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Things to think about when adopting a dog

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Is a dog the right pet for you? Here are some things to help you decide whether or not a dog is the right pet for you and, if so, what kind of dog to adopt.

Canines crave attention
A dog can be a great match for a bustling household. They crave stimulation and thrive on activity. Plus, with plenty of people around, your dog is sure to get the level of attention and love he needs.

Do you keep a regular schedule?
Puppies, like their human counterparts, need quality play and cuddle time from you. You’ll have to play with a puppy throughout the day to ensure that his energy is channeled positively as well as to get him used to being touched.

Does your schedule suit the near-constant attention a puppy requires? Or would an adult dog better complement your lifestyle? They’re usually already used to people and are content to kick back, patrol the house or sleep. Of course, all dogs need playtime and attention. But an adult dog's needs may be much less.

Exercise is essential
If you want a dog that will jog with you or accompany your family on long hikes, consider adopting an active breed, such as a setter, pointer or retriever. Some long-legged hounds also fit into this category. They love the outdoors and need space to move. If your household’s activity level is limited, think about a small, less active, or even an older dog that can get enough exercise from regular walks.

Not all small dogs are less active, nor are larger dogs more active. Find some good books to read about breed behavior, even if you’re considering adopting a mixed breed.

Grooming is vital
Every dog, regardless of size, breed, age or coat type, needs to be groomed on a regular basis. If you get a long-haired dog that requires grooming, be sure you’re willing to invest in the cost associated with it or take time to groom your pet yourself. If you’d rather spend as little time or money as possible on grooming, consider a dog with short or wiry hair.

Training, training, training
Just like children aren’t born knowing their ABCs and 123s, dogs don’t automatically know what good behavior is and what your family expects of them. Training takes time and, sometimes, money, but it means teaching your dog to become a good family member. When you decide to adopt a dog, commit to making him as compatible as possible with you through training. A trained dog can be a wonderful addition to your life.

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