Careful consideration and research are required when adding a dog into your life
Are you hoping to own a dog in the near future? Every time one of my friends tell me that they are seriously considering buying a dog, I offer to text them every time I spend time with or money on my dog for a week. If they actually agree to this, by day three I usually get a polite “Got it. Thanks”.
Dogs are fantastic. I cannot tell you how much they have enriched my life, but the truth is dogs are a lot of work.
Dogs require a great deal of time, energy, patience, responsibility and money. Puppies and dogs of all ages require time. Time to teach them right from wrong as youngsters, time to exercise them, time to groom them, play games with them, feed them, and since dogs are pack animals, simply time to enjoy one another’s company. If your free time is basically non-existent or if you travel constantly for work (and don’t have a partner at home to watch the dog) yours might not be an ideal situation to bring a dog into. Several “doggy chores” must be done daily, so energy and continued interest in the dog’s wellbeing is a must. Although dogs communicate with us all the time, they don’t speak our language, so patience is needed to teach them what you want from them. Your dog immediately becomes your responsibility so it is up to you to ensure that he won’t become a nuisance to your neighbours or endanger himself by running loose. And dogs cost money. Lots of it. I often tell people “the cheapest thing you will ever buy is the dog itself”. The Canadian Kennel Club’s preferred pet insurance provider Pets Plus Us has a chart on their website that breaks the average cost of the first year of owning a puppy to about $3699. https://www.petsplusus.com/pet-information/pet-ownership/cost-of-care
That figure varies by breed a bit and they don’t include a dog walker or groomer, however you get the idea. Some purchases are a one-time investment, but many are reoccurring. If your finances are not in good order, now might not be the time to get into dog ownership.
Having the maturity to come to the realization that now is not the time for you to get into dog ownership can save you and a dog a lot of heartache. If you are not currently in a position to own a dog, there are other ways to get your daily dose of dog. Spend time playing with a friend or relative’s dog, or volunteer to walk an elderly neighbour’s dog. You can also see tons of great dogs almost any weekend at a dog show or trial. You can find an event in your area here: https://www.ckc.ca/Event-Calendar/Default.aspx
If you have taken all of the above into consideration and have decided that you still want to get a dog, the search now begins for finding the right breed to suit your lifestyle and needs. A wonderful thing about purebred dogs is their diversity. All purebred dogs have been purposely bred to fulfill a purpose and there’s one to suit almost any taste.
The first step towards finding the right breed is to ask yourself what you want from a dog. Do you want a hunting companion, a guardian, a jogging partner or simply a cuddly couch potato? What kind of grooming requirements are you prepared for? A long flowing coat, tight curls, a short coat, a crisp wiry jacket or no coat at all? What size of dog would fit best into your life? A large dog, medium pooch or a pint-sized pup? Should they be outgoing or independent? Bubbly or serious? Outspoken or quiet?
It does take a bit of research, but eventually you will start to find breeds that tick off most of your qualities you are looking for and will be the best fit you’re your lifestyle, and the dogs needs.
While on the looking for the right breed for you, it is important to be completely honest with yourself. You may love the following coat of a Bearded Collie, but know deep down you wouldn’t keep up with the time and money required for maintaining that beautiful coat. The Pointer might seem picture perfect, but the reality is that you aren’t that active enough to keep up with their high levels of energy. You might love the Nordic look of the Alaskan Malamute but know your neat freak partner couldn’t handle your home being a shedding snow globe every other season. Being honest with yourself will stop you from getting a breed that isn’t an ideal fit for you for the next 10-15 years or more.
Do you have kids or do kids visit your home often? If so, it’s a good idea to choose a breed that is known for being patient with children and not easily scared. That being said, every dog should be socialized when young and children should never be left unsupervised with a dog.
Which activities you plan on doing with your dog must also factor into your decision. If you want a dog to go hunting with you –you’ll want to check out the Sporting and Hound Groups. If you want a dog that you can carry onto public transit, you may want to look at some members the Toy and Non-Sporting Groups, as well as some of the smaller Hounds and Terriers. If you want an obedience or agility competitor you’ll want to research members of several groups, including Working, Herding and the Terrier Group.
You can learn about the Canadian Kennel Club’s 7 Groups here: https://www.ckc.ca/en/Choosing-a-Dog/Choosing-a-Breed
Exploring and searching for the right breed for you can take a while, but it is fun and you will learn lots. A dog show will provide you with the best opportunity to meet hundreds of dogs of hundreds of breeds face to face. You will also get to chat with owners, breeders and handlers that live with these breeds every single day. Once you do select a breed, use the Canadian Kennel Club’s Puppy List to start connecting with Member Breeders in your area: http://www.ckc.ca/Choosing-a-Dog/PuppyList/Default.aspx
Have fun exploring the wonderful world of dogs!