The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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Energy Level- Finding a Canine Match

February 14th, 2010 · · Musings

An important consideration when acquiring a dog is the matter of energy levels, yours and his. One of the reasons that so many dogs end up needing to be rehomed before their first birthday is a failure to consider this factor when selecting a dog.

Think about what you like to do in your leisure time. How would a dog fit into your routine? If you are the type who enjoys long runs or a bike rides on a daily basis, by all means acquire a dog who can join you. In this case, huskies, border collies, and any of the field dogs would make a good match. If you want company on the sofa when you watch movies, (Higher energy dogs are also great at this but you have to exercise them first!), you might want to consider a Pekingese or a greyhound. Many breed books rate the energy levels and exercise requirements of the various breeds. Give this information your attention; it is an important area of compatibility for both of you and will certainly influence the nature of your relationship with your dog to a large extent. Things can get stickier with mixed breeds and there’s no doubt that you are taking a gamble. But who knows? Maybe getting that mixed breed dog who is a ball of energy might be just the catalyst you need to get your own exercise routine initiated. But do be realistic about how much time and energy you can devote to exercising your dog; it is hard to change your habits. Young dogs under two years of age in some high energy breeds need a minimum of two hours of real exercise daily.

Young dogs under the age of two years in some of the more active breeds require a minimum of two hours of full-out exercise daily. That can seem like a huge chunk of time to a busy person.

A dog who does not have enough exercise will almost certainly get into plenty of trouble. The old saying “a tired dog is a good dog” is true. It’s hard get much in the way of doggy decorum from a dog who is, sometimes literally, bouncing off the walls. An inadequately exercised dog is also much less attentive and will certainly be harder to train in all areas. If you do have a high energy dog and cannot yourself provide enough exercise there is- if money is not an obstacle- the possibility of using a daycare or hiring a dog walker. Just be sure to ask for references and check them out. You want to be sure that your dog will have fun and also be safe.

It can also be a good idea to talk to people who already own the breed of dog that you’re considering. Visit dog parks; people, as a rule, love to talk about their dogs and for the most part will be honest about what life is like with them. Evaluating the energy level of a shelter or rescue dog is not difficult if the dog is no longer a puppy. Most puppies are pretty lively which makes it difficult to predict what they will be like as adults. If you are inexperienced at making these decisions take someone with you who is more knowledgeable.

It is worthwhile doing your homework on this one. Try to see beyond the inevitable cuteness factor and resist following impulses that you haven’t thought through. A dog will, hopefully, be with you for ten or twelve years or in the case of some breeds even longer. You want a companion with whom you are genuinely compatible.


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