Like we had promised, we are continuing with our dog homecoming series that we started last week. Before heading into dog homecoming (part 2), here’s a quickly recap of the four stages including the need, rationalisation, preparation and settling before bringing a dog home.
Today we will talk about the rationalisation stage in dog homecoming (part 2).
If you haven’t read Part 1 of our dog homecoming series yet, please head to the article and give it a read.
Once you are sure of welcoming a dog into your life, it’s time to move to the next step of the dog homecoming – the rationalisation. During this step, you decide on what kind of dog is best suited to your home. While we at PNR support adoption (as opposed to buying) and promote pure and mixed breeds equally, we leave these decisions to you. Below we tell you about some of the basic considerations while selecting a dog best suited to your lifestyle.
There are three important things to consider while thinking about size. First, is how well your dog is suited to your living space. Larger dogs will need more space to move around (here we are not talking activity requirements). On the other hand, small to medium dogs are better suited to smaller set ups. The second consideration is that bigger dogs will typically need more financial commitment. Food, transport, grooming (external), boarding etc. will all involve higher costs. The third critical factor is how well you can handle the dog. Big dogs are heavier and have significantly more strength. While training is one aspect of handling, ability to do tasks like lifting the dog etc. also need to be considered
This is an extremely critical consideration. You will need to match the required activity / energy level of the dog to your activity / energy levels. When you choose a high activity / energy dog, you need to commit to providing them the right amount of exercise. Many a times if a dog does not get their required level of exercise, they develop physical and even mental issues.
Training and stimulus need
We should always keep in mind that over many years, dogs have evolved to perform different functions. From companionship, guarding, hunting, herding and even pulling carts. In today’s world, we see people get a dog without understanding the history of the dog’s breed. This is important as this will determine how to train the dog and what kind of mental stimulus they will need. We have heard many humans complaining of a ‘destructive’ dog – more often than not, we have noticed that this is due to lack of proper stimulus or training.
While a lot many people go for puppies, we strongly believe that bringing home an older dog is just as fulfilling. With puppies, you will need to go through the initial period of training. With older dogs, you will typically have a dog who is used to certain basic house rules. Also, older dogs given a little bit of time will adapt to your home – remember that the saying ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks’ is a complete myth. Many of our friends also bring home geriatric dogs read one such story “A Christmas Miracle”. In such cases, it may be better to have some prior experience with dogs.
Maintenance is about general health of a breed as well as grooming needs. Health and common medical conditions of each breed is different – do your research on them. While this should not deter you from getting a certain breed, it will help you in taking care of the dogs properly. The second key aspect is grooming needs – consider shedding level, amount of brushing required, bathing requirements, drooling etc. You have to match your cleanliness requirements and amount of time for grooming your dog, to the requirements of the breed.
Compatibility with family structure
A big consideration is children. While all dogs can be good with children with training, some breeds are really good with children, and some like to be left alone. Also, many dogs are independent by nature and can handle alone periods well, while others tend to have separation anxiety. So, if you are single and travel, it will be better to select a dog who is able to handle periods of separation.
Some things to consider in the UAE
For the UAE, where we have extreme summers, we also need to consider a dog’s suitability to the weather. Breeds accustomed to colder climates such Alaskan Malamute, Husky, German Shepherd, Saint Bernard will struggle. Dogs that are brachycephalic (short nosed) like pugs, French / English bulldogs etc. also face a lot of trouble during the harsh summer months. While, these breeds are commonly seen in the UAE, keeping them happy will need well thought out routine and living spaces.
A very good reference about various common characteristics of dogs can be found in AKC. For the UAE, a lot of the mixed breed dogs seem to have part Salukis in them. It is good to look at this specific breed information as well.
We hope that through the dog homecoming (part 2) of the series, we have been able to guide you towards the right considerations before getting a dog. Let us know your experience on going through these two phases. Were there additional things that you considered?
Also stay tuned for the next part of the dog homecoming series when we discuss the check list to prepare for welcoming a dog to your home. We will also discuss indicative costs, tips and tricks to help you prepare better.
NOTE: The above article is based on our experience and talking to other dog humans. Any part of the article should not be considered medical advice. Also, it is important that you consider and abide by the municipal / government guidelines when welcoming a dog in your home.