Finding Fido: the ‘paw’fect match for you!

Picking the right pup for your family can be a challenge and is a lot more than just looking at his cute face. You need to asses various factors so that you and your pet create a happy bond for life!

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It is not often that you get to handpick a best friend, so wouldn’t you want to know more about them before making a commitment for at least a decade of your life. Oftentimes when a family decides to bring home a pup the decision is based on the cuteness of the dog but we often forget to ask some important questions.

Here are some things to take into account when choosing a puppy for your family.

Ponder over purpose

All our dogs were bred for a purpose and it plays a vital role in their behaviour and their perception of the world. Unfortunately, genetics and the history of the dog is something we barely look at when picking a breed. Genetics play a huge role in dogs, so go back and figure out why a dog was bred and see if you can provide an outlet for these behaviours in your day-to-day life. The cuteness of a puppy is extremely deceiving and should not be the criteria of puppy selection.

Tail wags and beyond – working vs. companion dogs

I always say there is no such thing as a “bad dog” but sometimes the pet and the family are just not the right fit for each other. A high energy pet can quickly exhaust a low-energy pet parent and a low-energy pet can be quite frustrating for a highly active pet parent. If you are someone who enjoys adventure and treks, you can pick a high energy working dog as your pet. But if you are a family that lives in the city with a not-so-adventurous lifestyle it is important you pick a pet that will match it. Companion dogs are bred to be companions to humans like a Shih tzu or a Maltese, while working dogs are bred to do a specific job.

Money matters

Dogs are living breathing beings with needs. Before bringing home a pet it is important to look at your financials – can you maintain a pet for 10 -15 years, will you be able to pay for his medical costs, grooming costs, food costs, training costs etc.? If you live in a family, it is good to discuss this with them and only then consider bringing home a furry friend.

Twitching with temperament

The idea that the size of a dog determines their energy levels is a misconception. There are a number of large dog breeds like Great Dane,who do not require a lot of exercise and can be happy with two walks and some mental enrichment. However, smaller breeds like Beagles who may look cute are scent hounds and high energy working dogs who require a daily job, both mental and physical enrichment and can get destructive if they are not given an outlet for their energy. So, when picking a puppy, do not focus on size but on temperament and their needs as a breed.

Time tales

We sometimes forget that bringing home a pet is a full-time job and you will have to make changes in your daily routine to focus on your pet. Think of it this way, you are the sole person who is responsible for teaching your pet about this complicated human world. So, while it sounds like a great idea to have a pet,it is crucial to ask yourself if you have the bandwidth for it and are ready for fully committing yourself to responsible pet parenting.

Overcoming challenges with the right support system

It is true that raising your pet alone can be challenging, so make sure your family is on board or you have friends who will be willing to help. Find a pet-sitter who can be with the pup while you may have to go to work. Puppies are a handful and will definitely keep your hands full, so make sure you have people to help and support you in raising a confident and happy pet!

Pet parenting has changed drastically over the years, with social media having a huge impact on our decision making and creating our desire to own our very own puppy. But you are bringing home a different species, with different needs and it is a full-time responsibility, so make sure you are fully ready for it and see how it brings unending joy to your life.

(Taarini Upadhyay is a certified canine behaviourist and trainer)

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