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No matter what you might think, choosing your family’s future best friend isn’t an easy task.

You might go in looking for a cute face or a certain breed, but there are many other factors worth considering. After all, you’re going to be stuck walking whatever dog you adopt every single day for many years to come. To help make sure you pick the right pet for both you and your family, we spoke to the folks at the Toronto Humane Society. Since they spend all day connecting people with pets, we think it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about what’ll work for you.

“The first step should always be self reflection. Why are you bringing a dog into your home?” Toronto Humane Society Communications Manager Tegan Buckingham said.

In other words, what are you hoping to get out of the relationship with your new pet? Are you an active person who wants a jogging partner? Do you need a dog that’s good with kids? Or are you a Paris Hilton-like person who basically wants it to be a fashion statement? (If so, a teddy bear may be the better choice)

Once you have an idea of what kind of dog you’re looking for, you can start the browsing process. The Humane Society has staff that can help you find the dogs that are most suited to you. If you’re active, for example, you’ll want a dog with high energy. If you have kids, you may want to go with a puppy because they’re extra adaptable. Buckingham says there aren’t any specific breeds that necessarily fit certain families best because personalities vary with each individual dog.

Giphy
Giphy

In terms of preparing for the arrival of your new pet, Buckingham says you should do most of that after adopting the animal. She’s seen many people who have showed up to the Humane Society after preparing their house for a Toy Poodle, only to go home with a larger breed, like a Labrador. But some general things to consider before leaving to get your new pet should include ensuring that there’s space for the dog to eat and sleep and making sure there’s time in your schedule to actually walk it everyday.

Once you’ve brought home your new, four-legged companion, you want to let it explore your home on its own. As much as you may want to immediately shower the animal with affection and start petting it, the change of environment is a lot for them to handle. So you want to avoid overwhelming them with all that extra attention. That said, you should still be in your home while the dog is getting adjusted — your presence is a good thing.

“As you adjust, the dog is adjusting,” Buckingham said.

Keep in mind that if your dog exhibits any unusual behaviour, such as going to the bathroom indoors, this could be another symptom of the animal adjusting to its new home. The general rule is to give your new pet about two weeks to get used to its new digs. But if you’re ever seriously concerned about anything, it never hurts to give either the Humane Society or your local veterinarian a call.

For more information about picking the perfect dog for you, check out the video above (just be warned: one of the dogs has an “accident” at the 3:40 mark).