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The decision to add a puppy or adult dog to your home is one that requires thoughtful consideration and should involve everyone in the household. The following are some questions to help you decide, not only if you’re ready for a dog, but also if the breed you have chosen is the best one for you. Take some time to consider each question and answer it honestly. You may be surprised at what you learn. Write your answers down, so that you have them in front of you while considering your breed of choice.

First, you’re going to make three lists.


List all of the household members including age and their relationship in the family.


List any pets you currently own. Be sure to include age, sex and species/breed.


List previous pets you have owned including the breed and age.


This next section of questions will help determine your lifestyle.

How often do adults visit?

How often do children or teens visit?

Would you say that your current lifestyle is a) very hectic, b) moderately busy, or c) calm and quiet?

Does anyone in your family have special needs?

Is anyone in your home allergic to animals?

Are there any major changes in your future? (Marital status change, moving, starting a new job, new baby, etc.)


These questions concern care and maintenance of your dog.

Where do you live? (house, apartment, subdivision, urban area, farm)

What is the approximate size of your yard? Large, medium, small, or no yard. (As a point of reference let’s consider an acre or more as large.)

What type of fencing is around the yard?

Where will your dog spend most of his/her time?

How will the dog be managed in your back yard?

What will your dog’s indoor areas include?

Where will your dog sleep?

How long will your dog be alone during the day?

Where will your dog be kept when you are not at home?

How much time will you spend interacting with your dog daily? (This includes, training, playing, exercising, grooming, etc.)

List and prioritize three activities you would like to do with your dog?

How often will you walk your dog off your property?

Who will be in charge of feeding the dog?

Who will be in charge of cleaning up after the dog?

How often do you plan to train?

Are there classes available in your area?

If you are acquiring a puppy, will you take it to socialization classes?

Do you plan to crate train the puppy?

Who will be responsible for administering medical care (giving medicines, etc.)?

What will you do with your dog on the occasions when you travel?

How would you like to have your dog trained? (No help, group classes, private lessons, live-in training facility.)



It’s important to consider financial obligations.

How much are you willing to pay for your dog?

How much are you budgeting monthly for your dog’s food?

Do you plan on spaying/neutering your pet?

How much are you budgeting annually to spend on your dog’s medical care?

What source are you considering? (Breeder, shelter/humane society, rescue organization, pet store.)

How much are you willing to spend for boarding when you travel?



And finally, let’s consider dog characteristics.

Other than your own, with what other animals will your dog interact and how often?

What is the primary purpose for obtaining the dog? (Adult’s pet, family pet, child’s pet, breeding, show, hunting, tracking, protection, farm work, performance competitions, or outside pet.)

What breeds are you considering? Have you previously owned any of these breeds?

Has someone in your household previously owned a puppy less than 6 months of age? How long ago?

What age would you like the dog to be when you acquire it?

Are you interesting in training? (Yes, I look forward to training; or No, I would rather have a dog that requires little training.)


For the next group of questions, consider one of the following answers:

a. could live with the problem


would do whatever necessary to correct the problem
c. would probably get rid of the dog

How would you handle house training difficulties?

How would you manage a dog that had shyness toward people?

What if the dog is aloof with the family?

What if the dog is excitable?

What if the dog demands lots of attention?

What if the dog jumps on people?

What if the dog digs and is destructive in the yard?

What if the dog has a chewing/destruction problem?

What if the dog engages in excessive vocalization such as barking, howling, or whining?

How often do you plan to groom your dog at home? (Trimming, bathing, brushing, clipping nails, cleaning teeth, etc.) Would you have your dog groomed professionally? Have you investigated grooming costs in your area?

How important is it to you that your dog “guards your home”?

What size dog do you prefer?

How important is it that the dog sits in your lap, follows you around, etc?

How much does dog hair on your clothing or furniture bother you?

Once you have completed the questions and compiled your answers, compare the results to the information you have on the breed you are considering. You can obtain much of this information from the American Kennel Club and from the national parent clubs of the various breeds. Most have web sites with printable information. You may be surprised to learn that the breed that you had your heart set on owning, is not the best choice for you. You may discover that this is not the best time to add a pet to your household. Or, you may learn that the breed you’ve chosen is exactly the right one for you and your family. 

Page Updated 06/16/2009

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The Border Collie Society of America, Inc. was founded in April 1993.  This site is owned by the Border Collie Society of America, Inc. and was established 12.94.