Is Your Lifestyle Equipped for a Dog?
Are you looking to add a furry friend to your family? Maybe you are like me and have taken a few “Breed Selector” quizzes online through different websites to find the right fit. But how do you actually know the ‘right’ type of dog for you? I would like to think that the dog chooses you, however this isn’t always the case. Take me for example. Years ago I decided on a Siberian Husky because my favorite movie was Snow Dogs. Did I know that my Husky was going to do zoomies at least 6x a day throughout my house and run me for miles? Definitely not - I knew I had to make some changes in my lifestyle.
Already got your what kind of dog works best for you? Now, might be time to consider whether you want to get your pup from a rescue or breeder.
Let's face it - you shop with your eyes. Like me, you will see a gorgeous dog on television or in passing and think “I want that one!” But you tend to forget the most important deciding factor when choosing a breed - is your lifestyle equipped for this? Being financially stable is crucial. In order to have a healthy, happy dog they require healthy food.. not inexpensive Kibble ‘n Bits. Being prepared for emergencies that can happen is important as vet bills are not cheap. In addition to being financially stable, you will need to evaluate how much time you have to give for a dog. If you have a busy lifestyle, maybe getting a dog right now isn’t the best time. After all, getting a dog is like having a child - you are committing to care for a being that will depend on you for their whole life!
After you’ve factored in the time you have to spend with a dog, what breed is right for you? Let’s talk about active breeds vs low energy breeds.
If you google “most active dog breeds” these breeds will come up - Siberian Husky Malinois Border Collie Labrador Retriever Australian Shepherd Golden Retriever Yorkie Maltese Boston Terrier
All of these dogs are adorable, but do not be fooled, they can give you a run for your money. You might be thinking “Labs? Yorkies? Malteses? Bostons? They are stay-at-home dogs! How much activity could they possibly need?” According to Petmd, “Though exercise needs are based on a dog’s age, breed, size and overall health, your dog should spend between 30 minutes to 2 hours on an activity every day.” Do you know how many overweight Labs I have seen throughout my life? Way too many to count. Do you know how many Yorkies and Malteses I have seen on hikes? Not one! I believe this is because most dog owners are looking for companionship. Yes, dogs are absolutely our best friends, more-so our family. But that does not mean that they require little to no exercise. Whether a Lab or a Yorkie, they need physical and mental stimulation. If you are unable to give at least 2 hours a day of activity for these active breeds, perhaps a low energy breed is best for you.
Here are some lower energy breeds: Bulldog French Bulldog Pug Shih Tzu King Charles
Keep in mind that low energy dogs will still need exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Without exercise, dogs will gain weight and that will put a strain on their cardiovascular system. Besides, activity is shown to lower stress and increase endorphins - so keep the dog you choose happy by incorporating a daily routine such as a longer walk or light jog. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. Here are some great ways to spice up your pup's fitness routine. Combine physical and mental stimulation to tire your dog out on a walk by letting them stop and sniff the flowers - and that bush... annnnd those fire hydrants. Without providing mental stimulation with physical stimulation, your pup’s mind could be ready to “go go go” even after running for miles. Take your pup along to the next food festival or wine walk so that you both get to enjoy the experience together while allowing both physical and mental stimulation for your furry friend!
Here are some other fun activities that enrich mental stimulation:
- Interactive Toys - Add a treat to an interactive toy to make your dog “work” for the treats. Adding one of our own Real Dog Box treats will make your furry friend work extra hard ;)
- Learning a New Trick - This is fun for the owner and the pup! Your smart cookie already knows Sit, Down, Stay, Speak? Try “Roll Over” or “Leave It” Then of course reward them with their favorite snack!
- Working for Their Food - Before feeding time, have your dog do a command or two. Or you can add their food to an interactive feeding bowl or toy!
- Using a Different Language for Commands - How many languages can you speak? Teaching commands in German is common and can be fun for you and enriching for your pup!
- Hide and Seek - A personal favorite of mine. Tell your dog to “stay” while you run and hide! Release them of the “stay” command so that they can use their senses to find you. My dog is catching on to my favorite hiding places so get creative!
- Hide and Seek with their Nose (Nosework) - Instead of hiding yourself, hide a treat and let your pup’s nose do all of the work! A dog contains about 225-300 million smell receptors (humans only have about 5 million), so put those snoops to work!
A study done in 2012 revealed that only 20.6% of people in the US met the total recommended amount of exercise - and this number doubles when we are talking about dogs. Approximately 44% of households have a dog (78 million dogs!) Huskies and German Shepherds are two of the most common household breeds.. they are also two of the most active breeds out there. These are just two breeds that get thrown into shelters because the remaining 80% of people in the US aren’t as active as they should be. Huskies are known to run 200 to 1,000 miles at a time. German Shepherds were literally developed for working. These are only two of the hundreds of breeds that are commonly misconstrued to just be cuddly companions!
The last thing I want to do is scare you out of getting a dog. Adding a fur member to your family should be fun and exciting.. And it is! But you should have all the information you need to make a well informed decision. My intent is to provide you with helpful facts and tips before deciding on the right fit for your lifestyle. Like me, sometimes you have to adjust your current lifestyle to the dog you already have, and that is okay! Whichever breed you decide on, they will love you unconditionally!