Dog Ownership: 8 Things to Consider Before You Adopt a Dog


When you’re seriously considering adding a dog to your family…

You might start wondering…

What is the best kind of dog breed?

Should I adopt from a shelter?

How do I choose the perfect dog for myself or my family when there are so many different types of dogs out there?

In my personal opinion, there’s no such thing as a bad dog.

There’s no specific breed of dog or dog size that I’d recommend everyone stay away from.

With the right training and care, every dog has the potential to be a great dog.

However, some dogs are going to be a better fit for you and your unique situation.

So, with that in mind, here are some factors which are very important to look for to make sure the dog is a good match…

#1 Personality

You’d think that people would be concerned about the personality of a dog while looking to adopt, but most people don’t pay much attention to it.

Instead, they tend to focus on age, look, etc.

This is a big problem because the temperament of a dog is what forms the backbone of the relationship that you will have with him or her.

Much like a friend, you need to make sure you get along with the dog’s personality to ensure you will be able to spend a large part of your life with the dog you’re about to adopt.

If your personalities collide, this will make it much harder to bond with your dog.
In order to better show what I mean by personality, I made a video to better explain what I’m talking about. Check it out…

How do you choose the right dog?

#2 Energy levels

A dog’s energy level is very important to consider. Just like people, a dog’s energy level can vary considerably.

For instance, some people love to run triathlons every weekend and train six days a week without fail, while other people enjoy reading more and rarely go for a walk.

On the flip side, some dogs need a good hour walk every single day so they don’t end up frustrated and bouncing off the walls. Others are fairly happy to trot around the garden in a short walk a couple of times a week!

So, it becomes very difficult for you to tire them out. The dog will constantly end up with excess energy back at your home that he or she doesn’t know what to do with.

This often results in excessive barking, following you around the house, running away, and many other behavioral issues.

Always find a dog that matches up with your energy levels.

That being said, no matter how much energy your pup has, all dogs can learn to remain calm and focused when it matters most. Check out how I’ve helped train over 88,000 dogs to do that here! (Or, if you have a puppy, my Puppy Coach training program can help you build a solid foundation!)

 #3 Size

The size of your dog affects a number of things. Here are a few things to consider.


Size often plays a big role in how much it will cost to feed a dog. After all, a 2.5 kg Pekinese is going to be a lot cheaper to feed than a 45 kg Rottweiler!

Over a decade, this difference in cost adds up!

Dogs are expensive as is, so make sure you understand the financial cost of what you’re getting yourself into before you adopt.


The amount of room you have in your house may determine how large a dog you want.

If you live in a tiny apartment a Great Dane is probably not the right dog for you!


The size of the dog is a general indicator of the dog’s strength.

If you are older and more frail, then you want to consider how difficult it is going to be to control your dog on the walk if he suddenly starts lunging or pulling.

 #4 Climate

Something that is often overlooked is a dog’s natural ability to control his or her body temperature.

For example, a Husky is very capable of staying warm in cold climates, whereas a Weimaraner will struggle in the cold.

So, if you’re thinking of having your dog outside or live in an environment where it’s usually cold and it snows a lot, then go for a dog with a thick coat.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with intense heat, it’s not a good idea to adopt a dog that’s designed for cold temperatures.

If you do adopt a dog that isn’t equipped for the environment you live in, make sure you’re prepared to…

  • Pay for regular grooming/shaving.
  • Keep your dog indoors to stay out of the elements.
  • Provide sweaters/coats for cold weather.
  • Provide an exceptional weatherproof kennel for your dog.

 #5 Grooming

Different breeds of dogs require very different types of grooming care.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like cleaning up dog hair or having to pay for regular dog grooming services, or have allergies, choosing a breed—like a Brittany Spaniel—that doesn’t often shed and doesn’t have an undercoat would be a good option.

If you don’t mind a little extra fluff hanging around, can afford regular grooming, or are willing to learn to groom yourself, a long-haired dog might be a good option for you.

Regardless of what breed you choose, nearly all dogs need to be brushed and bathed from time to time—especially after a romp in the woods.

 #6 Rescue or Not

A lot of people get hung up on whether they should rescue a dog from a shelter or not.

It’s an understandable debate, as rescue dogs do often require a little more patience, training, and care than dogs you might buy from a breeder.

That being said, in my experience, I’ve worked with many well-mannered, easy going dogs who came from rescue centers.

And, even the dogs that did have mild issues were easy to work with once they were out of a shelter and into a loving home.

It doesn’t matter if you adopt an 8-week-old-puppy or an 8-year-old dog. They are both going to require love, attention, and training. For that reason, I encourage people to consider saving a life and think about adopting, before shopping.

 #7 Lifespan

One thing that people don’t think about when they get a dog is lifespan.

Some dogs, like Great Danes only have a life expectancy of 6 years. Other breeds, like chihuahuas, can easily live 15+ years.

Generally speaking, the larger the breed, the shorter the lifespan.

If you adopt a puppy with a long life expectancy, you need to be able to make the commitment to care for that dog for his or her entire life.

If you’re worried about the length of time you are going to have a dog and don’t want to be tied down potentially for best part of 2 decades, then I recommend considering adopting a senior dog.

You get the love of a dog in your life, and the senior dog gets to live his/her golden years in a warm, kind, and cozy home…it’s a win-win for everyone.

 #8 Male or Female?

It typically doesn’t matter a whole lot if you decide to adopt a male or female dog.

The time when it can become more of an issue is if you have another dog living in your home.

Generally speaking, I find that a male/female combination tends to be a better combination than two male dogs or two females in the same house.

This isn’t to say that two males or two females can’t live together in harmony—there are thousands who do, including my own…

It’s simply if you have the choice, I would select the opposite sex for your dog to hang out with.

Whichever sex of dog you choose to accompany your existing dog, I highly recommend you go on playdates with both of them. If possible, have the dog spend a few days in your home around your other dog before you decide to adopt.

This is also true for bringing any dog into your home, regardless of gender.

And a big tip is to first let them meet at a neutral venue like a park rather than your home.

You want to make sure that they’ve met and spent a decent amount of time together before you decide to adopt.

And remember…just like humans don’t get along with everybody, neither do dogs!

There you have it…my main suggestions for things you need to look for before adopting a dog.

The key is to not rush into things.

Do your research, spend time with the dog you’re considering adopting, and remind yourself of the commitment you’re making before you sign the adoption papers.

The last thing I encourage you to do is meet at least 5 to 10 different dogs before you choose the dog for you.

At the end of the day, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Whatever you decide, get some good training early on and, as always, love your dog!

If you’re looking into getting a dog, I want to help you start on the right foot. In terms of training, I recommend you check out my program, The Dog Calming Code.

This program is designed to help you effectively get your dog to listen to you when it matters most, so he can live a calm, happy, and healthy life!


Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

13 Responses

    1. Glad you’re liking my Blogs Ramon… I always hope that people do find them helpful and informative! All the Best, Doggy Dan

  1. Dear Mr. Dan,
    Very informative and insightful blog. I agree with you. I followed all your tips earlier when I adopted OOM, a male Doberman. I am very happy about it. It was a quitestest and very accommodating with in the pack of dogs from some mother. I wanted the quites one. Now, He is very comfortable with a stranger also, he does not do the task of guarding the house, never barks at strangers ! Only thing some time make me think, in future I will adopt in between personality dog.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks, Keep on sharing good blogs.
    Atul Patil
    Pune, India.

    1. Hi!
      Really glad you have found my tips helpful. It is true of any dog that they are born with their own individual personality and as long as you are consistent with the information you give them then you will be raising a happy and well behaved dog. I have worked with many adult rescue dogs and puppies and they are all wonderful dogs when given the right information. Best, Doggy Dan

  2. Having adopted a Brittany spaniel – in Brittany, so a smaller, hairier dog than the American version – I wouldn’t quite agree that they don’t shed much! Maybe not the worst but a good vacuum cleaner is a must, and, having collected dark colour clothes over the years of owning a black cocker, I now wish I had wardrobe that didn’t show the orange and white ones Elfie leaves on them!

    But she’s worth it, and we’ll never regret rescuing her, she has the sweetest character, though having spent the first seven years of her life as a hunting dog, she’ll never lose the impulse to chase certain furred and feathered things.

  3. In my household, we do not have to think about getting a dog from a rescue center or shop for a dog in a pet shop. Our dogs are offsprings of our dam and we decided to keep them when nobody had the heart to ask for them because they did not have long hair or because they were not cute or they did not have a breed to speak of. We kept some of them because they were sick and needed care. Actually, we have kept most of the mother dog’s litter in her 6 pregnancies and we have not regretted keeping them. Some of them though have died during birth or due to accident or due to some diseases. To date only 6 dogs are alive and well with ages between 2 years old and 5 years old. After the mother’s 6th pregnancy, we decided to spay her so she would not have to be saddled by little pups. She however died last year, 2 years after she got spayed. We know our dogs well since we help bring them to this world. We stayed up late to watch the dam deliver them and stayed up late so we could feed the mother after she has delivered all of her pups. We took care of the pups even when they were in their mother’s womb by taking care of the mother. So we never had to think about adopting a puppy for our household. These dogs are heaven sent.. they make our lives complete and they are our source of inspiration and our joy.

  4. Love all your posts. It really comes thru that you
    love your dogs and dogs in general. To win the heart of a dog is what it is all about. It is possible to work thru anything when you have the heart of your dog. That’s is ultimately what you do teach people how to have the heart of their dog. Thanks so much. You are all awesome.

    1. Thanks Debbie, I really appreciate your kind words! I am really very lucky that I get to call working with dogs my ‘job’. Best, Doggy Dan

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