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How to Choose the Best Dog Breed for You
When it comes to choosing a dog, there are lots of things to think about: puppy or adult dog? Male or female? Purebred or mixed breed? And once you've answered all of those questions, you still need to decide what breed of dog you want. Every breed has its own set of distinctive traits, so it's a great idea to do some research on different breeds before making your final decision. The following are some of the basic traits to consider when deciding what breed is right for you: Size From the Chihuahua and Yorkie all the way up to the Saint Bernard and Great Dane, dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A dog's size can be a part of his appeal (Westies can be at home just about anywhere, no matter how tight the quarters are.) or a deterrent (It's much easier to accidentally step on a Westie than a Rottweiler!). You should choose a breed whose size fits with your lifestyle. Temperament While a dog of any breed could be happy to snuggle up in your lap, some breeds are more likely to enjoy spending time like this. On the other hand, certain breeds will be more inclined than others to join you for a run in the park. Before getting a dog, decide what personality traits are important to you and look for a breed that meets your standard. Trainability How important is it to you that your dog can do tricks? How much time are you willing to spend training your new pup? Some dogs are more easily trained than others. There are great dogs out there that, try as they might, will never be able to roll over on command. And there are other dogs that can learn several tricks in one day, but they may not have certain other traits that are desirable to you. You'll have to decide which is more important. Grooming Are you looking forward to spending hours every week brushing and caring for your dog's coat, or do you feel tired just thinking about that? Are you prepared to get out the vacuum as often as necessary to rid your carpet of tons of dog hairs, or would you rather not have to think about that? The answers to these questions will help you determine what breed is right for you. Maintaining a dog's coat can be a huge time commitment or none at all, depending on the breed. It's up to you to decide what kind of coat appeals to you and how much time you're willing to spend taking care of it. While researching the standard traits of a breed can be helpful in making your decision of what breed to purchase, it's important to remember that every individual dog is different. Every dog will have its own quirks, some positive and some negative. Before making your final decision, find a puppy or dog that you love on a personal level—not only because of his breed. And make sure you won't be too quick to give him away if he isn't a perfect match to the breed standard

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2274 Upas · San Diego, CA

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If your kids are begging you to get a pet, think first before making that purchase. Many pets are bought on an impulse, which is sometimes not a good thing. Before you bring an animal into your home, be sure you teach your kids how to care for pets. It may seem simple in retrospect, but caring for an animal is a big responsibility that isn't for everyone. Educate your kids first. Many pet supply stores and animal shelters have classes that kids can take to learn all about proper animal care. There are also plenty of books and trusted veterinary websites to learn more from. There is no excuse for not learning how to take care of a specific animal before making that purchase or adoption. Remember that any potential pet is a living, breathing being that deserves to be part of a loving, caring family. Our family's first hamster taught a valuable lesson about why parents need to educate kids before adopting a pet. Read, absorb, and discuss all the knowledge you and the kids can before bringing a new pet home. Make your home pet-friendly. Think about what type of animal your family will be bringing home. Are there hidden dangers in your home that could be hazardous to your pet? Do you have other pets? How will they react to a new family member? Will your cat try to attack a hamster or a dog? If so, do not adopt those animals. Opt for pets that your existing animal family members will get along with or will be isolated from. Cats, dogs, birds, and other animals that may not be in cages need to be kept away from harmful items. Store chemicals in a locked cabinet, be sure there are no loose nails or chords, and check for other potential hazards. Pet-proofing can be much like baby-proofing. Let the kids help you with this so that they know and understand that pet care is serious business. Teach them about both the ups and the downs. Kids should know the joys of having pets, as well as the possible heartache. Having pets can be very rewarding and fun. Kids will enjoy playing with and observing pets. But they should also know that their pet will probably die before them. Small animals, like hamsters, live a very short life. Also, there is no guarantee that even a healthy animal will live its full life expectancy because anything can happen. Teaching kids about the possibility of their pet dying before it happens can help soften the blow when it does. You don't have to be overly graphic. But they should definitely know about both life and death when dealing with animals. Pets are a fun and rewarding experience for both parents and kids, but it is vital to the health of your kids and pets to teach the children important pet care habits prior to adopting one.

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