• Shawna Renga

The Ideal Dog List

Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party. -Jimmy Buffett

“What kind of dog should I look for?”

“Is it true that Labs are the best family dogs?”

“Pit Bulls are unpredictable and can be aggressive, right?”

We live in a society that loves to categorize, pigeonhole, and judge. We do it with people all the time – Hipster, Millennial, Liberal, Conservative, and on and on. It’s unfortunate, because as we all know there are more things that bind people together on common ground than separate us across clear dividing lines.

It’s the same with dogs. All dogs, regardless of breed, share an entire host of common traits and characteristics. A dog’s personality, temperament, and behavior are influenced less by their breed and more by their socialization and interactions during key developmental stages as they grow. It is impossible to tell what type of temperament a dog will have based on breed alone.

This is a really important concept for future dog owners to grasp. Many believe that they should start their search of shelters and rescue groups by looking for a specific breed. According to petfinder.com, “Labrador” is the most commonly searched term used on their website, likely because the Labrador has a reputation of being a reliable family dog. Which they can be! However, a Labrador can also be high energy, reactive, and destructive, just like any other dog.

I suggest a different approach!

Sit down in a quiet area with a notebook and pen. Start by writing down everything you want to do with your new dog. Hikes? Snuggles? Busy city outings?

Then start to list how you want your dog to interact with you. Do you like a lap dog? What about licks and kisses? Are you looking for a leaner, or a dog that is happy keeping to himself or herself?

Lastly, write a little about what you want to get from a dog. Are you looking for laughs and fun? Warmth and support? Companionship and loyalty? A reason to get out and exercise? Security?

When you’re done, read over what you’ve written. This is your “Ideal Dog” list. As you search for adoptable dogs, this list should be your compass. When speaking to shelters, foster homes, or rescue groups, describe to them what is on your list, and ask what dogs they have that fit.

Try not to limit yourself to a certain breed or size. Would you rather have a classic-looking Labrador that eats your shoes, or a scruffy mixed breed who checks all of the boxes on your “Ideal Dog” list?

As always, Mutt Matchmaker is here to help you navigate this process. Schedule your free consultation today and start to compose your “Ideal Dog” list!

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