Things To Consider
It is very important that we as responsible pet owners should consider carefully the breed we want to share our lives with. All dogs are wonderful, however the breed characteristics can be very much misunderstood. Without researching carefully, you might find some of their characteristics totally undesirable!
There are so many so called cute breeds; i.e. Blue Heelers, Corgis etc. These Heelers and Corgis are herding breeds, they will herd sheep, dogs and children. Nipping at their heels and ankles. This is not aggressive behavior but what they were bred to do. This is a common consulting concern I get all the time. Research your breed of interest and call your breed rescue to speak with knowledgeable individuals. However, keep in mind many people want you to buy, or rescue their dogs regardless of your personal needs or interest.
Another breed that is highly intelligent is the Border Collie. If you are not going to give this dog a job don't get this breed! They are high energy dogs that need a whole lot of physical and mental stimulation. As with any of the dogs bred to work consider this instead of how cute they are. This is an injustice to our dogs not to allow them to do what they were bred for. There are many breeds that were bred for pets and really pets alone. If you are inactive don't get a high energy dog. Some people say, "Well if I have a big yard they can run around". I say, "run around and do what, destroy the molding on your house, dig holes in your yard"? Dogs left in the yard get bored and the destruction will begin. The dog is a social animal. What will he or she be socializing with in your yard? Get involved in training your dog in some activity! There are a numerous activities, obedience, hunting, agility, tracking, fly ball, search and rescue. All these activities are good for you and your dog. Be active with your dog!
If you are a hunter, what you hunt is an important consideration in what breed you select. All birds are easily worked with retrievers. I push retrievers because I have trained numerous breeds over the years. Labradors are the most versatile breed. Retrievers can flush and be steady to shot in any hunting situation. Keep in mind Golden's, Flat Coats, Curly Coast and Chesapeake's display to a degree different temperaments. Research! Most other breeds such as Spaniels, German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraner Can be as good, if started early enough. Somehow along the way people are getting the wrong information about when to begin training. EARLY... the earlier the better! Starting a pup at 7 weeks is the very best you can do to get your young dog started. Exposing that puppy to its environment gets the confidence growing and those genetic instincts fired up and ready to go in the area of serious learning. You have to take advantage of them while their interest to learn is at its peak. Puppies are generally very curious and love to explore their environment. You never want to see a fearful hunting dog regardless of the breed! Expose them to the elements early and build their confidence.
I hear all the time... "I don't duck hunt, my dog doesn't need water work". Dogs need to know how to swim for their own safety. We teach "get in the water". This is to cool a hot dog down during training or hunting. Doves do fall into ponds all the time. Who is going to get that bird if your dog does not retrieve in the water? Many people throw their dogs in the water to teach them to swim. This can and does cause serious problems. This may be why some dogs have an aversion to the water.
Another really serious item very much worth discussing is exposing dogs to guns. DO NOT TAKE ANY DOG TO A SHOOTING RANGE OR OUT TO SOME GUN CLUB HUNT! This is one of the most insane things humans do to their dogs besides shooting over their puppies at eight weeks old. Exposing dogs to gunfire is a gradual process and if done correctly is a positive experience for that dog. Dogs with gun problems are out of control these days. Unfortunately, for the dogs that they have had owners that did not take the time to learn what to do prior to acquiring a dog. I have dogs that have never had a regular collar on or have ever been on a leash. Some of these dogs do not even really know their name. They don't know sit or down. They do not come when called. This is such an injustice to dogs. If you have a very busy schedule why would you want to bring a dog into that type of situation? Dogs are not furniture or yard ornaments. Why would you even want a dog if you are just going to store them in an outdoor kennel? These are all questions and considerations you should think about long and hard before the impulse is there to get a dog. Be responsible, do your research, investigate and then make your decision.
Dogs and Children. The common statement, "I want my children to learn responsibility" - you mean, you want your wife to have one more item to take care of plus you and the children. Rarely are children responsible to their pets. They mean well, but they are not going to be responsible! They have studies, sports, friends. Very few children have their dogs as a priority. Those children that do are a rare encounter . You might want to try a gold fish first and see how that goes before getting a dog.
Another issue to bring up is how many dogs? I have also had numerous people come out with their small children and two puppies! Are you crazy? It is hard enough to get a pup to pay attention to you when they are exploring their universe. Add another puppy and they will focus on one another. All things are achievable if you have the time, finances and patience. However, it is very difficult if you are a novice! Think long and hard and do your research. Remember research the breed. Consult breeders, rescues and professional trainers prior to getting your dog.