Excerpt from Happy Dog: How Busy People Care for Their Dogs
Dogs for a Busy Lifestyle
How do you pick a dog that best matches your lifestyle? The task can be more difficult than realized. Choosing a dog to adopt can be a lot of fun, yet we seem to be so bad at it. How else can we explain the millions of dogs and cats relinquished to animal shelters each year? What should be a joyous celebration of work and research all too often tends to be an expedition of first impressions and poor impulse control.
Love at first sight may seem to be a romantic way to hook up with a companion, but it rarely works well for spouse selection, and it certainly doesn’t seem to work any better for selecting pets. Strange as it may sound, many people spend more time selecting a new car than they do choosing a canine companion. The critical differences between a car and a dog are that dogs live in our homes, interact with us, and often live long enough to outlast two or three new car purchases.
We’d like to help you narrow down your choices. A good place to start is by breed and their personality traits. Of course, there is really no such thing as a typical Great Dane, a usual shih tzu, or an average beagle. Each dog is an individual and deserves to be regarded as such. However, for the purposes of our activity here, we’re going to rely on generalizations, stereotypes, and personal prejudices.
While there are hundreds of dogs to choose from, most of us are familiar with a few dozen breeds, so we’ll try to use a small number of dogs in each category to give examples from which you can choose. The goal is to make selection more of an objective exercise than a quest for the perfect mate.
Making the Realistic Match
Chances are that these objective criteria are important to you, even if you won’t admit it. You need to take the time to make an honest assessment of yourself, your wants, your needs, your lifestyle, and your finances before you rush out and adopt a dog. Ask yourself such questions as:
- Will I make the time to take my dog for regular grooming sessions?
- Am I searching for a dog to share my daily jogs with?
- Do I abhor fur shedding on my sofa?
- Can I afford to provide food and health care for a dog?
- Am I willing to keep this dog for his entire life and meet his needs when he becomes a senior dog?
There are many factors to consider: physical features, breed, and personality traits. Let’s explore some of the most critical factors together to help you determine what type of dog best complements your lifestyle.