Expert Author Val Heart

As an expert animal communicator many people come to me wanting help picking the right dog to bring home, the one that is a right fit to include in their family. A staggering percent of dogs end up in shelters and face possible euthanasia because their owners didn't consider some important points before making the most important decision in their dog's life.

Getting the wrong dog is the first and worst mistake you can make. Because once you bring them home, then you have to figure out how to deal with each other - and if you are fundamentally incompatible, then at best you'll only be moderately happy. And in the worse cases, you have endangered not only your life and your family, but you may have also doomed the dog.

Take Time Interview Your Prospective New Dog First!

You wouldn't hire an employee just because they were cute or reminded you of another employee you had years ago, would you? You wouldn't take a job offer without knowing you would enjoy and could do the work, would you? And I hope you wouldn't marry someone without knowing if they were the right person either.

Well, don't just take the first dog that meets your eye either! These three points should always be considered when deciding if you and a dog are a good fit for each other:

• What lifestyle you actually live - and what your prospective dog will be happy with

• How much time you are willing and able to dedicate to your new companion -- and whether that will be enough for them

• How much training and skill you currently have -- and whether you need to learn more for the specific animal you are considering

These questions will serve as your benchmark for evaluating what kind of dog is actually suitable for you. You don't want to compromise the quality of care you can provide for your new dog because you are unprepared. And the impact of your new canine companion will not interfere and inconvenience your way of life.

Create a Job Description For Your New Dog

Another way to determine if a dog is a good fit is by writing a "job description". When you do this exercise, you may be surprised to uncover exactly what traits and characteristics you really want and need in your dog. This makes it easier to determine which dog has what it takes, and which do not.

Like humans, dogs have a purpose in life, and need to know what their role is. They need to feel as though they are fulfilling their "role." Therefore, your job description must match up with your dog's ability to fulfil his life purpose.

It is always best to take the time to communicate with your prospective dog candidate what they feel their purpose is directly. That way you know for sure what will make them happy, and if you are a good fit for each other or not, and if they are the right dog for your needs.

Certain breeds of dogs have unique character traits that make them more suitable for certain jobs and completely unsuitable for others. Take the time to research the breed you are interested in to get a thorough understanding of their basic character traits. That gives you a baseline to know what to expect and prepare for.

Another way that a dog's innate character/personality traits affect everyone in your home is by their energy level. If you are a more laid back and peaceful person, a high energy dog would not be advisable for your personality. In this situation the result would be chaos in your home.

Don't Buy That Puppy In the Window!

Also, be aware of where you buy your puppy or what background your new dog has. If you are getting your puppy from an individual rather than a store, then be sure and ask for references. Visit their facility. Talk to people who have gotten other dogs from prior litters.

Some unscrupulous or ignorant breeders produce puppies in large quantities with no regard for their genetics, health or environment. You need to know what types of problems you may be dealing with down the road resulting from any emotional or physical hardships from the time of their birth until they came to be with you.

I don't recommend you ever consider getting a dog from a pet store unless you are willing to spend a great deal of time, energy and money dealing with significant health and behaviour problems.

Picking the right dog that will fit smoothly and happily into your home can take a bit of research, preparation and care - but the time will be well worth the effort. Impulsively making this very important decision can have disastrous consequences for everyone, especially your new dog who may face going to a shelter, or worse, if things don't work out.

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