In our experience, one of the most common problems we see, is the wrong dog in the wrong home. Just like people, dogs are all different. Within the same breed and even within the same litter, puppies all have different personalities. Finding the right match

First, decide what it is that you want from a dog; a dog to exercise with, a lap dog, a non-shedding dog, a large or a small dog, a dog for protection or intimidation, a dog to work on your farm or ranch, etc.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

• What's your lifestyle like? Are you active, a home body, retired?

• Are you gone for long hours every day?

• Do you travel a lot and would you want a dog to travel with you?

• Do you want a dog to exercise with you?

• Do you want a dog for protection?

• Does shedding bother you?

• Do you have small children?

• Do you have other animals in the home, such as a cat?

• Do you have any allergies?

• Do you have the time and the resources to properly care for a dog? Cost of the dog, food, veterinary bills, training, toys, bones, etc.? Other possible expenses could be grooming (depending on the dog you choose), daycare or boarding fees if you travel.

• Do you have a yard for a dog to play in?

Once you've narrowed down what you want, now it's time to research potential dog breeds that match your criteria. Find out what your potential breed was originally bred for; that will give you an idea of what they're innate characteristics are.

Now that you have a good idea of what you're looking for, you need to decide if you want to get a puppy from a reputable breeder or rescue a dog that needs a home.

Whether you decide to get a puppy or an older dog it's always a good idea and money well spent to have a professional help you evaluate a dog before you bring it home to make sure that it's a good fit for you and your family. You wouldn't buy a house or a used car without an inspection, and hiring a professional to help you pick the right dog will save you from many potentially heartbreaking issues down the road.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Brad Jaffe founded Team Canine in 1999. Reach him at (602) 954-8353 or

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