Finding your perfect pup

When welcoming a new dog, there’s more to consider than meets the paw.

Posted on Feb 23 2024 in Pets
Man with dog

The prospect of a new dog understandably sparks excitement, but don’t let those puppy dog eyes distract you from making a thoughtful decision. Consider these factors before you schedule your meet-and-greet with a potential new pooch. 


How you go about your day pre-pup will shift once there’s a dog on duty. Assess your current lifestyle and how your new family member will integrate into your routine. 

“The biggest thing to consider when choosing a dog for your family is what type of lifestyle you have,” said Nichole Kanney of HELP the Animals, a no-kill shelter in Richmond, Indiana. 

A spunky Labrador Retriever or Australian Shepherd may make your daily run even more fun. An even-tempered Basset Hound, Charles Spaniel, or a mixed-breed senior dog can be a calm and cozy movie buddy.


Your household will influence your pet choice. A patient dog is a must in homes with kids, as the likelihood of a less-than-gentle tail pull or role in a game runs high. 

“We always do a meet-and-greet with everyone in the household and other dogs to ensure they will all get along,” said Kanney. “We also offer foster-to-adopt situations where you can try the animal in your home for seven days.”

Facilitate a trial run to assess how you and the dog feel about the arrangement. If you regularly host gatherings or have frequent guests, see how the dog handles new people and busy environments. 

Time and money commitment 

There’s no denying that a puppy is cute, but training demands a new budget line item and time. Teaching a pup your home’s rules for behavior, furniture, and bathroom breaks requires patience. 

All breeds need regular veterinary care, but some are prone to health challenges. Research the common health risks of the breeds you are considering to identify their potential long-term needs. 

Take grooming into account, too. Short-haired Beagles will be lower-maintenance, while Shitzu’s will need their coats trimmed and shaped regularly for style and function. 

No matter what the perfect dog looks like to you, Kanney recommends that new pet parents keep in mind the 3-3-3 rule. “It takes three days for a dog to understand it left the shelter, three weeks for it to settle into your routine, and three months to integrate into your home fully.”

Natalie Derrickson is a freelance writer from Indianapolis.