Choosing the right dog

You’ve decided to adopt a dog! That is wonderful.

Bringing home an adopted dog can be a very rewarding experience as you watch your dog become more comfortable in their new home and start to see you as their trusting pet parent. To make sure this process goes smoothly and that you and your new companion will have a long and happy life together, it’s important to make sure you have done your homework first. There are a lot of variables to consider before deciding on a dog such as:

  • What is your schedule like? Are you home during the day or working for 8+ hours? Your answers to these questions might help you determine if you want a younger dog who needs to be let out to potty more frequently, or an older dog who is happy napping on the couch all day. If you are home during the day, adopting a dog with separation anxiety might be good because they will learn you are always there for them and you can help them recover from it. If you are gone for long hours every day a more independent dog might be more appropriate.
  • How much time can you devote to exercising your dog? Are you a couch potato looking for a snuggle buddy or a runner looking for a running buddy? It’s important to adopt a dog who will fit into your current exercise routine. Some people buy high-energy dogs hoping it will motivate them to be more active, but this does not always work out to be the case so be honest with yourself and your new dog.
  • How much time do you want to spend training your dog? If you get a high-energy working breed, hopefully your answer is A LOT! But if you don’t have a ton of extra time to train your dog, there are plenty of dogs out there that are perfect for you!
  • How much hair do you want to deal with? Don’t mind finding fur everywhere? Great, get the floofiest dog there is! More of a neat freak who doesn’t want to find fur in their food on a regular basis? A shorthaired dog is probably a good idea.
  • Are you settled where you are or do you hope to move somewhere in the future? Are you committed to bringing your dog with you wherever you go?
  • What is your relationship status? Will you stick with your dog no matter who comes in and out of your life? Do you and your partner agree on what kind of dog you want, and are they equally invested in caring for the dog?
  • Do you have kids or plan on having kids in the future? Dogs are often a 10-15 year commitment so think far ahead. Are you willing to integrate your dog into your future family plans? Is the dog you are adopting good with kids?
  • Do you have people who can help you care for your dog when you are gone? Can you afford a dog walker, pet sitting, or to bring your dog to daycare and boarding?

Once you’ve answered these questions, do your research to find out what kind of dog might be best. What qualities do you think would fit best in your life? Write them down and use those as you search. There are many great places in Western Mass to find the perfect dog for you. Some of those places include Dakin Humane Society, T.J. O’Connor, and Rainbow Rescue. The people at these facilities are experts in what they do and dedicated to finding you a great companion. Go talk to them. Tell then what you are looking for in a dog, and they can steer you in the right direction. is also a great resource for finding adoptable dogs, especially if you are looking for something very specific.