Puppies are such cute furry bundles of joy it is little wonder that most of us find them irresistible. The thing to remember though is that that cute furry bundle comes with a whole bag of responsibility and moreover some day that little furry bundle of fun will transform into a big furry bundle. The point to note here is that it isn’t enough to see a puppy and exclaim “ahhhh” and feel that covers all your future obligations and requisite requirements to becoming a dog owner. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Before you go puppy scouting you first need to do some research on the type of dog breed that best compliments your personality. Another point to consider is that if you are getting the puppy for a child most of the responsibility of taking care of that puppy is going to fall on your shoulders, your child’s promises and good intentions to the contrary.
Choosing Your Puppy
Choosing the right puppy for you and for your home requires a certain degree of insight to yourself. If you intend to have a long and happy relationship with your dog then you need to get a dog breed that will fit into your lifestyle and match your character. Thus you need to ask yourself a number of questions and be prepared to answer them with nothing less than stark naked honesty. Such questions include:
• Are you an energetic active person
• Are you a couch potato
• Is the dog going to primarily be a companion or pet
• Do you live in an apartment
• Do you have a backyard
• Is the dog going to be a playmate for kids
• Is the dog primarily for protection
• Do you intend to exhibit your dog at dog shows
• How does having a dog fit into your work schedule
• How much time are you prepared to spend on grooming
• Do you want a super affectionate dog
The above list is by no means all encompassing but certainly tackles some of the questions you should ask yourself before you eventually get your puppy. Think of these questions as primers to your quest for the perfect puppy dog!
Get A Dog Breed That Compliments You And Your Needs
The great thing about getting a dog is that there are well over 200 different breeds to choose from; and it gets better. Over a span of many hundreds of years (in some instances thousands) man has bred every and any type of dog to cater to practically any need he so desired. That means that somewhere out there is the perfect dog breed for you. Hence if you are little inclined to indulging in long arduous walks or are loathe to bouts of daily exercise, it makes no sense at all to get a dog that belongs to the sporting group of dogs, because such dogs invariably need a lot of exercise.
In other words if your nature leans towards couch-potato hedonism then get a puppy that compliments your couch-potato lifestyle. Fortunately there is no shortage of dog breeds that possess such qualities. In a somewhat similar vein if your intended dog is for protection, guarding or some other form of service, it makes sense for you to choose a dog from the working dog breed group.
Probably the single most common mistake that would-be dog owners tend to make is to base the appearance of a dog as the ultimate criterion for their selection. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with initially basing your choice of dog on the breed’s appearance but remember that looks tell you little if anything about any dog breed’s inherent character and nature.
Take the Poodle for example; most people think that the Poodle is nothing but a show dog. However what they don’t know is that the Standard Poodle (this is the big variant which attains a weight of 65lbs plus and grows to a height of 21 inches and more) actually makes a very capable watchdog with a pretty convincing bite to remind you and anyone else inclined to forget that it is more than just a pretty face in a doggy world!
Where To Get Puppies From
There are a variety of places that you could get your puppy from, some highly recommended while others you should avoid at all costs for a number of reasons that will be explained shortly.
1. Puppies From Reputable Breeders
These are people who raise dogs because they actually love dogs and are not in it for the money. Such a dog breeder:
• Raises their puppies in close proximity to people and in a warm, safe comfortable and protected environment. The reason why it is essential that puppies be raised in close contact with people is so that they get accustomed and socialized to humans from an early onset which makes for a better pet.
• Never breeds more than a couple of litters each year and restricts any one female dog to a single litter per year.
• Screens their puppies and dogs for genetic or hereditary disease and other ailments and will supply you (the end-owner) with the relevant registration papers and certificates proving so
• Would as a matter of course inquire about your lifestyle, where you live and what kind of experience if any that you have with dogs. They’ll ask you such questions not because they are nosey but rather to ensure that you are truly compatible and well matched with the dog that you are about to introduce as the newest member of your family. Remember, as stated before, reputable breeders are concerned about the welfare and well being of their dogs and want to ensure that their puppies don’t end up being abandoned by a negligent owner.
Getting your purebred puppy from a reputable breeder will initially cost you more money upfront but will pay off in the backend because in effect what you are paying for is a guarantee of a puppy that:
• Is well socialized
• Has been screened for health defects and possible genetic disease
• As an adult dog will exhibit the positive attributes and characteristics typical of the breed and not the unwanted traits that appear in poorly developed purebreds as a result of over breeding along the same generational lines
2. Dog Rescue Shelters
Every year millions of dogs are euthanized in the United States alone, many of them being abandoned pets that cannot be housed in foster homes in a timely fashion before funds for their upkeep run out. A lot of those dogs in rescue shelters are purebred dogs that have been abandoned for some reason or other by their previous owners.
Good Reasons To Get A Dog From A Shelter
There are actually a number of advantages in getting your dog from a rescue shelter and such reasons include:
• You will pay much less for your new pet even if it is a purebred dog (typically you’d just pay the adoption fee which helps to keep the shelter open and is about $50. Getting your purebred dog from a reputable breeder would set you back anywhere from $500-$1500.
• Most dog shelters have some degree of veterinary facility on their premises ensuring that dogs are neutered/spayed (commonly but not always) as well as treated for any ailments/diseases and screened for problems. All this is done at no extra cost to you, having been incorporated in the miniscule adoption fee.
• The average dog from a shelter has undergone some level of housetraining which is a huge weight off the shoulders for any new prospective dog owner.
Where Not To Get Puppies From
There are two places you should avoid getting your puppy from at all costs and those places are:
A. Puppy Mills: as the name suggest such places are devoted to churning out puppies in volume without due consideration to their welfare and well being. Puppies from puppy mills are raised in horrendous conditions, rarely if ever in contact with people and are removed from their mothers prematurely at the tender age of 5 weeks (which is much too soon).
A consequence of such horribly conditions and a deprived puppyhood is that these dogs make for very poor pets. Moreover such puppies are far more likely to suffer from undiagnosed genetic disease as well as other ailments because it is a good bet that the puppy mills are certainly not bothered with such trivialities as the good health of their wards!
B. Pet Stores: Next time you see that cute but sad-eyed puppy in a pet store brace yourself and walk on by. Why? Because pet stores are actually the sole reason that puppy mills still exist. Pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills or from for-profit backyard breeders, two types of establishment that aren’t concerned with: the pedigree purity, genetic disease, or emotionally and mental well being of the dog.
Puppies from pet stores typically get there at about five weeks of age and are finally placed with an owner around 12 weeks of age. Conditions in the pet store may be better than those of the puppy mill but only marginally so. Much of the time the puppy is in isolation and has little if any human contact, which means that if you do break down and get that sad-eyed puppy in the window you are getting a dog that has next to no socialization skills and is almost invariably emotionally and mentally scarred! Besides by getting your puppy from a pet store you are in effect perpetuating this horrible cycle of canine misery.
Article on puppies written by Kayye Nynne