Getting a dog? Planning makes perfect - Dr. Marty Becker

Getting a dog? Planning makes perfect

Friday, Jul 11th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

GraciePuppyWe all know the feeling: We see a well-trained dog in a movie or on TV, or watch a dog show, or randomly encountering an exotic breed on the street, and think, “I want a dog just like that one!”

Going on the search for a dog based on that feeling is a recipe for a less than ideal relationship. It would be like wandering into an exotic car dealership and wanting a car with Formula One handling characteristics (and price tag) when you’re best suited to a used, 4-wheel drive pickup truck. Only worse, because dogs are living creatures who can suffer in ways a car can’t.

Avoid the trap, and think about a dog who will be right for you. You’ll want one who fits your budget (small dogs eat less and cost less to board and treat), lifestyle (do you want a lap dog that sits in your lap or one who endlessly runs laps), needs (alarm/guard, exercise companion, great with children, retrieve, competitive in an activity like agility) and limitations (does your landlord allow pets or just ones of a certain size? Will your homeowner’s insurance insure this breed? Are you physically able to exercise and groom this pet?).

One ally in your quest for your perfect dog: Your veterinarian, who can help you understand the cost of caring for your future pet, guide you to a reputable rescue organization, shelter, or breeder, and give you feedback about the health and behavior of the many different breeds and type of dog he’s seen over the years.

The more thought and care you put into the process of finding your dog, the better the chances it will be a match made to last!

Photo: Of course you want a dog just like Gracie. But you can’t have her; she’s mine.