Where to get a dog, Buy a Dog.

Animal shelter
Also known as "the pound," shelters are connected with purebred rescue programs, giving you that purebred chic look combined with the warm, gooey, self-righteous satisfaction of rescuing a homeless dog. The benefit of a shelter is that 1) it's free (or really really cheap), and 2) you're saving a dog's life. The main drawback is that the dog could have some kind of personality or health problem (based on how it was treated before you got to the pound). That's a lot to deal with.

As long as you're at the shelter, consider strolling past the puppies and adopting an adult dog. Friendly, well-trained adult dogs will often wind up in the shelter through no fault of their own. Maybe their owner lost the appeal and got sent up the river for 20 to life . . . you never know. Actually, sometimes you do know. Many adult dogs come with a written history; some even come with the former owner's contact number so you can get a character reference. Adopt an adult dog and you can save yourself the heartbreak of housebreaking . . . and very probably save the dog's life.

Pet stores . . . Just say no!
Here's a way NOT to get a dog. When you see those little puppies in mall pet stores, our advice is: run away. Many pet stores sell dogs from puppy mills. If you thought that the plight of veal calves was bad . . . well, you're right, it is. But puppy mills are right there with it when it comes to wholesale animal cruelty. They basically churn out puppies for pet stores, kill the ones that don't look like they'd sell well, and keep the live ones in awful living conditions. And pet store puppies that don't get bought are sent to the pound.
Don't be fooled by the breeding papers they'll wave in your face. There's a special place in hell reserved for people who sell puppy mill puppies. It's just down the hall from the place reserved for people who buy puppy mill puppies. You're not rescuing the dog; you're perpetuating the puppy mill industry. Can you tell that we're against this yet? To find out more information about stopping puppy mills, visit the Help Puppies web site.

Yes, this article is about how to pick the perfect pet dog, but you should also know what you're in for once you get it. It is important to train and "fix" your pup, and it's better to get this information sooner than later.

We assume you want a dog because you yearn for the companionship of an animal, not just because you want a new toy (unless it's a toy dog, which, by definition, absolves you). But getting the dog is only part of the equation. To create a wonderful companion and a happy, healthy dog, you have to put some time into obedience training. Just as time on the Stairmaster every day makes for a butt you can be proud of, so too will consistent daily obedience training make for a mutt you can be proud of. At the very least, you'll want to housebreak your pooch. Teaching commands like "sit" and "stay" will make your life a LOT easier. And if you go on to advanced obedience training, you too can have one of those superstar dogs that catches Frisbees and runs obstacle courses when it's not busy signing autographs.
The point: obedience training is how you get the best from your dog. It's also how you give thebest to your dog: a well-trained dog is a happy dog. They're secure. They know that you're the boss and that you've got a plan. So keep training in mind when you get a pup.

Fix my dog? I didn't even know it was broken! But unless you're prepared to take care of 13 more puppies, you really should spay (for girl dogs) or neuter (for boy dogs) your dog immediately. Millions of dogs die each year in shelters and on the streets, and much of it could be prevented if people had their pets fixed. You might think that having your 'nads snipped off is a bad thing, but the world does not need more puppies. It needs people to take care of the ones that have already been born. Just ask Bob Barker. Next to getting married, having kids, buying a house or running a country, caring for a dog is the biggest commitment you'll ever make. You know why: because a dog is a living thing. Dogs feel pain, fear, loneliness, joy, love, and loyalty. Dogs also occasionally feel the need to shred Gucci loafers. It's all part of the dog-owning experience.
This SYW has focused almost entirely on the unglamorous responsible side of dog ownership. You already know all the reasons why you want a dog. We wanna make sure you know what you're getting into. But if you take care of your dog properly and treat it with consistent love and affection, you'll be rewarded for your efforts more richly even than people who bought Microsoft at $20 a share. Of course, your reward will be in companionship, not financial security. But who knows? If you train your pup well enough, maybe he'll be sniffing out hot stocks before it's over.

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