How to pick and introduce a new dog to your family

Picking the right dog for you and your family can be a challenging task, but there are a few simple steps to follow that will greatly increase the chance of a perfect match.

To succeed at dog ownership there must be unity in the pack. If you want a dog but your wife doesn't the dog will be stuck in the middle and trust me, he will know he is not totally wanted in the home.

Once the family has agreed to get a dog a you want to sit down and make sure everyone knows what it means to be a responsible pet owner. Giving him daily exercise, cleaning up after him and making sure he gets good training and vet care are essential. Love is not going to take him out at 3:00 in the morning, you are, so really make sure your family knows the details.

Once you are ready to pick a dog there are some things you can do to help the process:

Step 1 - Asses your families overall energy level and be honest. Do you spend weekends camping and hiking or is movie night on the couch more your speed. Dogs come in 4 energy levels - low, medium, high and very high. The trick is to pick a dog whose energy is equal to or lower than yours. I know a puppy sounds like a good idea but think it through.

Step 2 - Rescues and shelters have every type and age of dog there is. Enter the breed you want and the area you live along with “rescue” in google and several should pop up. There is usually a description and if the dog is in a foster home there may be a detailed behavioral description about kids, cats, and other dogs. Mutts rule!