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How to Choose the Right Dog

Choosing the best brak for you

It’s important to choose a mutt that matches your environment and lifestyle. If you live in a small property, for example, a big, boisterous dog won’t be the right choice for you. When choosing a dog, it’s important to consider its age, size, exercise needs, friendliness, confidence and behaviour around children and other animals.

Of course, we recommend that you choose a brak rather than a breed (and that’s not just because we rescue them). Mixed-breed dogs are generally healthier than purebreeds – they’re not inbred and the ones that have survived on the streets are bound to be the fittest specimens around. In addition to this, there are thousands of wonderful dogs who are already alive (rather than bred for sale) and in need of loving homes… and every single rescue dog is truly one of a kind.

Stuff to consider before you choose

An African Tails representative can help you select a dog that’ll match your lifestyle, but in the end it’s up to you. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Don’t be fooled by first impressions. When you see a rescue dog at an adoption day, bear in mind that it’s a stressful place for any animal (and even some people!). Quite often, a dog will only show his true character when he’s in a calmer environment. So remember: if you see a dog that a little shy, or that jumps up or jostles for attention, don’t dismiss him just yet. He may just be scared or overwhelmed.
  • Age is also an important consideration: you may want to select a puppy as your new BFF, but be aware that a young pup requires more training and supervision than a mutt that’s more mature. If a puppy is under four months of age, he can’t be adopted by a family who has no one home for long periods. If you lack the time or patience to housetrain your new addition or to correct problems like chewing and jumping, an adult may be a better choice.
  • Consider the other elements that make up your home. If you have kids, you’ll need to know how the dog responds to children. Does the dog mind being prodded and patted all over his body, or is he jumpy (or even grumpy) when kids are around? In general, an active dog who likes to be touched and is not sensitive to handling and noise, will do well in a house full of kids.
  • Remember: a dog is a 10 to 15 year commitment, sometimes even longer! So you can’t just consider your lifestyle now. Do you plan to have kids in the next 15 years? Will your parents become frail and be unable to handle a boisterous dog when they visit your home? Every dog is perfect for someone, but you need to take the time to make a wise and well-considered choice. And once you’ve chosen, remember to teach your dog the kind of manners and skills he will need as your companion.
  • Assess the dog’s energy levels. Although an active, bouncy brak may catch your eye, a quieter dog might be easier to live with and will probably come out of his shell once he gets to know you and your home.

Sterilisation: stop the cycle

The most important part of responsible dog ownership is having your dog spayed or neutered. This will ensure that your dog never adds to the millions of unwanted animals that are born each year. It’ll also help him or her live a longer, healthier life. All of our animals that are adopted out get spayed or neutered. If they are a puppy or kitten, it will happen in a few months time, if the dog or cat is an adult already, it would have already been done. There is NO choice in the matter. If someone adopting already has animals, we also check that those animals are sterilized as this shows responsible pet ownership. We are not against unsterilized animals ONLY because of breeding purposes but because of a few other reasons which includes the HEALTH of the animal and BEHAVIOUR ISSUES that come with an unsterilized animal. The ONLY time we will accept adopting one of our animals out to a home with an unsterilized animal is when there is a valid reason health wise as to why they are not sterilized. (that needs to come from a vet).