Reader Question: I have been thinking about getting a dog. I need to get my personal situation fixed first, meanwhile I am wondering what breed of dog would like me. I seem pulled to one breed, then another. ~Deidre
Kim's Response: Dear Deidre, trying concentrating on what kind of dog you might like. One that likes to sleep on the bed with you, or not. One that likes to go for long walks every day, or not. And so on. When you are looking for a dog, a dog will come looking for you. If the universe knows what you are looking for it will match you with an animal that is looking for a person like you.
I get a lot of questions from people looking to get a dog. They want any or all of these characteristics: small or medium, good with children, good with cats, doesn't need much exercise, doesn’t need much care, lots of personality, doesn't shed, easy to train, no digging, no barking.
A good source of information is About.com's Dog Essentials. You will be sent information about getting a dog and how to care for it. There is also information on a number of health and behavioral issues.
Consider reading Choosing the 'Right' Type of Dog for You.
Also, try these various dog breed selectors/questionaires:
There is only one breed of dog that does not bark, that is the Basenji. However, they can make other sounds. You can train a dog to bark less, but you can't train them never to bark.
As for training, no dog is going to come trained (unless they've already gone through obedience training), so you are going to have to put effort into training. There are dog trainers and training schools out there, and some pet stores have dog training classes. Ultimately you will be responsible for making sure the dog and you both understand the commands and signals and you also have to use them appropriately when at home so that the dog doesn't forget what was learned.
If this all sounds like too much work, then maybe a dog isn't the animal for you. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, dogs can be wonderful companions. Dogs are always happy to see you when you come home!