At a country fair dog show last summer I ended up having a similar conversation with different dog owners about how they got their new dog. An interesting idea came up in most of the conversations: whether we choose a new dog or let the dog choose us. So how do you choose a new dog?
Accept the rescue centre’s recommendations
One couple told me that they always have rescue dogs, usually two at a time. When one of their lovely dogs dies, once they are ready to get another dog, they reach out to their favourite rescue who they always get their dogs from. Having worked with the same rescue for some years, the rescue knows what the couple’s lifestyle is like and what kind of dog would be suitable for them.
The rescue comes to their home with a few dogs looking to be homed. These dogs have been selected by the rescue as fitting the bill for the couple’s way of life. In this case, for instance, it meant not being a dog with a high prey drive, since they go for walks in the countryside every day and couldn’t have a dog that is likely to chase sheep.
One by one the couple and their current dog meet the rescue dogs, and the current dog has to be happy with the choice of the new family member. In this way, by allowing your fur kid to decided who its new brother or sister will be, you are far less likely to end up with your two dogs having problems with each other in the future.
Let the dog choose you
Another couple, who also always have rescue dogs, described how they visit a rescue centre and wait until a dog ‘connects’ with them. Even if they go with something in mind – a particular dog they saw on the rescue website for instance – if when walking along past the kennels another dog insists on interacting with them, they go with that gut instinct. Rather than choose the dog, they let the dog choose them.
In my case, when I was looking for a mate for my dobermann, Mino, we visited a dobermann breeder and I presented him with 2 gorgeous puppies. One was boisterous and very forward, the other sat quietly near him but didn’t pester him. Mino is a people dog, not terribly interested in playing with other dogs. The boisterous puppy annoyed the hell out of him and he shot away from it at every opportunity. So of course, I followed his cue and chose the quieter, calmer girl. We called her Toxa and 7 years later, the 2 of them live very happily together.
What about you? How do you choose your new dog? Or do you let the dog choose you?
Once you have your lovely new dog at home, why not try some of these games to play with them?