Tips For Choosing a New Dog

tips for choosing a new dog

I feel really confident writing a post about tips for choosing a new dog since we recently added not one but 3 new puppies to our family. If you have already decided that you are ready for a new pup but now need to take the next steps than this is the post for you.

A lot of people told us we were crazy for adding so many dogs at once but we felt confident that we were doing the right thing. We considered costs, both to purchase and future, space, and time needed to give the dogs their best possible lives. We are lucky that we do have a fenced yard, live in a great community with lots of green space and both work from home.

Adding Spot, Coco, and Biggie came with its own challenges but we’ll tackle them in a new post. For now, we’ll tackle these 5 tips to choose a new dog.

Do Your Research About Dog Breeds

I can’t stress how important it is to do your research about dog breeds and find one that fits your life well. If you love to be active and hope to jog with your dog make sure you get a dog that can keep up with your active lifestyles like a golden retriever or Bernese Mountain Dog.

On the contrary, if your idea of a perfect day with a dog is cuddled on the couch or pushing them in a pet stroller look into smaller (and calmer) pup like a French bulldog or pug.

My husband and I definitely have a “type” of dog we like as we’ve been parents to pit bulls, american bulldogs and mastiff mixes in the past. Since my husband desired a very large and protective bullmastiff we did not feel comfortable getting a rescue since we do have four kids.

Check Local Shelters for Dogs

I spent weeks scouring shelters looking for a dog for our family but the ones we wanted could not be found. If you are open to getting an older dog (usually) please check the shelters in your area.

Not only will your adoption fees be much lower they are usually up-to-date on vaccinations and spayed/neutered. Plus they are usually already trained letting you gently ease into the best part of pet parenthood, the bonding.

A reader has mentioned that shelter dogs are usually scared and shutdown and this is most likely true so please be prepared to put in the work. I know plenty of people who have rescues and they are some of the most loyal and amazing pets, even if they had a rough start in life.

Ask Friends to Borrow Their Dogs

I know it sounds a bit crazy to ask friends to borrow their dogs if they have a breed you are considering.

My brother-in-law is on the fence about getting a French bulldog so he comes and takes one of ours once a week to see if he can commit. If someone you know has a breed like the one you are considering see if you can borrow them for 24 hours as a trial.

You may realize that the dog sheds too much, barks too much, or even worse you’re allergic to dogs during this period. Learning you’re not quite ready for a new pet before you get attached can save you thousands of dollars and immense heartache.


Dogs are expensive. You can save money on dogs by getting older pets, rescues, or mixed-breed pups but even then you need to consider vet visits, food like salmon dog food, toys, and training costs.

Consider Your Space

If you live in a bachelor apartment with no green space for kilometres you need to get a dog that will fit well into your home. Not only do you have to consider how much space you can give your pet but also think about how much space your pet needs from you. Sometimes those two numbers have a wide divide.

Make Sure You Consider All The Tips When Choosing a New Dog

It is so important to take all these tips into consideration when thinking about buying a new dog. I would also strongly discourage buying a pet for someone without their consent unless you are willing to be that pets new guardian. Happy searching!

tips for choosing a new dog

This post has been updated to better clarify some thoughts and address a readers concerns. Thanks xo

Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

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  1. January 15, 2019 / 10:09 am

    I never meant to sugar coat anything so I am sorry if it came off that way Sharon. This post was meant to be informative to those who have already commited to the thought of a dog but are considering breeds.

  2. Sharon
    January 15, 2019 / 11:31 am

    I assumed you would delete my comment. Very big of you.

  3. kristen visser
    January 15, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Asking friends to borrow their dogs is actually a very smart idea. Never would have thought about doing that but it is a great way to see if you are for sure ready and to fully understand what responsibilities come with having a dog

  4. January 15, 2019 / 1:22 pm

    Hi Sharon. I ammended my post to reflect some of the valid points you made and put a note at the bottom of it letting readers know its been changed from the original. I can tell you are passionate about this topic and I am sorry to upset you but I did my best to mention your concerns in the post so that they still coincide with my beliefs.

  5. jan
    January 15, 2019 / 1:48 pm

    I think that it is so, so important to follow these steps. (cannot really imagine what amendments needed to be done to original as opinions pieces are just that). Some definite factors have stopped us from being full time dog owners as we thought long and hard about it; Expense is considerable, commitment is constant and long term, and I am a little meticulous about a clean house. 🙂

  6. January 15, 2019 / 6:46 pm

    Such great ideas, I know some families think a cute puppy will make the family happy but they have to realize that this is a commitment for a very long time and puppies become dogs. I have seen way too many dogs end up back in a shelter because the cute wore off. I hope all people considering a new dog will read this and take the suggestions to heart. Such a great topic.

  7. cathydryade
    January 15, 2019 / 7:58 pm

    That’s interesting! Getting a dog is such a big long term commitment, people need to be a 100% sure of what they want and what they are getting into. Dog-sitting is a really good idea, maybe even for an extended period of time!

  8. January 16, 2019 / 12:06 am

    A reader mentioned fostering or rescues as an option 🙂

  9. January 16, 2019 / 12:11 am

    It is true. Dogs are long term and not something to go about on a whim

  10. Deborah P
    January 16, 2019 / 1:34 am

    Thank you for sharing this its important to be prepared to love and care for a dog for their whole life. Some can live up to 20 yrs or longer. My oldest 3 dogs (siblings) are all 15, we have had them since they were 9 weeks old. Jack a rescue is approx. 5 yrs old. A dog should never be an impulse adoption or purchase so take all the time you need to make the right decision for you and the dog .

  11. LisaM
    January 16, 2019 / 11:40 am

    Oh gosh – I’d love to get another dog but with both of us working out of the home full time it’s really not fair for the dog!

  12. Janet M
    January 18, 2019 / 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the tips. It is such an important decision.

  13. Lynda Cook
    January 18, 2019 / 9:35 pm

    I love your Frenchies they are so cute, love their faces!! Owning a dog is very expensive and some people really need to do their research before jumping in. I see way to many times of people getting a dog and then a month later trying to rehome it, sad really! I had 3 but one passed away last year from old age, and when it’s time for my 2 to go, I think I am going to give myself a little break from cleaning up poop..lol

  14. January 19, 2019 / 12:02 am

    Great tips! Another thing to consider is to work out everyone’s schedules to figure out who will be walking the dog, playing with the dog, etc.

  15. Tammi L.
    January 19, 2019 / 12:01 pm

    We got a new puppy a couple months ago and we would have loved to have gotten a rescue but the rules in our condo are that you can’t have any animals over 25 pounds and the waiting time for small puppies is really long, and they will always choose someone who doesn’t have a cat and lives in a house rather than a 2nd floor condo. It was quite frustrating in the beginning but we now feel that it was totally the way it was meant to be, God gave us the perfect dog for our daughter. But I must admit he is a lot more expensive, than we had expected. Besides the original purchase cost and having him shipped from Winnipeg the puppy pads are probably $40 a week alone . He will only use it once. and if you don’t get new ones he’ll go on the carpet. All things we should have sat down and considered for sure. No regrets at all, but we weren’t really prepared, so good advice.

  16. AD
    January 20, 2019 / 5:44 pm

    Three new puppies?! Jeez, that is insanity! LOL! Thanks for the tips…

  17. January 21, 2019 / 3:15 am

    I want one of each.?

  18. January 22, 2019 / 7:41 am

    Great tips! I forwarded this to my friend, who is thinking about getting a new dog. I think these pointers will help lead her to the right breed!

  19. HEIDI C.
    January 28, 2019 / 9:43 pm

    Families could try fostering pets first to see if they are really committed to having an animal (or two or three) in their lives.

  20. Shirley OFlynn
    February 22, 2019 / 7:40 pm

    Great tips! We have thought about adopting a dog for a couple of years now but just haven’t made the leap just yet. They are wonderful companions.

  21. March 11, 2019 / 7:20 pm

    These are good things to consider. I have always wanted a dog, but have never had one.. It is definitely a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly. One day I hope I can adopt the perfect companion 🙂

  22. Shirley Powell
    April 27, 2019 / 6:44 am

    Great ideas for choosing a pet

  23. Tara Gauthier
    May 1, 2019 / 9:09 pm

    These are all great tips! I love when people can adopt from shelters. We did a ton of research when were looking to get a dog due to my husbands allergies. We ended up going with a breeder due to the need to have specific breed to reduce chance of allergies. The breeder was great we found and made sure to check a few out and find a reputable one.

  24. Shirle
    May 6, 2019 / 10:07 am

    These are good tips for choosing a dog thank you

  25. Debbie White-Beattie
    August 5, 2019 / 1:36 am

    I’ve had 2 Shih Tzu’s that I bought but if I get another dog it’ll be a rescue

  26. kathy downey
    December 19, 2019 / 9:39 am

    This is a great post.Dogs breeds are often different and if you have smalll children you may want a mild mannered and patience dog.