Now, you must decide what kind of dog is right for you. Of course, there are many different breeds to choose from, but hopefully you will be saving a life by adopting your dog from a shelter or rescue organization. Although shelters often do have purebred dogs, most will be mixed-breeds, which, if you ask me, are the best kind. Mixed breeds are sweet, lovable animals, and since they have not been abusively inbred, they often have far fewer temperament and health problems than purebred dogs. This is great news! You don’t have to get hung up on which “breed” to get.
But one question you should answer before making that trip to the shelter is, “Do I want a small dog or a big dog?”
Now, again, small dogs are much easier for shelters to adopt, and as mom to a BBD (Big Black Dog), I of course have a soft spot for big dogs. But I also had a poodle for nearly 17 years when I was growing up, so I also know that little dogs are great, too. Deciding between big and little is a no-lose situation. It’s just a matter of picking the best fit for you.
To help you make the decision, consider the following regarding big dog adoption:
- It’s not true that big dogs need big yards. This is a complete myth. If you give your dog plenty of exercise, such as taking him for nice, long walks (which will be good for you, too!), then there is absolutely no need for you to have a large yard – or a large home. These days, most towns have dog parks, so if the two of you are in the mood for a game of catch or Frisbee, you can always go there. So, don’t be discouraged from a big dog adoption just because you don’t have a large yard (or any yard, for that matter). Even if you live in aa apartment, your big dog will adjust very well to his environment, just as long as you give him plenty of exercise.
- Don’t be fooled by his “puppy size”. Remember, even very big dogs start out in life as tiny puppies. All too many times, shelters find themselves taking back large dogs because the people who adopted them claim they did not know how big they would become. Well, just as a six-pound baby can grow into a six-foot tall man, so, too, can a small puppy grow into a one-hundred-pound adult! So, before bringing home your new little bundle of joy, please make sure to ask about his expected poundage when he’s full-grown. This way, you will not be surprised when his little puppy paws grow into big dog feet – and his body follows suit!
- Do not plan to crate a large dog. It’s not a good idea to ever, ever crate/kennel a large dog. If you will be away from home for several hours at a time and need to confine your big dog, then it is fine to gate him off in a family room or kitchen. Crating a large dog will prevent him from getting up and walking around during the day, which he absolutely needs to do. This sort of confinement will actually drive the dog stir crazy, and will even change his personality. So, unless you are able to give your big dog the run of your house or apartment, or have the ability to gate him in a large room, you should not get a big dog. You will be better off choosing a smaller dog.
- Be prudent with big dogs around babies and small toddlers. This is especially true when the dog is in the large puppy stage. This has nothing to do with a fear that your dog will become aggressive. It is purely because big dogs (especially when they’re still puppies) can be very playful, and they don’t necessarily know they’re own strength. This is just a common sense precaution for anyone with a baby or small toddler who is considering bringing a big dog into their family.
- Take your lifestyle into consideration. This is really the most important factor when deciding between a small dog and a big dog adoption. Are you the athletic type who might want to take your dog for a jog? Then a big dog is definitely for you. But if you’re more the kind that prefers your furry little bundle of joy curled up on your lap while you read or watch a movie, then this cloud become rather inconvenient if Fido weighs 75 pounds!
Hopefully, these tips have made your choice between a small dog and a big dog a little clearer. Given that, no matter what you think you’ve decided, it will probably go out the window when you walk into the shelter and lock eyes with that one dog that seems to be crying out, “I am the one”.
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