How Not to Choose a Dog


It’s easy to go to a shelter and fall in love with a little white dog that has fluffy curls, or a beautiful merle with a multi-colored coat and blue eyes. But one of the top guidelines for responsible pet ownership from the American Veterinary Medical Association is to avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet, including decisions based on looks.

It’s advice worth heeding. Hundreds of thousands of households give up a dog every single year because the animal was not a fit. It makes much more sense to go by personality, judging whether the dog has a temperament suited to your lifestyle — calm and content to hang out all day or more interested in taking long walks and playing Frisbee. Also, talk to the shelter workers to learn about the dog’s personality — whether it will get along with any children that might be in your household, whether it gets on with other animals, and so on. You might find that a non-descript-looking dog in a “plain brown wrapper” is the one for you.


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