Finding Your Dog
I previously wrote about how to choose the right dog breed for you. Once you have decided on a breed, it is time to look for a dog!
Please do not buy your dog in a pet store. This is asking for trouble, both with health problems and psychological problems. Pet stores are notorious for getting their puppies from puppy mills, which just churn out puppies with no regard to their health or psychological well-being.
I would suggest these as the best three ways to find a dog:
1) Get your dog from a reputable breeder. If you want a purebred dog, this is a good option. A good breeder is concerned about the dogs they breed, and will make sure the dog is a good match for you. They will do their best to make sure the puppy is healthy and well-adjusted. They will give you advice on how to raise and take care of your dog.
How do you find a good breeder? One way is to check around in your community for recommendations. Ask vets or other dog professionals for their recommendations. You can also check a dog breeder directory, such as breeders.net. At breeders.net, you can select the breed you are looking for, and enter your zip code, and it will bring up a list of breeders in your area. It also has tips for evaluating a breeder. There are more such directories available — just type dog breeder directory into your search engine.
2) Get your dog from a dog rescue organization. These groups find homes for unwanted or abandoned dogs of a particular breed. There is usually an organization for each breed. The American Kennel Club has a list of dog rescue groups on its website.
3) Adopt your dog from a shelter. This is a good option if you don’t care about having a purebred dog. You can find a local shelter through pets911. Shelters have a wide variety of dogs available. I got my dog at a Humane Society shelter. They do a good job of talking with you to find out what kind of dog would be best suited to your needs.
It is very rewarding to adopt a dog from a shelter and give it a good home. Also, I like adopting a shelter dog because you can adopt a dog who is already past the housebreaking stage, if you want to. If you don’t find the dog you want there right away, they can keep an eye out for you, or you can keep returning until you “fall in love” with one of the dogs.