Have you really given thought into what having a puppy entails?
The time and effort the main caretaker needs to put in when you first get the puppy, are you going to get a new puppy or are you going to adopt a rescue? Both these decisions come with their own set of considerations.
Lets first consider, before we even start thinking about a particular breed, adoption or new, or even names, do you really have time for this dog? What are your working hours? A brand-new puppy needs to have someone with it all the time for at least the first two weeks of it being in a new home. Will you change your habits when getting a new puppy? Going out to dog friendly pubs instead of clubs in town, going for walks EVERY day, and do you even have the stomach for picking up your dog’s s*** from the sidewalk?
If you are a big happy family, will the kids be taking part in the raising of the puppy? Are they old enough and mature enough to raise a life? It is one of the most awesome things as a kid growing up with a dog to love and play with, to care for and cuddle with. I was lucky enough to get this chance as a kid and I love my dog so much! Was I there when she got old and died? No. I was overseas doing my own thing, I left my dog for my family to look after. She was a special part of my life and luckily for her my family loved her just as much as I did. The point I’m trying to make is that, even if you get a puppy for your kids to grow up with and care for. Someone always has to be there to look after the dog, even if your kids get old and leave. You will become the one. Can you and your family commit to that for a minimum of 10 years?
“If not, get a fish”
You’ve got this far, you are still keen. You think that a long-term commitment will suit you just fine. Great! I have a million more things for you to think about😊
To decide on a particular breed of dog that you want to get, you need to consider your lifestyle. Do you enjoy long outings in the countryside, walking, running, being active? Or, are you more of a casual stroll in the park and chilling on the couch sort of person. If you are the former, an active breed would be ok for you. If you are the later, getting a Labrador or cocker spaniel is probably not the best idea you have had.
To learn about different breed energy levels, check Dogtime.com
Now, you are decided. You want a puppy with high energy because you are a very active person and can handle it. You have the time to dedicate to your dog and your family are excited for a new and exciting house mate.
Have you thought about costs involved? A puppy needs vaccinations, food, toys, treats, training from a professional, grooming (some breeds need more than other), a dog walker if you need to be away from the house for more than four hours at a time, vet bills and insurance.
Thinking about them one at a time, they are all relatively small amounts of money, but as a group it adds up pretty damn quickly. You think your bar tab that one night was quite high… wait until the vet sends you his tab. In all seriousness though, it adds up to a large chunk of money. So think about, we don’t need more dogs in shelters.
The kind of Puppy you might want
There is big cute and cuddly dogs like huskies and malamutes, there are not so cuddly dogs like Irish wolfhound (This may be a controversial opinion). Here is a list of all the dog breeds in the world. There are obviously many more crossbreeds floating around, so if you are looking at crossbreeds learn about the different breeds that make up the crossbreed.
As I have said previously, consider size, energy level, temperament, coat type, genetic, ailments and whether the dog sheds its fur or not.
Let’s make an example of what I would look for in a dog: I have a fairly active lifestyle. I love being outdoors and looking for adventure, so I know I would like a medium to large kind of dog, one which is extremely loyal, can be trained relatively well and can be defensive if need be. I would obviously like a dog with few or no historical genetic issues. I also prefer short haired dogs, simply because they are easier to maintain and clean.
This is how my list of priorities would look:
So, scanning through a list of dog breeds I glance at all short haired medium sized dogs. I like the look of the German Shorthaired Pointer, Weimaraner, Boerboel, Doberman, Labrador, Rhodesian Ridgeback, all coonhound breeds and a vizsla. I have now narrowed down my choices to 10 different breeds. I definitely don’t want a dog that drools a lot so the Boerboel and coonhounds are out. Dobermans, as with many dogs bred for defence, can have issues with their back legs, so I’ll leave them out. If you want to learn more about dog breeds and their physical issues HERE is a link.
In the end it is down to the German Shorthair Pointer, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Labrador, and Rhodesian Ridgeback. Now I will consider the temperament of each breed and ask around and take experiences from my personal interactions with the different breeds and decide. As you can see it can be difficult choosing one breed over another. There will always be a number of breeds that meet your requirements and that is what can be difficult. It all comes down to individual dogs and how they have been raised.
You should always visit the breeder you are considering and view and interact with the parents of your potential puppy. This way you can get an idea of what your pup will be like and you can also scout out the conditions in which the dogs are kept. YOU DO NOT WANT TO SUPPORT PUPPY FARMS AND UNETHICAL BREEDERS. You can read more about that HERE. If you are adopting this can be more difficult to do. You are taking a risk here and I know of people who have, unfortunately, got it wrong and have adopted very difficult dogs with many issues, but I also know of many people who have adopted and gained fantastic dogs!
I hope this blog has given you much to thinking about and possibly made your mind clearer on how and what to look for when deciding to get a puppy. I have compiled a list of questions for you to go through as somewhat of a checklist. All it is, is a summary of what I have talked about in the article above.
If you want more assistance because you are still unsure of what breed would best suite your family, contact a dog trainer in your area. Dog trainers generally have a good idea of the different characteristics of the different breeds and they can guide you through the process. I am sure some would even come with you to view puppies and dogs and be a helping hand for you.
Things to think about:
• Your life, working hours, socialising, activities, and the energy level of the dog.
• Amount of activities you and your family do, do you have an active outdoor lifestyle? Or are you more a chilled coach potato?
• You need time to put effort into training your pup, can you take time off of work when you get your pup to make sure it settles in well and gets proper toilet and house training?
• Are you in a good financial position to take proper care of the dog? Think about and do some research on vet bills, food, toys, treats, lead, harness, vaccinations, training, dog walker, groomer, insurance.
• What size of dog are you looking for? Take into consideration that this has a major effect on the cost of upkeep.
• What kind of breed do you want? You need to consider things like temperament, energy levels, any historical physical ailments, playfulness and so on.
• Long hair or short hair?
• Have you considered what you are going to do with your pup when you want to go on holiday?
• Are you going adopt or get a new puppy? Have you thought about the possible mental issues a rescue dog may have?
• It’s a good idea to make a pros and cons list.
• Where do you live? Do you have a big house, back yard, apartment, a park close by, grumpy neighbours?
• Is the whole family ready to commit to raising and keeping a dog for a minimum of 10 years?
• Do your kids have allergies?
I wish you all the best in selecting a puppy to join your family, please be wise in your decision making and always consider all the things I have outlined above. The most important factor in this whole process is not to rush. And remember, if you need further help, just get in touch.