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THINKING ABOUT GETTING A DOG OR CAT > LOOKING FOR A COMPANION ANIMAL > PREFERENCES

Your Preferences

Only after you have considered the questions about your needs and expectations should you think about preferences. Keeping in mind what you have learned from thinking about the previous questions, now ask yourself:
Who is your favorite dog or cat?
What is that dog or cat like?
What is it that you find beguiling about her?
What kinds of things have affected her personality? Has that particular animal had a great deal of training? Is it an older animal?
Would that animal’s personality, behavior, energy level, and needs fit in well with your family?
Do you prefer that the animal live indoors, or in the yard? (Keep in mind that a cat’s life expectancy is shortened to an average of six years if it is an “outdoor” cat, and that dogs often develop barking, digging, and escaping problems is they are left all day in a yard without significant environmental enrichment. All outdoor animals should always have a shelter on a raised platform, a supply of fresh water, and a source of shade. Fences should be at least eight feet high for dogs. Also keep in mind that animals can easily be trained to eliminate in appropriate areas and to chew appropriate toys. If adult animals have a chance to relieve themselves in the morning and when you return from work, they can generally go for eight to ten hours without a potty break.)
Do you want to adopt an animal, or to purchase one from a breeder?
Would you like a puppy, an adolescent, or an adult animal? (Puppies take the most time and energy, with adolescents coming in at a close second.)
   
  Once you have a good idea of what your perfect companion should be like, you can begin to evaluate the dogs and cats you meet, at the breeders or in a shelter.

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