Choosing A Puppy
There are many things to consider when choosing a puppy, including breed and at what age the pup is when you buy it. Obviously, you want to choose a dog that is best suited to you and your lifestyle but how many of us actually consider all the ramifications of puppy/dog ownership? For instance, a puppy isn’t a puppy for very long and is going to be around for the next 14 years or so with all the associated financial costs i.e. insurance, food, vets bill’s, toys, kennelling when you go on holiday etc, etc not to mention the considerable cost on your time.
As puppy and owner educational specialists, we are at hand to advise you on your puppy choice, what the puppy needs from day one and what to expect. We are also on hand to help you through those first few weeks. Some things to consider:
The “Perfect” Breed
Do not for one moment think that all you have to do is select the “perfect” breed and the “perfect” individual puppy and he will automatically grow up into the “perfect” adult dog. Any puppy can become a fantastic companion if socialized and trained properly. Likewise, no matter what his breed or breeding, any puppy can become a doggy delinquent if not properly socialized and trained. You need to make an intelligent, researched choice when selecting your puppy but remember: appropriate socialisation and training is the single biggest factor determining how closely the dog will approach your view of perfection in adulthood.
Seek advice from the best and most appropriate sources. Common mistakes are to take breed advice from vets, health advice from breeders, and all-important behaviour and training advice from vets, breeders, and pet-shop personnel. The best plan is to seek training and behaviour advice from trainers and behaviour professionals, health advice from vets, breed advice from breeders and product advice from pet-store personnel. But if you really want to know what’s going on, check out a local puppy class and chat with the owners; they’ll give you the cold, hard facts regarding what it’s really like to live with a puppy.
Common Sense Principle
Seek advice from several sources and evaluate all advice carefully. Apply the common sense principle: does it make sense to you? Is the advice relevant to your family and your lifestyle? Whereas most advice is sound, some can be irrelevant, hypocritical, preachy or questionable and occasionally, “advice” can be just downright bad.
For example, many people are advised not to get a large dog if they live in a small house or flat. On the contrary. As long as the dog receives regular daily walks, large dogs often make better small house or flat companions. Compared with smaller dogs, large dogs tend to settle down quicker and bark less. Many little dogs exasperate owners and neighbours by being active and noisy, running amuck and treating your furniture like an agility course. Don’t get me wrong, smaller dogs can make wonderful small house/flat companions just so long as they are trained to settle down and be ‘quiet’.
Also, many vets advise that Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are the best dogs with children. All breeds of dog however can make good companions for children provided that they have been trained how to act around children and provided that the children have been taught how to act around dogs. Otherwise, all dogs, including Golden’s and Labs are likely to be frightened and irritated by children or excited and incited by their antics.
Please, please, please stay away from puppy farms, backyard breeders and pet shops. These puppy’s are bred in the most miserable conditions and far too often, have behavioural and health issue’s that will ultimately cost you money and heartache. . Backyard and kennel-raised puppies are certainly not pet-quality dogs; they are viewed by the breeder as livestock on a par with veal calves and battery hens. Look for litters born and raised indoors in a kitchen or living room and who have been handled regularly by both children and adults.
Remember, you are selecting a puppy to live with you for a good long time. Choosing a puppy to share your life is a very personal choice, your choice. You will save yourself a lot of unnecessary problems and heartbreak if your choice is an informed and educated one.
In reality though, people seldom pay heed to well-meaning advice and usually end up choosing with their hearts instead of their heads. Indeed, many people end up choosing a dog along the same lines as they might choose a car based on colour, looks and street cred or what’s currently in vogue. Regardless though of the many reasons for selecting a particular puppy whether it is a pedigree, cuteness or general health, how your puppy turns out depends almost entirely on the pup’s education regarding appropriate behaviour and training.
Just one more thing, all dogs in rescue were once someone’s puppy.