How to successfully choose the right dog for your family


Set them up for success is advice I find myself telling my clients throughout all stages of dog training. We want our dogs to be successful which then makes us successful dog owners. What would be a definition of a successful dog?  A successful dog is one who knows how to and will behave appropriately in all types of settings and situations that the owner exposes the dog to. The dog behaves with family members and guests both at home and in public. Owners who like to spend time outdoors may need their dogs to be able to walk off leash and have a solid recall. Every owner has their own wish list of what a successful dog looks like to them.


Success is something that is achieved. Unlike luck, you have to put the time and work in to be successful. There are many ways of getting started on the path to success with dog training. The first step would be to choose the right dog for you and your household. The best way to do this is ask yourself a lot of questions.


What is your lifestyle like, active, not so active? Are there young children in your household? Does anyone have allergies to dogs?  Is there space for the dog to run? Are there breeds you have always admired? Does a friend have a dog that appeals to you?  Is it the looks of the puppy, the size? Does it require a lot of exercise? Can it be left on its own during the day?


It is important to focus on a breed that will fit in with your lifestyle and not the other way around. If you are not very active don’t choose a breed that requires a lot of exercise thinking that the dog will make you become more active.


Do some homework and look into what the original purpose of the breed was. Was the dog meant to work independently, like a shepherd?  If you are looking for a dog to cuddle with, shepherds might prefer to be on their own. Was the intention of the breed to be an alert dog like a hound or beagle who will bark to alert you? These breeds will be more vocal.  Are you looking for a dog to sit with you who does not require much exercise?  This was the original intention of the toy breeds. Every dog is different and will have its own personality but you will not be able to alter the genetic make-up and needs of your dog.


Be realistic when choosing your dog. Choose a breed or mix of breeds that work for you. The dog’s temperament should be at the top of your list. The dog will be sharing your home and be part of your life for hopefully 14+ years. Take your time and set yourself up for success.



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