When you’re choosing a dog, try not to focus on breed or appearance.
Instead, think about your ideal dog’s personality and energy and what dog is truly right for you.
Make a specific list of what matters most to you in a dog.
Start with a list of requirements. Then, make a list of things that would be nice but aren’t necessarily required.
Everyone’s lists will be different, I would hope!
My lists are below, as an example.
I hope you’ll share some of your requirements or “deal breakers” in the comments. Hearing from others can be really helpful, especially for new dog owners.
Choosing a Dog: What I’m Looking for in my Second Dog
1. Dog must be calm and comfortable out in public, around my apartment complex and while visiting outdoor restaurants, etc.
2. Must be dog, cat and kid friendly and approved by my husband, my dog and my cats.
3. Must be kennel trained or OK to be left loose without destroying my apartment.
4. Dog does not have separation anxiety.
5. Must be fit enough to go for long walks with hills, up to 5 miles or so.
Would be nice, but not required:
1. Easy to train and bond with, either highly motivated by treats, toys or praise. Willing to make eye contact.
2. Able to go running at an easy pace for up to an hour.
3. Age 1 to 4 years old.
4. A medium to large dog, 40 to 75 pounds or so. Large enough for some “protection” but small enough for me to lift.
5. Short or medium coat length for easier cleaning and grooming.
6. Dog is from a rescue group, shelter or previous owner. Ideally Labs & More Rescue since I volunteer with the group and am already approved to adopt.
7. Dog is a mixed breed or a Lab, shepherd, pitbull, Doberman or pointer.
Why my foster dog was not the right dog for me
If I am honest with myself and look over my list of requirements, my foster dog Lana did not make “the cut.”
Lana was not calm and comfortable when out in public. She was anxious and excited and would whine and bark at other dogs, which was stressful for me.
She did meet all my other “requirements,” but the ability to be calm in public is the most important on the list for what I want in a dog. Lana helped me to realize that.
So … now I want to hear from you, even if you’re not getting another dog any time soon.