What puppy should I get?
Every puppy needs a home, not every home needs a puppy.
Seems a bit odd to say doesn’t it? It is an unfortunate fact that dogs have become victims of fashion, this fashion causes many dogs to be surrendered at some point in their lives. This is a very negative experience and can be avoided by asking a few questions before buying a new puppy.
Many people want to have a puppy at home. Personally and professionally I think this is a great thing! Puppies bring an enormous amount of joy into our homes, they also force us to learn about ourselves. They constantly push us into situations which we can either reward or correct. How we react to these situations tells us a lot about who we are and where we come from.
Most puppy owners want the best for their dog, since your reading this…I will assume you fall into this category. Many puppy owners want to be the best for their puppy, again your reading this, so you must be one of them. The average puppy owner takes their dog home and that’s it, since you’re reading this, you do not fall into that category! You are not an average puppy owner, you want to be prepared and tooled up ready to give your new puppy the best possible start you can give them.
This article will help you determine what type of puppy to bring home and where to get the puppy from.
First things first, why do you want a puppy? You have to be honest with yourself here, brutally honest! Why do you want to bring a puppy home? There is a huge demand for puppies and a lesser demand for dogs. The puppy supply industry is fraught with horrible stories of unregulated breeders that farm dogs for their pups in appalling conditions. The demand for puppies is what keeps the questionable breeders and farmers running profitable businesses, the dog shelters and rescue centres however show us the lesser demand for dogs that have outgrown their puppy cuteness.
My perspective on dog ownership is very simplistic: Every dog should have a job.
That job can be an early warning system, perhaps you live in an area with a high crime rate and you want to be alerted to potential dangers. Perhaps you want a visual deterrent to keep your house and contents safe when you are out. You might want to have a companion to watch TV with or go on road trips with. Perhaps you want a dog in the house to teach the children about responsibility. You may have read about the health effects that dogs have on their family and you feel that you could use some of those benefits. Maybe you are interested in dog sports such as Agility, Cani-Cross, Dock Diving, Nose work or Schutzhund and you really want to do that. Any purpose the dog has, will give the dog confidence and happiness. Very much the same as us. We all say how we would love to sit at home and do nothing, well that’s nice for a change but not for a way of life, we would get bored and frustrated. Dogs are no different.
Once you have figured out why you want a puppy you have to ask if you can maintain those particular reasons for say the next 7-8years. Dogs will be able to work well for a number of years and it’s our job as the family provider to ensure a safe and stable quality of life for our family, which includes the dog. Once the dog hits a certain age, the general wear and tear as well as capability will start to decrease the performance and perhaps motivation. This is normal and we humans see it also. Athletes peak at certain ages and then start to lose performance too. It is up to us to maintain that purpose for as long as possible, in the dog’s interest.
If you can give your dog a purpose and you believe you can do this for a lengthy period of time, then you can move on to the next stage. If, however, you find you’re currently not ready, then congratulations, as soon as you find that you can provide a lifestyle for your dog, you will be able to provide an awesome home!
Now that we have decided on the purpose of the dog, we can start to look at where we can get the dog from. Quite possibly you don’t want to have a puppy, what with all the toilet training, biting and stuff. That’s completely normal. There are plenty of dogs that are being sold in classifieds as well as from shelters.
A word of warning though, if you enter a house to buy an adult dog, you want to be looking for signs as to why the dog is being sold. Does the dog show any interest in you or does it ignore you completely. Can the current owner run the dog through a series of commands? How much contact has this dog had with its current family? Maybe the current owners have a valid reason for selling the dog.
There are also breeders that spend years on their bloodline. Some of these breeders might be in far flung places, but a phone call will soon tell you if they are legitimate breeders or accidental. Some breeders need to be avoided, but many are great sources of information and they will interview you! Asking questions about your house and family, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re buying a gun! These are the breeders and professionals that care about their pups and their bloodline and their kennels reputation. These sorts of people tend to breed good dogs.
Also, if your buying form a shelter, be aware that when the dog leaves the shelter it will most likely be very different. Shelters tend to be high stress areas, some dogs will exhibit aggressive tendencies – out of fear and some will cower in the furthest corner of the pen. The workers at the shelter should be able to give you a run down about the dog, its known history as well as temperament and idiosyncrasies. Good shelters will also ask about you and the environment that you will be taking the dog to, since a good shelter does not want repeat customers, it is worth the time to speak to the people there.
A word of warning about viewing puppies: If you can’t view either parent dog, ask why not? If they are not available, ask for contact details for a viewing or even a phone call. If you can’t view the parent dog of a prospective puppy for a valid reason, I would seriously be thinking about the ethics that breeders or seller is subject to.
Once you have found a place or person to buy the puppy from the next question is when they can be picked up. You will generally have plenty of time to prepare, if the seller is pushy then this should ring alarm bells. If you can make a few visits to get to know the pup and the seller a little better. This is a situation where everyone can benefit. This stage of the process outline how much time you have until your new pet get to come home.
Once you know how much, or little, time you have, you will want to go out and buy all the bells and whistles to make the puppy happy. Here is a list of things that you will definitely want to have:
Water bowl – easily reached by the puppy without fear of drowning
Food Bowl – easily reached and not too easy to fling about
Flat collar – sized correctly, ask the supplier of the dog what would be best suited
Flat lead – sized correctly, ask the supplier of the dog what would be best suited
Bed – a trampoline bed is great, as it reduces odour and keeps the pup comfortable
Kitchen towels – for those mistakes
Doggy Bags – for when the puppy does number twos
Trowel/Shovel – for when the yard needs to be cleaned, an old shovel is great if you have a larger dog or they eat a lot
Puppy chew toys – you will plenty of those, ones that can be placed in the fridge are great as are ones that can be filled with food.
You will also need to decide on where the puppy is to stay when alone. My suggestion is to reduce the amount of area the puppy has to begin with and gradually increase the area that they have to roam.
Learn the rules of your council:
Find a good puppy class, a class that has an outdoor and indoor area would be ideal. Outdoor areas need to be secure and indoor areas need to be puppy proof. Look for reputable Puppy teachers. Smaller class sizes are great, if the classes are larger, then more staffing is required as the puppies should sectioned of into varying size and activity groups.
Find a good vet! The vet should be like your GP, do you trust them with the life of your puppy?
As far as the purpose of the puppy or dog, make sure that you grab yourself someone like me who will guide you through the lifetime of your dog and help you along the way. Be wary of YouTube channels and Facebook groups, anyone can make these look appealing and most of these are full of less than ideal content that has led many a dog owner astray. When you can, join a group of like-minded people and enjoy time with your dog!