Setting behavior expectations with a new dog starts before you bring them home - trainer explains why

Man and woman cuddle a dog together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The decision to bring a new dog into your life is without a doubt a special one. The anticipation of welcoming a loyal furry companion into one's home is often what spurs people to bite the bullet and get the dog they have always dreamed of. However, there's a very important step that should precede this excitement: considering what breed will best suit your lifestyle.

Before you dive into the world of adorable dogs, forking out on the best puppy toys and looking up how to teach a puppy to sit, take a moment to reflect on your daily life. Your lifestyle plays a pivotal role in determining what type of dog will thrive in your home, habits and routine. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly, as it impacts both your life and the dog's.

Experienced dog trainer and behaviorist, Amelia Steele, widely known as Amelia the Dog Trainer on Instagram has shared invaluable insights on why selecting a dog breed based on your current lifestyle is essential. You can listen to her discuss this in the video below or keep scrolling to read her advice...

In her Instagram video, Steele highlights a common mistake made by people which is selecting a dog for the lifestyle you want, rather than the one you have. While it's tempting to imagine how a dog will inspire you to be more active, it's crucial to be realistic about your current habits and commitments.

Steele explains in the video, "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, ‘Yeah but I’m going to get a dog because it’s going to get me out and about and I’ll become active and I’ll get out and do loads of walking’. And yes to start with, that is true. However, it’s so easy to fall back into old habits. So I always recommend choosing a dog for the lifestyle that you have."

The novelty of daily walks may wear off, and this can lead to a series of issues. Your dog, initially excited about the increased activity, may become frustrated when their needs go unmet. Behavioral problems can emerge, leaving both you and your dog feeling frustrated.

Moreover, if you aspire to make lifestyle changes through becoming a dog owner, Steele suggests trying to live that life before bringing a dog home. Prove to yourself that you can commit to the new routine and responsibilities. Only then is it a safer bet to embark on the journey of finding the perfect dog breed to complement your lifestyle.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.