Here are some questions to ask:
What age(s) are the family members in your household?
Children Under the Age of Seven
We recommend waiting until they are older for puppies or toy-sized dogs. Puppies have very sharp ‘milk teeth’ and toenails that can scratch and unintentionally injury. Toy dogs are fine-boned and can be injured easily and they are quicker to bite.
Find a medium to large size dog that is 5 months or older and expect to always be in the room, chaperoning, when kids and a new dog are together.
Puppies take two years to mature and can be a handful when walking on ice and snow, so consider adopting an older, more laid back dog. Also, keep in mind that dogs live 10-15 years and may become too much work for an elderly person as they age.
Who will be the primary caretaker of the dog?
The whole family should be involved in choosing the new dog, but an adult needs to be the one who makes sure the dog is properly cared for. Involving children in the care is a great opportunity for them to learn responsibility, but do not expect that they can do it all. And remember the kids will grow up and leave, but the dog will still be with you.
How much can you spend?
To adopt a shelter dog at the Routt County Humane Society is only $60. This seems pretty inexpensive, however, there are many other costs with adopting a dog. Annual vaccinations and good, quality food are necessities.Training, chew toys, crate, outwear, and other supplies may also be needed depending on the dog you choose. And, don’t forget about veterinary emergencies. These can cost thousands of dollars. Can you afford the broken leg, the swallowed battery, or the diagnosis of cancer?
Time and Energy
Various breeds and ages of dog make different demands on our precious spare time. In general, the sporting, herding, and terrier breeds need more time in training and daily exercise than guardian or companion breeds. A puppy or adolescent will need more exercise and training. And, the first year with any new dog regardless of age or breed type will put more demands on the owner than any other time; this is when you are setting up house rules and routines which will last for the lifetime of your dog.