, a few bottles of wine and 5k later fixed that problem. Henri Matisse would ditch me while hiking on the trail. We’d be at the park and I’d find him digging his way to China under a bush. He looked at me arrogantly when I’d throw a toy to play fetch. When I said his name, he’d look away. It’s a beagle thing. They’re secretly needy. His dog sitter said that Henri would gaze at him with a look that said, “My mother is paying you good money to take care of me.” What could have been a down payment for a nice house, instead went to keeping Henri living in high style.
I’m always going to encourage you to rescue a dog, BUT if you do not find a dog via a rescue group or a shelter, going through a breeder is not an epic tragedy. I will not shame anyone for going to a breeder, especially if you have young children. I want everyone who reads this to have a fulfilling well rounded life. It’s not worth it to take risks with safety. At the end of the day, you NEED TO PICK OUT THE BEST DOG FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE. A little bit of discernment will yield a big return.
Make a list of what you like to do for fun and how much time you like to spend outside. It sounds silly, but you will be glad you did it. Take a couple weeks to observe and accurately asses your energy level. I’m totally serious. This will come into play because your dog should match your level. If you like to walk, run, go to the gym, throw a ball, all these things will serve you well with a dog. Small dogs like to walk, by the way and play. Terriers aren’t big walkers, though it depends on exactly with terrier breed, though every puppy no matter what the breed likes to walk a lot the first two years of their life. Like, keep your shoes next to the bed a lot.
Do you like to sleep past 6am? Hopefully not if you’re thinking of getting a 10-16 week old puppy. Do you have allergies? Make a list with 10 things on what you need in a dog. Take this list when you start exploring dogs. Keep it stored in your devices.
Do some research on breeds and the temperaments of these breeds. I’m asking you to temporarily abandon your childhood wishes. You will thank me later for this. If you have children or plan on having them during the lifespan of your future dog, then you want to get a dog that likes kids. This will come in handy during holidays with family. They will welcome your dog to their house because it makes the kids happy.
There are tens of thousands of options for you. I will skim over the popular few. If you have kids and are active and your kids are active, or someone in your home is active, my favorite dog is the Golden Retriever. They are predictable and generally amazing with kids. I have a golden retriever named Bridget and she is the best dog I’ve ever had. Done. ? She travels with us and keeps my home safe. She’s amazing with kids and small dogs. This also makes her great for business and public relations. I take her to the doggie beauty parlor every couple weeks where she gets bathed and brushed and since she also happens to be only 50 lbs, I’ve had very little to no shedding with her. If you’re not 100% sure on what to get, set up a consultation with me for some breeder recommendations or if you’d like me to assist you with a rescue.
If you’re single and do or do not have kids in your world and you like to go to the gym but don’t consider yourself a big time cardio person, I recommend getting a pug. They are hearty, yet mellow dogs who love people and other dogs. They are one of THE most social breeds. They love love love the couch. Like most smooshed nose breeds, they cannot do a whole lotta running and you must must must be careful that they stay hydrated AND do not overheat. It could be fatal if they do…. Though pugs don’t need a lot of exercise, they are SOCIAL doggies. I can’t say this enough. You cannot leave these guys behind. They need company or they need to accompany you to where you are going.
Terriers are an excellent choice if you have allergies and need a dog that doesn’t shed. Believe it or not there are two downsides that I learned after years in the field when it comes to terriers: they’re the most difficult to potty train of all the types of dog. I would say 80% of terriers are kind of a nightmare to potty train. The kind that will hold it on a walk and then pee on the carpet in the living room when they come home. If you have an easy time potty training your terrier, count you blessings, look up and say THANK YOU! This ain’t always the case.
Regarding dogs who don’t shed: if it ain’t fur, you’re still gonna be cleaning up something. Dogs who don’t shed are like swiffer mops. Even when they have a puppy cut, they will collect dust and dirt and when they get on your bed and furniture that is where they will get it off. I’ve had terriers dirty my furniture more that golden retrievers. At least the retrievers fur falls out and there’s clean fur on my couch and bed. Not saying you shouldn’t get a terrier. I just want you to be aware of all aspects of what you are signing up for.
I hope these suggestions help you. There are so many options you have when picking out your newest family member. If you’re not sure, I’d love to help: you can set up a consult with me to discuss what the top 2-3 types of dogs would be for you. As much as I love training puppies, I love to see the win/ win when you bring home the newest member of your family! #boom