When getting a dog, it is important to understand what you are looking for and what your expectations are of your new animal. Research has shown that the success of a human-companion animal relationship is influenced by whether an owner’s expectations can be met by the dog and whether the needs and lifestyle of the owner and personality of the dog match. Owner expectations can relate to the time and effort required in caring for your dog (e.g. walks, training, veterinary visits), the role of the dog in the household (e.g., friend, protector), and the annual cost of owning a dog. Therefore, before choosing a new dog, it is beneficial to think about your schedule, your household members, living situation, and the type of personality you would like your new dog to have.

Below are questions that may help you define your lifestyle and the type of dog you're looking for. Again, matching a pet to your lifestyle is more likely to create a relationship that lasts. For example, if you are a person who has a fairly busy schedule, you might be interested in acquiring a dog that is more independent in nature. We encourage you to take a minute to complete these questions. You will be able to print your answers and take them with you when looking for your new dog!

Lifestyle
1. Who will take care of my dog if:
I'm moving:
I'm travelling:
I'm working during the day:
2. Who are the other family/household members that will interact with the new dog?
Please check all that apply.
Spouse/partner
Housemates
Children
Elderly/immunocompromised individuals
Other
3. Have you talked to the people identified in questions 1 and 2 about getting a new dog? Yes
No
Personality
4. It's important to me that my dog is affectionate. Yes
Somewhat
No
5. It's important to me that my dog is quiet. Yes
Somewhat
No
6. It's important to me that my dog is playful. Yes
Somewhat
No
7. It's important to me that my dog is laid back. Yes
Somewhat
No
8. It's important to me that my dog is active. Yes
Somewhat
No
9. It's important to me that my dog is protective. Yes
Somewhat
No
10. It's important to me that my dog listens to me. Yes
Somewhat
No
11. It's important to me that when I'm at home, my dog wants to be at my side
________________.
Little of the time
Some of the time
All of the time
Compatibility
12. It's important to me that my dog gets along with
other dogs.
Yes
Somewhat
No
13. My dog needs to be good with: (check all that apply) Children
Elderly
Cats
Other animals
Other:
Caretaking
14. Have you thought about the changes you'll need to make to your schedule to accommodate your new dog? Yes
Somewhat
No
15. I'm willing to take my dog for a walk or exercise outdoors daily at least __
times.
1
2
3+
16. I'm willing to put _____________ into grooming my dog Minimal effort
Moderate effort
Maximal effort
17. I'm willing to spend __ hours with my dog daily, socializing or training.
18. I expect my dog to be alone for __ hours a day.
19. If my dog exhibits undesirable behaviour (e.g., barking, chewing, digging, jumping), I will seek training opportunities and behavioural advice from: Veterinarian
Behaviourist
Obedience classes
Internet
Books
Pet source (e.g., animal shelter, breeder, pet store)
I'm comfortable with the knowledge I currently have
20. I expect to take my dog to the veterinarian at least ____ per year 0
1
2
3 or more
Take home messages
It's most important to me that my dog:
I wouldn't own a dog that:

Albert, A., & Bulcroft, K. (1988). Pets, families, and the life course. Journal of Marriage and Family, 50(2), 543-552.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [ASPCA]. (2009). Dog adopter survey. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/upload/images/dogadoptersurvey.pdf

Curb, L.A., Abramson, C.I., Grice, J.W., & Kennison, S.M. (2013). The relationship between personality match and pet satisfaction among dog owners. Anthroözos, 26 (3), 395-404.

Diesel, G., Pfeiffer, D.U., & Brodbelt, D. (2008). Factors affecting the success of rehoming dogs in the UK during 2005. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 84, 228-241.

Miller, D.D., Staats, S.R., Partlo, C., & Rada, K. (1996). Factors associated with the decisions to surrender a pet to an animal shelter. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 209 (4), 738-742.

Serpell, J.A. (1996). Evidence for an association between pet behaviour and owner attachment levels. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 47, 49-60