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Class helps pick right pet

Look online, in shelters, or at kennels and you’ll find an endless variety of pooches that pluck at the heartstrings. Big eyes, soft whimpers and bodies wiggling with the pleasure of your company are almost too appealing to resist.

But picking the perfect pet involves more than just an emotional tug, which is why the Nanaimo Kennel Club and trainer Sarah Lane are offering a free class on how to choose the right dog.

“Our goal is to help people make informed choices,” said Lane. “Is it a puppy or mature dog they need, a rescue or purebred, high energy or low?”

For Lane, helping people find the canine match-made-in-heaven means dog owners can avoid creating pets with behavior issues, anxiety and even aggression.  It also means fewer dogs ending up in shelters or the pound.

“We see dogs come here fairly frequently that aren’t a match energy-wise with their owners,” said Sue Hughes, manager of the city pound.

She said people may like the look or idea of a certain breed but don’t understand the personality and traits and therefore training requirements. A husky, for example, is a good-looking dog, but unless you’re willing to run it three or more hours a day, it isn’t the right one for you.

“An unhappy dog means an unhappy owner,” said Lane, so her presentation focuses on helping people understand the potential issues that come with different breeds, ages and level of socialization.

She added as an example, that a family where both parents work all day may not be the best home for a puppy and those seeking a rescue dog should know what kind of training and therapy may be needed.

“The first step in looking for the right dog involves assessing yourself,” she said.

That means considering your lifestyle, energy level, available time for training and exercise and where you’ll be during the dog’s lifespan.

“A dog can live up to 15 years,” said Lane. “So we’re offering information on choosing and caring for a dog throughout their life.”

Commitment to a canine companion is a long-term one and worth considering because the dog that doesn’t fit today may become tomorrow’s rescue. The class, called Choices, Choices: Choosing the Right Dog, is being held Thursday (Nov. 15) at Beban Park Social Center from 6:30-7:30 pm. There is no charge and everyone is welcome.

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