Choosing the Right Dog for You

Dogs make wonderful pets but it’s easy to get carried away with the idea of owning one without thinking hard about it first. Remember that the animal you choose could be with you for 15 years or longer, so you’ll want to factor in care costs and effort required. If you doubt you can make the commitment, then don’t take on the care of a dog. You are responsible for its happiness, well-being and behaviour.

Which dog is right for you?

Which type of dog is best for your family is an important question. Different breeds have different temperaments so do lots of research on size, behaviour, health issues and exercise needs, before making a decision. Find out as much as you can about a particular dog before purchasing and remember that cross-breeds can be harder to predict what traits will be dominant.

Taking on a rescue dog

For many people, taking on an adult rescue dog is preferable to buying a puppy. They are more likely to be house trained and more settled in their behaviour. There shouldn’t be any of the messy, destructive chewing habits that are so prevalent with young dogs. However, an adult dog will have both good and bad habits that reflect their earlier upbringing, so it might not all be plain-sailing.

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Choose a charity centre and be guided by what the staff tell you about the dog. They have lots of experience in matching the right dogs with the best homes. Try not to be too swayed by appearance. Temperament and history are the most important factors. You’ll be told whether the dog can live with children or is not to be homed with cats, for example.

Questions to ask

After completing your research, ask yourself these questions before making a final decision:

Have you received enough information about the dog’s history including its likes and dislikes?

Have you spoken to kennel staff or the previous owner?

Have you seen a full vet history and know about any illnesses, operations and vaccinations?

Is there any help available after you’ve rehomed the dog should there be any behavioural or veterinary problems?

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Important Considerations

Consider pet insurance carefully as vet treatment can be very expensive. It is also legally required to have a collar and tag with owner’s name and address on when the dog is in public. For a wide range of stylish Dog Collars and Leads, visit All dogs over 8 weeks of age must also be microchipped.

Remember that you’ll need to make a commitment to exercising your new pet. This is vital for a dog’s well-being and how much will depend on the age and breed of your dog. Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks so never think that your dog is too old for training.