PUPPY LOVE: Volunteer puppy raiser offers tips on housebreaking Fido

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 02:15 PM.

Understanding the attributes and unique care required by the breed of dog that you are interested in is the first of several crucial steps in dog ownership, she said.

Research breeds

"Do your research before you bring the puppy home," Birdsell said. "It's always a good idea — especially if you're bringing home a purebred puppy — because there's an awful lot of information available about the temperament of purebred."

When the live-action version of Disney's "101 Dalmatians" opened in 1996, families rushed to buy the spotted dogs, never realizing they were unsuitable for households with lively children and have an unusually high rate of medical issues.

To prevent a similar occurrence, Birdsell said, it's important to know the dog's grooming requirements, how well the animal gets along with children, and the dog's ultimate adult size.

New owners can learn about a rescue dog's potential traits, even if it's a mixed breed, by researching the apparent breeds represented in your shelter puppy.

"Shepherds are shedders extraordinaire. Labs shed as well," Birdsell said. "You have to be interested in what the dog will look like as an adult and (determine) if your home and yard will accommodate the size of the dog."

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