Are you a patient person, do you have realistic goals,  do you have time on your hands for the next 6 months, do you have an active lifestyle, do you spend time indoors doing hobbies or outside hiking. Do you have children in your home? Have you sat down and thought about the kind of dog you would like to bring into your home? If not then you need to make this your first task.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when bringing a puppy into their home is choosing a breed based on the looks. Let me elaborate, we have a five year old Red Merle Australian Shepherd that we rescued from ARPH four years ago. Her name is Bailey and she is beautiful. I can only imagine how cute and fuzzy she was when she was a puppy.

When we adopted Bailey she had already, at the age of 11 months old, had five homes, yes five! She had been passed between three families and had 'done hard time' in a shelter. Why, because she is an Aussie. Bailey is a high drive dog, needs to run, needs to chase and needed to be trained. So the same reason she was selected four times she was also given up. Four different sets of families took her into their homes because she was an Aussie and were then surprised that she exhibited Aussie characteristics.

So before you contact a breeder, visit a shelter or take a puppy from a friend look at answering some of the questions below.

  1. How active is your lifestyle, are you looking for a running partner or a couch mate?
  2. How large is your home and your yard. Are you able to adequately care for a 200 pound dog or is a 9 pound dog more suitable for the way you live?
  3. Where do you live, do you have access to dog parks, walking paths or are you in a city where the only exercise you take is along city blocks?
  4. Are you prepared to invest in monthly grooming appointments or are you looking for a dog with a low maintenance coat?
  5. Do you have the financial resources to not only purchase a dog, buy all its supplies but then take on a responsible ownership role by ensuring monthly and annually your dog has all the preventative medications and vaccinations it needs to live a healthy life?

So my strong words of advice are. With no emotion involved decide what kind of dog is best suited for your family based on its size, breed characteristics, maintenance, exercise requirements and then begin to look for your dog.

Don’t end up with a Bailey, a dog you choose based on its looks that then becomes ‘a problem’ because you cannot offer them the lifestyle they need or one that you can cope with.