When we decide to get a dog, most likely the last thing we look at is the dog’s energy. We are distracted by big, brown eyes, floppy ears, curly tails and affectionate kisses. Who can blame us? I am no exception…why do you think I have The Daily Puppy on my blog? They are just too adorable.
Unfortunately, making a choice from the heart without consulting the brain is never a good idea, whether it be a new home, a new car, a new love or a new puppy.
My friend’s daughter has been pushing him very hard lately for a puppy. We have had many discussions on the subject. Her first choice was a Jack Russell Terrier. No question that this is a lovely dog and could be a wonderful companion. However, the reality of the situation is that these dogs are like Energizer bunnies….they will go all day! I asked her if she was prepared to take the new dog for 3 or 4 long walks every day, and how she was going to do that with all of the extracurricular events she participated in every week. She did not seem to grasp the significance of these walks until I told her that if the dog did not get enough exercise, it was likely to chew her Barbies, or Beanie Babies or shoes….the look of horror on her face was priceless!
Her next choice was a Husky….see above paragraph! A working dog needs to work to exhaust its energy, and this is very difficult to do in an urban location with a busy schedule.
We have now progressed to considering, a) a French bulldog, b) a pug, or c) a beagle, all of which are much more suited to the energy and lifestyle of a 9 year old girl.
We are all guilty of making emotional decisions when it comes to dogs, but the reality of the situation is that you must be completely honest with yourself when it comes to choosing a canine companion. This dog may be with you for up to 14 years, and if you choose badly it will be the dog that suffers.
You must ask yourself how much energy you naturally have. Are you the kind of person that comes home from work and immediately goes out for a bike ride or run, or do you head straight for the sofa or front porch to unwind with a glass of wine or some tv? Do you work a 9 to 5 job, or are you at the office late every night?
A dog that does not get enough exercise to burn off his natural energy may exhibit anxiety, excessive barking, chewing furniture, getting into garbage, whining, spinning, pacing, etc., all of which end up with him being labelled a “bad dog”!
As we analyze our own natural energy levels, we must also look at the natural energy level of the breed. A terrier has more energy than a poodle, a german shepherd has more energy than a bulldog…it is all a matter of common sense.
Before you make a final choice, be sure to read about the breeds you are considering, talk to a breeder or other people who own this type of dog. Making an informed choice now will pave the way for a long and happy relationship with your new best friend.