Judy Kuhtreiber, Realtor | Shrewsbury Real Estate, Marlborough Real Estate, Southborough Real Estate


Getting a dog is a fun and exciting new addition to your life. Deciding you want a dog is pretty easy. They're cute and cuddly, loving and fun, what more is there to know? When it comes to choosing the dog you're going to take it home; it's not always so easy. Taking the time to select the right dog for you is the best decision you can make for you and him. It's essential to review lifestyle, needs, and home to ensure you select the right pet. Here are some basic but probing questions to ask yourself before you head over to the local animal shelter.

Have you cared for a dog before?

If you’re new to dog ownership you might not be considering, all the factors that go into your dog's care. Take a few moments to do a little research and reading about pet ownership and care to get a clear understanding of the commitment you'll be making. A dog will require your time and attention and will affect scheduling and traveling in your life. If you previously owned a dog think back to that time and what was needed from you to care for it. You might even already have a dog, or two. Consider if you have enough to give an additional animal the care they need. 

How much free time do you have to devote to your pet? 

Examine your lifestyle and determine how much time you can devote to your dog. If you can't find enough time in your schedule to walk your dog or play with your new pet multiple hours a day, you should avoid adopting a high energy breed. On the other hand, you might love taking walks and already lead an active outdoor life so adding an active dog to your lifestyle fits nicely. If your schedule doesn't permit enough time to do a lot of training with your pet, you might not be ready at this time to adopt a difficult rescue dog or potty train a brand-new pup. Consider adopting a young (3-6mo old) female dog in a small to medium-sized breed. You might find a long-haired Border Collie or Palmerian beautiful, but do you have enough time to manage all that hair? Your pet should be a positive, comforting and fun addition to your life and each dog requires a different commitment to the next. Whether it’s time spent playing and wearing the dog out, brushing hair or rehabilitating a traumatized animal find a dog that is the right commitment for you. 

Does your home have a yard?

How much space in your home do you have for a dog? You might have a huge yard that is just perfect for a large active dog. The same dog might not be so happy in your downtown studio apartment. Especially if your available time for walks and play is limited (see above). Read about the different breeds of dogs you’re considering or have noted as cute and learn what space requirements they have, outdoor and indoor. If your dog is going to be an indoor pet consider how much space you have inside for them, a small dog can run around and play indoors much better than a large breed. Finally, make a note of any changes you need to make to make your home pet-friendly — furniture arrangements, breakables, expensive rugs, etc. 

Do you have children? 

What are their dispositions and ability to pitch in and help?If you have children, you’ll need to consider their contribution to and experience of the dog's life as well. What are their ages, interest level and ability to help care for the animal? Find a pup that your kids can play with and help train and teach them how to take care of a pet of their own properly. 

What amount from your budget can you invest in your dog?

Finally, consider what amount of money you can afford to put into the dog's care. Larger breeds eat more food and will affect your monthly budget. If you need to groom and board your dog frequently for work travel or take them to doggie care daily run the numbers on possible costs to make sure, you’ll be able to sustain your commitment to your animal. 

If owning a dog indeed is important to you make it a priority during your next home search so you can find the right space for you and your future best friend.


If you’re a dog lover, you’re probably going to want to move into a community that caters to your love of animals. As you cruise different communities to find just the right place to live, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for if you want your pooch to feel at home as well. 


You See A Lot Of Dogs Around


This may seem obvious, but it’s something to be aware of on your home search. If you see a lot of dogs, you know that the people in your neighborhood are supportive of dogs. If there doesn’t seem to be too many four-legged friends running around, then maybe the community won’t be as receptive to your own pet. You would hate to move into a home, only to find out that your neighbors really don’t like dogs. This could be a sign of future problems in the neighborhood.


You See Dogs At The Parks Nearby


If you are riding around a community, exploring, and see plenty of dogs at the park, or even better, a dog park, you’ll know that you have chosen a good place to live. This shows that dogs are welcome in the area. If there’s a playground nearby, but many “no dogs allowed” signs, you could be in a place where dogs aren’t welcome many places. You want to feel that your dog is welcome especially in outdoor spaces. 


There Are Facilities For Dogs Nearby


If you can easily find a groomer, a vet, and a pet supply store nearby, you know that you’re in a good place for your dog. You can see that there’s a community surrounding you that cares about animals. These types of facilities allow you to keep your pet healthy, clean, and happy. You may even have easier access to other important things for you and your dogs like pet sitters, dog walkers, and more. 


You Can Find Plenty Of Walking Paths


If you love to walk, you’ll probably be looking for this feature in a neighborhood anyways, but walking paths are a good sign that dogs are welcome in a place. You need sidewalks, places without a lot of traffic, and perhaps some trails to help keep your dog active and healthy. Dogs will also love exploring new places often to keep their keen senses in check. 


Look At Local Establishments


If you stop into local coffee shops or restaurants and see dogs there, you definitely know for sure that you have chosen a great community for dog lovers. This is a sign that dogs are a part of everyday life, accepted, welcome, and almost required! Pets are a part of the family in a community like this. Your new home will not only be great for you but for your beloved pet as well.


Statistics vary, but according to two credible sources, 44% of Americans own a dog. That means that if you don't own a dog, there's a strong chance one or both of your next door neighbors do!

Why are dogs such a permanent fixture in so many households? Unconditional love is probably the number one reason most people bring a dog into their lives, but enhanced health, home security, and companionship are others.

Health benefits: If you have a dog in your family, you probably already know the power of the "w" word. From a dog's perspective, there are few experiences that outrank the joy of going for a walk with their master! It not only provides a daily bonding experience for both dog and owner, but it's also an opportunity to introduce a moderate amount of exercise into your life -- assuming your doctor approves! While running, athletics, or weight training is not up everyone's alley (or even medically advisable), taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood can be a great way to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy bonding moments with your four-legged companion! It's also a proven fact that petting or playing with a dog (or cat) can help lower your blood pressure and distract you from the cares and worries of everyday life.

Teaching moments: Not only do most kids love playing with pets, but they can also benefit from learning pet responsibility, kindness, and compassion.

Home security: While it's not an infallible method of burglarproofing your house, having a dog almost always serves as a deterrent. Most dogs are inherently protective of their territory (and loved ones) and will generally bark if they sense an intruder on the property or at the front door. Since one of the last things burglars want to do is call attention to themselves, a barking dog can definitely help keep the bad guys away!

Companionship: Dogs aren't the greatest conversationalists in the world, but they can be a very comforting presence when you're reading a book, watching TV, or relaxing at home. Many also love to join you for a ride in the car, a walk in the neighborhood, or a run in the park.

While dog ownership is not for everyone, more than 40% of us could not imagine life without our canine companion(s)! They do require a lot of attention, patience, and training, but the rewards are usually well worth the effort.

If you're considering getting a dog, you can gather a lot of helpful information about dog breeds, barking tendencies, temperament, shedding, how much exercise different breeds require, and other characteristics from the American Kennel Association. To help ensure a mutually satisfying relationship between you and your dog, it also pays to sign up for a dog obedience class and go online to learn about dog behavior, crate training, and health maintenance.


Puppies can be a great addition to any household. They're cute, cuddly, loyal, and can grow to be a loving family member. However, when they are still small and untrained, puppies can wreak havoc on your home. There are also items that you should be aware of that could affect your puppy's health In order to protect your house, and dog, from any permanent puppy damage, follow these tips.
  • A new puppy will be curious, so make sure to remove most items that are within reach, and not nailed down, to prevent them from becoming too destructive, or making themselves sick.
  • Believe it or not, some common, household plants can prove very toxic for dogs. To protect their fragile stomachs, familiarize yourself with these plants (see this article from Pet Education). Remove these plants from your home, or put them in a place where they cannot be reached.
  • Puppies will eat pretty much anything, so you will need to keep them from getting into your food, garbage, and cleaning supplies. Keep cleaning supplies in high cupboards, or use child locks on your lower cabinets, to prevent a nosy canine from getting in and using your bleach bottle as a chew toy. This same tip can go for food. Particular foods that can harm your dog include grapes, raisins, chocolate and coffee. For your garbage, try finding a locking garbage can, that way even if it gets tipped over, he cannot get into the bag and eat things that he shouldn't. For smaller, bathroom trashcans, try to keep them up high and out of reach.
  • Close off stairways with a baby gate, until they have fully mastered going up and down the stairs safely.
  • To prevent the puppy from chewing on wooden legs of furniture, spray them with a disinfectant with a particular scent or smell that may deter them away from this object. Just make sure it is non-toxic! Vinegar may work just as well.
  • Keep cords and wires well out of reach. These can be a potential fire hazard, as well as could seriously injure the pup. You could bundle them together with clips, or get cord protectors. Also, anything on the floor level that is plugged into an electrical socket (i.e. phone charger, air-fresheners, etc), make sure to unplug those, as they could electrocute the puppy if they attempt to chew on it.
  • Make other spaces in and around your home puppy safe, as well. Your garage has many dangerous chemicals and objects that a puppy could easily get into if they start roaming around. Make sure everything is up high, or locked up tight.
  • For your yard, make sure you get rid of any plants that could be poisonous to dogs, as well as any yard decorations that are eye level to them and could get chewed up. Make sure your garden chemicals are not hazardous to animals. If they start chewing the grass or plants, they could become ill. To protect your wicker lawn furniture, try typing cloths around the legs to prevent your dog from chewing them.
As much as your home and the quality of your material possessions are important, your dog's life is of much greater importance. Make sure to keep them safe, and your home less chewed up, by taking precautions before you bring Fido home!