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So, you are looking for a new pet to bring home and give you lots of love and companionship. Maybe your beloved dog passed away due to illness, or simply ran away. Whatever the reason is, you want to be more careful when choosing a new family member this time around, but you don’t quite know how to go about it. Well, your in luck. You have come to the right blog space, because I’m gonna help you find your new pal!
 
First things first. You have to figure out what kind of lifestyle you live. That is critical to finding a pet that can adapt to you. If you get a dog with a high energy level, and you aren’t an energetic, exercising type person, you will have a dog with severe behavior problems. On the other hand, if you choose a dog with a low energy level, but you are an energetic person, your dog will hold you back. Dogs with medium energy levels also need to live with people that have the same energy level. Basically, matching your energy level to your dogs is crucial! So do a lot of homework, don’t just buy the first cute puppy you see… that is a common mistake. Puppies grow up, they don’t stay cute and easily managable forever.
 
Second, once you know your energy level and lifestyle, you need to research the breeds of dogs that match yours. For example, if you are outdoors a lot (jogging, hunting, fishing, etc) you can choose a breed that can keep up with you like: Labs, Border Collies, Goldens, and so on. Herding, Hunting, and Sporting breeds are great matches for people with high energy. On the other hand, if you are lazy, or just sit around at home a lot, or have to leave the dog alone while at work, you might choose a dog to match that kind of lifestyle, such as: Papillons, Mastiffs, Bassetts, ect. Non-Sporting, Toy, and some Terrier breeds are best for people with low energy. If your energy is medium, or you don’t go out all the time, but still once and a while, you should pick a dog to match, like: Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Greyhounds, etc. Working and Non-Sporting breeds are good for these kinds of people. Although, instead of just picking a dog from any particular group, it is best to look at the individual breeds energy level. Not all Non-Sporting dogs are low energy, and not all Toys are low energy, so keep that in mind.
 
Third, you get to begin your hunt. You have several options to choose from as to where you get your dog. There are breeders, shelters, and rescue organizations. Be cautious when looking for dogs from breeders. Most breeders are what we call, Backyard breeders, which means they are breeding and selling dogs for profit. These breeders produce dogs that could be born with all kinds of medical problems such as: Hip displaysia, entropia, ectropia, PRA, back problems, etc. Breeders that breed more than one breed of dog for profit are known as Puppy Mills, which produce pups in unsanitary environments with all kinds of illnesses. These pups are usually not given any shots, or wormed. Reputable breeders make no money from breeding. All the profits go into the health of the pups. Reputable breeders also only breed to better the breed. In other words, they try to breed out certain illnesses and temperament problems from the breed.

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Shelters are a great way to find a new pal, however, be wary. Shelters do not always evaluate their dogs temperament, so you may end up with a dog that is unbalanced and requires more training. Shelter dogs are also left in cages for the majority of their time there, so when you visit them, they have built up a lot of energy that is released when let out of the cage. When you visit dogs at a shelter, you are not really seeing the dogs as they would be in your home. Even if you excuse that and take one home, it could take up to a month for the dog to adjust. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t adopt from a shelter, I’m simply saying… be ready to give all of your attention to your new dog for awhile. You will be training, and setting boundries for awhile before the dog calms down. Some shelters are also not as good as they may seem. Some "no kill" shelters will only take in dogs that will go out fast. They won’t take dogs that they see as ugly, and they don’t like black dogs.. because black dogs don’t get adopted out very fast. Also, "no kill" shelters do infact euthanize their dogs.. if they become ill, or really grouchy. Most of these shelters don’t have the budget for trainers such as my self to come in and rehabilitate fearful or dominant aggressive dogs, so they end up putting the dogs to sleep. "No kill" shelters do, however, take very good care (medically, not mentally) of their dogs. All the dogs are spayed/nuetered and up to date on shots. They also get any meds they may need for minor illnesses they may have. Because these shelters take in dogs off the street, or from people that don’t want their dogs anymore, viruses often break out on a regular basis. So the sweet puppy you really wanted, may have to be put to sleep due to a parvo or distemper outbreak. What’s bad is, this often happens after you have put an application in to adopt the animal, and you’ve just found out you were approved. Most of these shelters would be much better off with some kind of trainer or temperament evaluator that could evaluate and/or train the dog before it is put up for adoption. If the shelter has one, it is a good sign for you, if not, be wary of the animals. Far too many animals are adopted and then returned for this vary reason. If you are looking for a mutt, shelters are the way to go.. just make sure the dog is healthy and happy before taking it home, or you may be bringing it back.
 
Rescue angencies are a great source for finding a particular breed. They only deal with their own breed, so they are (should be) very knowledgable about their breed. They work the same way "no kill" shelters do in that they take good care of their dogs medically, and they accept donations. However, these agencies are often run from private homes, so the dogs are not neccisarily in crates all day. Rescue agencies also make sure their dogs are exercised, eating correctly, and doing well before being adopted. They have also been known to keep in touch with the people that adopt their dogs. These people have huge hearts, and are usually in the business to find good homes for their rescued dogs, and not for profits. Where as in shelters, they need to make money to keep the shelter going. They will often raise adoption fees on rare breeds that come in to make a buck. Even if they claim to be non-profit organizations. Rescue agencies are the way to go if you are looking for a specific breed.

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Ok, so now you know how to go about finding a new best friend and where to go to get him/her. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your homework. Please do not just buy a puppy because it’s cute, you are asking for trouble if you buy dogs this way. Do some research, find the right breed to fit your lifestyle, and most importantly.. don’t buy the first pup you see.

 
In my next entery, I’ll teach you how to test your potentially new pal’s temperament and personality. You’ll learn how to tell if the pup is dominant, submissive, fearful, aggressive, or just right…

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