Some dog owners claim that males are typically more aggressive and destructive, particularly in small spaces. Female dogs are said to be easier to train and more affectionate.

Depending on the dog breed, these stereotypes may be true or not.

Male dogs insist on marking their territory, whether it’s around your house or in the yard. They do this by urinating on their “spot” so they can find it again. You can try to train a dog not to mark his territory, but you’re asking him to go against his instincts.

If you have another male dog in the house, expect a battle for who rules the house, particularly if both want to be alpha dogs. Even a smaller male dog will challenge or irritate the larger male – just to prove who was in the house first.

Dogs of opposite genders tend to get along better than dogs of the same gender. While female dogs are not as vicious toward each other as male dogs, some females don’t want to share their space with another dog.

Female dogs are generally easier to house train than male dogs, although that can vary by breed and by the skill of the dog trainer. Male dogs are seen as more lively and active, but certain breeds are “high strung” in both males and females.

Ask the average person looking for a dog and you’ll find many are looking for a female dog. They probably believe the notion that female dogs are easier to train, but gender isn’t the only predictor (or even a good predictor) of how a dog will behave.

Breeds that are known to be calm and tolerant tend to be that way whether male or female. Other breeds that are feisty, nippy and difficult to handle are that way for males and females.

Since there’s no scientific evidence that predicts the characteristics of males compare with females, then the decision about dog gender is essentially subjective. Chances are your memories of a childhood pet or a friend’s pet that you wish you had is what’s influencing your choice now.

Maybe you recall the gentle female Collie who lovingly cared for litter after litter of puppies as the ideal dog. Or you think about the rough and tumble large male dog that could run hard, play tirelessly and keep up with the most inquisitive children. If that’s what leads you to decide whether a male or female is the best dog to have, then go with your feelings. For you, that will be the right choice.

One of life’s great mistakes is taking your children to look at dogs and cats if you aren’t serious about bringing home a pet. You can be sure that in a matter of minutes, your children will connect with the cutest little puppy or kitten.

You say no, then they hand the puppy to you and you’re face to face with pleading brown puppy eyes and crying children. So between the children’s begging and memories of the family dog from your youth, you’re paying for a shopping cart full of dog stuff – plus the puppy or kitten.

There’s no greater buyer’s remorse than that felt after buying a pet on impulse. As the days go by, you discover that the pet’s personality doesn’t mix well with your family. For example, you begin to resent taking the dog for walks or rushing home between appointments for feedings.

Those little pet accidents and chewed or clawed furniture become more and more irritating. That’s the point where some insensitive pet owners punish the dog or cat to the point of abuse or neglect.

Sadly, many of the animals in shelters are there because they were the impulse buy of a family or an adult who failed to consider what pet ownership involves. The owner chooses based on adorable puppy features without learning about the dog’s full-grown size or its breed characteristics.

In a matter of months, the conflict begins. Many pet in shelters are actually good dogs and cats with great potential as pets if they go home with the right family. The animal’s only “crime” was being chosen by people who were not prepared to include them into their family.

With regards to dogs, some breeds of dogs are more demanding than others. They need several hours of daily interaction or fun. If you don’t provide it, they find it on their own – and it usually involves chewing or barking.

Other dog breeds need daily room to run and play. These dogs may be great companions for children. Even dogs that play well with older children may not have the patience for young children or toddlers. You simply need to know what breed of dog is the best match for your home, family and available time.

Slow down as you visit animal shelters and spend time visiting the dogs and cats. Yes, it’s hard to leave a cute pet behind, but you want to make certain that when your dog or cat comes home, this really becomes home for the pet, and not just another place to pass through. You may want to leave the children home when you go back to visit the shelter and get more information about the pet’s history, behaviors and needs.