It’s an exciting time when you decide you want a dog. There are many things to take into consideration before making your final choice.
In figuring out the right fit for you and your new pooch, the first decision is whether you would like to get a puppy or adopt an adult dog.
A puppy is a wonderful, playful bundle of fun. No-one can deny their appeal but they come with great responsibility and a need for a fair amount of work on your side. Puppies need to be house- trained, socialised and taught basic obedience. So much commitment is needed when deciding on a puppy. One of the advantages though of choosing a puppy is that they can be introduced and socialised with your current pets and this should eliminate any potential threats to your other animals.
Choosing to adopt an adult dog does include the threat that the pooch will not get along with your other pets and may even be aggressive towards them. Some dogs do not tolerate cats for example and would be very disruptive and dangerous to adopt if you already have cats. However, this been said, the adult dog that is adopted is usually house trained and has basic obedience and social skills. Many times, if the correct dog is chosen, the adult fits in quite smoothly and effortlessly into the household and amongst the other pets. It is also very rewarding to adopt an unwanted dog and to give them a “forever home”. Many people who have rescued dogs will tell you that their rescues have been the best decision that they have made and have filled their lives with much joy and love.
So, whether you decide on a puppy or an adult dog you should also take the time to consider the following;
What size house you have and what size animal will be appropriate. Large, energetic dogs usually need big gardens so they have room to play and run. Small and medium size pooches might be more appropriate for smaller gardens or complex living.
The breed type is also important. Research on the different breeds will give you information on the general temperament of each breed. Some large dogs may actually have gentler natures than small dogs and would be better for a young family.
It’s important to find out what their exercise needs are. High energy dogs must be exercised and stimulated regularly or they can become very destructive. Be honest with yourself, are you an active person that would go jogging with their dog or are you a couch potato? E.g. a Border Collie that needs plenty of exercise may be great as a companion for the active person but will be very frustrated with the couch potato. The fact is that all dogs need to be exercised daily. It is just the level of exercise that differs between breeds.
Also, consider how much time you have to dedicate to the needs of your dog each day. Certain breeds with long flowing coats need daily brushing as well as regular professional grooming. There are breeds with low maintenance coats which only require a brush one a week. Poodles are an example of a breed that are generally good for allergy sufferers. Your furniture won’t be covered in fur if you own a poodle. Although they do shed, the hair and dander is trapped in the curls of the coat. The down side being the curls can hold onto dust, lint and mud.
Certain breeds are easier to train than others and it would, therefore, be advisable for an inexperienced owner to choose a breed that is easily trained. A strong willed dog with a mind of its own will be a huge challenge.
If you decide on a puppy, the next decision is whether you will get a puppy from a breeder or adopt an unwanted pup. If you decide on a pedigree puppy, please make sure that you use a reputable breeder. Sadly, many puppies come from puppy mills where animals are neglected. Many rescue organisations can tell nightmarish stories of how these dogs and puppies are mistreated. Pedigree pups from good breeders are expensive, but these pups are worth it as they have not been in-bred and have been taken care of properly. Any good breeder will welcome you to come to their kennel to see their pride and joy, their dogs and puppies, as well as their living conditions. If a breeder offers to bring the puppy to you or meet you elsewhere, run a mile, as they don’t want you to see the condition of their kennels and animals for obvious reasons. If you cannot afford a puppy from a good breeder then consider rescuing one from a rescue organisation such as “Yorkie Rescue” or “Husky Rescue”, which are dedicated to helping a specific breed. Many amazing dogs are surrendered to these organisations through no fault of their own. In fact, many animals are surrendered as their owners did not do the necessary research on the breed and could not handle their temperaments and fulfil the needs of the dog.
The advantage of adopting a puppy from a rescue organisation, other than giving it a much needed “forever home”, is that animal welfare shelters will have your puppy sterilised, vaccinated and microchipped at a much reduced rate than if you were to do it privately. There are many wonderful veterinarians who assist these shelters in doing their amazing work.
Also, consider the costs of owning a dog. Taking care of a dog and meeting all its needs, such as quality food, grooming and kennelling during holiday times are costs that need to be investigated before making the commitment. Veterinary costs are expensive; it may be advisable to look into pet health insurance to assist you with these costs.
Once you have pondered all the options and made a decision on which puppy or dog you wish to bring into your life, you are ready for this incredibly joyful experience.