Everywhere I go, people ask me questions about various pet-related issues. A 4th of July party over the weekend was no exception. Someone asked my advice about what kind of puppy to buy for her family. Neither she nor her husband had ever had a dog so this would be a new experience for them. She said that a friend was breeding a Lab and was thinking about getting one of those puppies. But then she went on to say that she didn’t want a dog that sheds. And she was intending for the dog to be the responsibility of her two young children, ages 5 and 7. Wow, what a set up for me to provide tons of information!
Her dog of choice, a Lab, is not the best choice for her family. Labs shed a lot and most require a great deal of training and exercise. And that’s a very big dog to expect young children to care for. Without proper training, a Lab may knock down small children. And even with proper training, a playful, energetic Lab can be difficult to handle.
We discussed the issue of shedding and the size of the dog a little more. She began to see that a smaller or a medium-sized dog might be a better choice for them. Some of us suggested maybe a Bichon Frise, a miniature Poodle, a Schnauzer, or a Yorkie. And the woman piped in that she liked Cocker Spaniels or Cockapoos. Yes! We were now getting somewhere! I tried to impress upon her that mutts can be outstanding dogs. And very fortunately, someone arrived at the party with their 6-month-old mixed-breed pup that they had rescued from a shelter. The pup was so sweet and well-behaved, and everyone fell in love with him! I couldn’t have timed it better.
Finally, of course I coached her about where to not to get a puppy (no pet stores, not from the Internet, and to watch out for private homes/farms) and encouraged her to visit her local shelter or go to Petfinder.com and fall in love with a homeless dog.
Want to find out what pure-bred dog best suits your requirements? Animal Planet’s web site has a great selector quiz.