Ryan and I both grew up with larger dogs for most of our childhoods. When we first moved in together we started with the cat. And then we added another cat. But the truth was we really wanted to dog. I ended up adopting a puppy off of craigslist, and not too far there after my Yorkie that I had adopted in high school came to live with us when my mom moved out of my childhood home. We loved our two dogs but we always wanted a big dog that would enjoy hiking in that sort of thing. We take smaller dogs hiking they just get tired pretty quickly, and one suffers from arthritis now that he’s getting older so taking him is less frequent.
We always knew that once we bought a house we would get a larger dog. We bought a house August 2014, 18 months after having our daughter. In the 18 months of having her daughter we started to feel the importance of finding a dog to add to our family the younger she was. You see, our Bichon was the dog we really thought would do great with her daughter. Wyatt is younger and has always been an old laid-back soul, however you are Yorkie, Rudy, is older and a little bit more temperamental. It turns out we had no idea what to expect. Rudy our Yorkie does amazing with A. He’s very tolerant and puts up with everything that she does. Wyatt on the other hand, is not a big fan of her. He avoids A like the plague, turns out it’s more of a breed thing and we had no idea. In our journey of finding out Wyatt was in front of our daughter we did a lot of research based on breeds and when the best time is to adopt and introduce a dog to a young family. We learned that around four months is the best time to introduce a puppy to a young family because they immediately get used to being around young children. Dogs that have several years without children can sometimes never like them. It’s not because they’re bad dogs, it’s just they’re not used to them. This information concreted that we really did want to add a puppy to our family sooner than later.
We spent a lot of time looking at breed types. We really were interested in temperament, and their activity levels. We did a lot of research based on dogs that had a good reputation for family dogs. We also want to do dog that was not only loyal but protective. One and aggressive breed, but we didn’t want one that was on alerts and loyal to its pack. The reputations of dogs, and statistics, along with other items. We did keep an open mind knowing that a lot goes into how a dog is raised comes to aggression, however we also know that some breeds are just instinctually more aggressive. We also look at lifespan – knowing we had plans for this puppy to grow with our family and be a longtime family member we wanted a dog that had a pretty decent lifespan. We personally felt 12 to 15 years was a good fit – obviously that’s not a guarantee and Sundog slip a less than that, and hopefully they will live longer than that but that was the realistic time span that we decided to lean towards.
In that regard, we made list of breeds that we were most interested in and a list that we were wanting to stay away from him.
Why didn’t we pick just one breed?
We knew that we wanted to adopt from a local shelter. There are so many homeless puppies that we wanted to find one to adopt that needed a home rather then adopting from a private party. I won’t get on a soapbox, as we have two private party dogs. When I adopted our Yorkie I was young and adopted him for far too much money. And Wyatt, our Bichon, came from a craigslist listing from a woman who had two litters of puppies at one time and just wanted to get rid of them. This time around, we wanted to be conscious about our decision and adopt a puppy in need.
We looked around at a variety of places and scoped out the internet and we knew that it was going to be one of those things that if we got our heart set on the specific dog it wouldn’t be a good fit for our family. We went into adopting a puppy with an open mind and an open heart. The first shelter that we went to we had a harsh realization. We filled out the application filled in our answers and we’re certain we would be approved. We had a loving home, a large yard and the dedication to make the puppy we would choose to adopt a lifelong member of our family. However, we were blindsided when we were told that we would be unable to purchase/adopt a puppy under a year old for our young family.
Because we had a toddler. The reasoning in their response was that they do not adopt puppies to young families because they have a high rate of return and that young families don’t understand the commitment and the habits of a puppy. At first I was frustrated because we were certain of the commitment that we were going to make, as we already raised two dogs from puppies. However, no matter what I told the woman we weren’t allowed to adopt a puppy under year old. The story has a happy ending as we found a different puppy rescue – Lifeline Puppy Rescue here in Colorado – that was more than willing to allow us to adopt a dog into our forever home. We adopted a nine week old puppy, two months ago and we are thrilled to have her.
The more I thought about the first shelter giving us the rejection the less angry I was about them not giving us a chance and more focused on raising awareness to young families about what to expect with a new puppy, how to raise a puppy as a young home, as well as,things that will make their journey to a new lifelong family member even easier. So, here is part one of my mini series:
- Look at Your Living Status .
Do you own or do you rent? Some rental properties don’t allow pets OR have restrictions, so check your lease. Also – are you living in a place with a yard, fence or outdoor space the puppy can go? This is important when picking breeds. Some dogs thrive in bigger spaces. A lot of places will require you to bring your lease if you aren’t a home owner, as well as, a lot of rental owners will make you return your dog or find it a new home if they don’t allow one in your home. Don’t try any funny business – do it the right way for your sake and more importantly, the new puppy’s.
- What Size of Dog Would be the Best Fit for Your Family?
Your living space will likely have some influence on this. If you are living in a 500sq 3rd story apartment a Great Dane isn’t going to be a good fit, but a smaller dog such as a Maltese might be a great fit. Different size of dogs and breeds have different needs for their environment based on activity levels and size. Make sure you think this through. Every breed is different – there are some large breeds that aren’t as active and smaller breeds that need lots of exercise. Do your research.
- Temperament & Lifestyle.
If you aren’t regularly home and really outside, you probably aren’t going to want a breed that is high energy and thrives being outdoors. If you are an outdoorsy person you are likely not going to want a low energy type breed. This goes for if you have a young family as well. There are a lot of resources on Google that allow you to learn about temperaments a breeds based on experts who regularly interact raise or break these dogs. There are a lot of breed specific resources and websites that let you learn the ins and outs of each breed. You can learn through a a lot of great resources. I’ve seen a variety of three that will simply state that they don’t do well in a family environment as they are usually a one owner type with their pack tendencies. Keep in mind though, even though breeds can be described independent temperaments can’t always be predicted.
- Breeds: How Open Minded Are You Willing To Be?
If you are dead set on a specific breed you’re probably less likely going to find what you’re looking for at a local shelter, at least puppy wise. Mutts/mixed breeds are more commonly in shelters as they are typically unplanned, unwanted litters. However, it’s not impossible and depending on the age you are willing to work with there are a lot of breed specific shelters. One benefit to shelter dogs that we found, is that they regularly or mixed with more than one breed. So, if you have a couple of top breeds on your list that you are willing to bring into your home you have a higher chance of finding those two breeds mixed together. I’m not saying that if you have to specific breeds you’re certain to never find it in a local shelter, it’s just less common. If you have a list of multiple that you were open to a shelter is a really great option.
- It’s a Real Commitment.
So many people adopt a dog thinking that it’s a good idea and quickly learn that that’s a lot of time and energy to raise a good, well-behaved dog. That said, before you decide to bring a puppy or a dog into your family you need to think about the long-term commitment. Dogs were require love, discipline, attention, exercise and training. About the long-term too. You don’t want to adopt a dog only to surrender it to a shelter within a few months or years. Think about your plan if you move or your relationship status changes – what would happen to the dog? Are you really ready to make a full commitment for the next 12 to 20 years?
What are your thoughts? Are you considering adding a puppy to your home? Have you added a puppy to your home and considered these options? Tell me in the comments!