Today’s guest writer is Robbi Hess, Story Editor at Positively Woof. Robbi is writing about how to celebrate rescue dogs and how to choose the “right” dog for your family.

August 1 was DOGust – a universal birthday for shelter dogs. We love the idea of celebrating a shelter dog’s birthday and showering them with additional love. What we, at DOGTV really love, though is the idea of shelter dogs finding forever homes.

Have you been thinking about rescuing or adopting a dog, but aren’t certain how to find the “right” dog for your family? There are some items to consider when adopting or rescuing a dog.

How To Find The ‘Right’ Dog For Your Family

How much exercise do you want? All dogs need exercise in order to be healthy, but some dogs need more exercise than others. Some breeds love to have a “job” and get bored easily. Would you have time to play with your high energy, highly driven dog and take him for long walks? If not, she may become bored and destructive. If you don’t fancy long hikes in the woods, look for a dog who doesn’t require excessive exercise — a Bulldog or Chihuahua, for example. Also, don’t overlook a friendly mutt, of which there are plenty in the shelters. Remember too, if you’re looking for a specific breed look for rescue groups that specialize in a particular breed.

How much money do you want to devote to grooming? Some breeds, like poodles, require regular grooming and this can be an additional monthly expense. Short-haired dogs or even long-haired dogs whom you can brush or bath at home may be a less costly investment.

There are breeds who don’t require regular grooming visits or baths, but do require brushing when they shed seasonally. 

What are you prepared to spend on vet bills? Do your research and understand certain breeds have inherent illness or the potential for hip problems as they age. Talk with a vet and gain an understanding of whether a breed you have your heart set on will be costly or if that breed is inherently healthy.

When you adopt a shelter dog and he’s a mutt you may not know what you’re getting health-wise. Look for a dog who is active, looks happy and is bright-eyed and has a happily wagging tail!  

What is your family life like? Do you travel a lot? Do you have young children in the house? Do you have other pets with whom the new dog would need to get along? If you have young, small children take that into consideration when adopting your dog. You don’t want a high energy, large dog who may have the potential to knock a small child over — until he learns to be careful around them.

No matter what breed you bring home from the shelter, plan to slowly integrate her into the household and positively teach him the “rules” of being a good family member.

Do you travel often as a family? If your dog will accompany you on those trips is there enough room in the car for him and the rest of the family?

Where do you live? If you live in a tiny apartment, there may not be enough room for a Great Dane or other large breed dog to share her life with you there. If, however you live in a large home with a large yard it would be ideal for that Great Dane or large breed dog.

Large breed dogs typically need more room to roam while smaller breeds can be happy in a tiny apartment.

Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? When you get a puppy you will need more frequent vet visits in the first year of his life. You will also need to train him and house train him; it could mean many sleepless nights!

When you adopt an older dog you know what you’re getting size-wise and even personality-wise.

Shelters are full of adorable puppies, that’s for sure, but don’t pass by an adult dog who is waiting for his forever home. Talk with the shelter or rescue group and tell them what you’re looking for in a pet and ask for their suggestions as they have spent time with the dogs there and can help you make a forever match.

How to celebrate your new dog or puppy

After you’ve adopted or rescued your new family member you can celebrate his birthday on DOGust if you don’t know when his “real” birthday is. With dogs, though it is easy to make every day a holiday.

Here are some of our favorite tips to celebrate dogs every day:

  1. Make sure he has toys to keep him occupied while he’s home alone. Food puzzle toys and other toys that engage his brain will keep him physically and mentally engaged and that might keep him out of trouble.
  2. Enrich his environment by turning on DOGTV and its unique, scientifically-developed programming. DOGTV programming helps alleviate pet separation anxiety and stress and can keep your dog entertained when he is home alone.
  3. Leave an item of clothing that has your scent on it. If your dog can snuggle up with one of your t-shirts while you’re away he may just be able to relax.
  4. When you get home, give your dog some extra snuggles and belly rubs — that’s a way to celebrate your bond and show your dog how happy you are he’s in your life!

What do you do to enrich your dog’s environment when he is home alone? Have you tried DOGTV? Sign up for a  free fourteen day trial of DOGTV to help enrich your dog’s environment to alleviate his stress and separation anxiety.

Hey Shelter and Rescue Operators and Organizations, ask us how playing DOGTV in your facility will help to calm dogs and alleviate their stress while they’re waiting for their forever homes. Also, grab your free fourteen day trial of DOGTV to play at the shelter.