Activity Levels to Consider When Adopting a Dog

Adding a new dog to your family? Congratulations! Dogs make great companions, and with a little forethought about your lifestyle and the qualities you want in a dog, you're bound to find the right furry friend for you. But it's important to remember that not all dogs are right for everyone, so it's important to be honest with yourself about your activity levels, habits and living situation. 


Exercise for High-Energy and Working Dogs

Dog who have to "make their own jobs" might misbehaveYou probably already know this, but some dogs are high-energy working breeds best for active people with an outdoor lifestyle. Border collies are a good example. These are working dogs who NEED to work. Keep them locked up without enough exercise and they’ll create a job for themselves—and it won’t be anything helpful like putting the dishes away. Instead, they may eat your couch or strew the trash all over the kitchen. It’s not that they want to be “bad” dogs; they just need a positive outlet.

On the other hand, if you’re active and looking for a hiking companion, such working dogs might be great for you because they’ll be happy to bound around outside all day. For more information on working dogs (and what breeds are included), click here!


Dog Walking as Moderate Exercise

You know your activity level and whether or not you’re a homebody or a traveler. These are important considerations when thinking about your canine companion. Will they accompany you on trips? Do you want to get out and walk a dog around your neighborhood a couple of times a day?

If you’re moderately active and like to walk, a senior dog might be a good fit for you. The shelters are full of great animals who for one reason or another ended up there—life changes like divorce and sickness are big reasons. They have a lot of love to give and deserve a second chance. In fact, many of them are already housebroken and know how to walk on a leash. The other bonus of an adult or senior dog is that you've already passed the crazy puppy stage and their personalities are established.

For more information about adopting older dogs, click here.


Traveling—But Maybe Not on Foot

If you’re not very active, you may want to consider a small dog who doesn’t need a lot of exercise. Shih Tzus and Bichons are great for less active households. They’re happy to curl up beside you on the couch while you read or watch TV. They don’t require (or want) lengthy walks, and they travel easily because of their size. They’ll fit in the backseat or under an airline seat with no problem.

For more information about dogs that may fit your less active lifestyle, click here (and then look at the "non-sporting group" and the "toy group"). A number of the breeds (and mixes of them) in each group are quite popular and can be found fairly easily at shelters and rescues.

Smaller dogs may travel more easily

The Connection Between Obedience Training and Exercise

Another thing you want to consider is the strength of the dog and their training. We’ve known people of all ages who found it difficult to walk their dog simply because their dog was stronger than they are and/or not well-trained. No one wants to be pulled down the street because their dog decided to chase a squirrel. Not only is it not fun, but it can also cause an injury to you or to someone else. There are a number of things you can do yourself to train your dog, but if you're having problems or need help, there are professional dog trainers who can help you! While it's easier to adopt a dog who's already fully trained, the reality is that's not always possible. And the old saying about old dogs and tricks? That's not true. Dogs are perfectly able to continue learning throughout life! 


So what are you waiting for? With this information in hand, go on down to your nearest shelter or rescue. Shelter staff and volunteers play the role of matchmaker when it comes to finding good homes for their charges. They want the pets they care for to find the best homes possible, and they'll work hard to make sure that happens. They’ll ask you questions (sometimes lots) to help you find the right furry friend for you and your family. And, of course, you are welcome to reach out to us with questions during your search.

Finally, don't forget! After you bring your pet home, make an appointment with us for a wellness exam. Even if your new friend has up-to-date vaccines, a "new pet" exam is still a good idea. Give us a call to schedule an exam or fill out our online form.


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