Published on July 16th, 2017 | by Allie Coleman0
Picking a Puppy
Picking your own puppy is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Dogs can live up to 20 years, so choosing one is a big responsibility. Whether you have gone through a breeder or an animal shelter, you will find yourself facing a whole little of puppies looking back at you. How do you choose?
Puppies are really fun and can put almost everyone in a good mood. But, deciding to get a puppy is a big commitment. Just like human babies, they’re cute to play with, but they also mean so much hard work. Also, keep in mind that, having a dog in your home means that you will have to take care of it for about 15 years or so.
When getting a dog, don’t just pick one out based on its appearance; getting one just because it looks cute or badass isn’t the best method to choosing a dog. You don’t want to end up having to deal with a dog you can’t handle, or one that seems incompatible with your lifestyle, as that would mean that you– and most likely, your dog too– will end up miserable. Mind you, there are already a lot of homeless dogs — far more than the system can handle — so you don’t want to add to the problem by having to abandon yours at some point in its life.
If you have decided to let a puppy into your life, here are some factors you’ll need to consider to be able to pick out one that’ll be the perfect fit for you
Your Living Space
How big is your home? Do you have a big yard you can fence all around, or do you live in a cramped apartment? As you know, dog sizes vary greatly, and your cute puppy may grow to become a really big dog — which would make space a potential issue in the future. On the other hand, if you live in a home with a large outdoor space but do not have fencing, your tiny dog might get out and get lost.
The People in Your Home
Do you have children at home?
Dogs, similar to people, have different temperaments and personalities. Some are more fit to be around children than others. You don’t want a snappy, aggressive dog around the little ones — at the same time, you don’t want a dog that’s too fragile to be around kids.
Do you have frail or elderly people living with you?
High-energy or overly playful dogs might be an obstruction for members of the household who have trouble moving around. You don’t want your high-energy dog to accidentally trip granny and break her hip so, maybe, consider a dog with a calmer disposition.
How does everyone feel about having a dog live with you?
If not everyone in the home agrees or feel positive about keeping one as a member of your family, there could be lots of unwanted friction. Make sure everyone who lives with you is onboard the idea, and is willing to help with the dog. It is also fair that you ask them beforehand as this dog will also affect them and their lives in some way. Make sure no one in the house has allergy issues, for example.
Other People in Your Life
If you’re living by yourself, in case you need to be away, do you have friends or relatives nearby you can count on to willingly help watch your dog? Which leads us to another thing you need to consider…
How much time can you actually spend with the dog; Are you often out of the house at work?
There are lots of dogs that are independent, however, there are also those that can be extra clingy and have separation anxiety issues.
Do you have other dogs in your home? Introducing another dog into an a pack could be very tricky, and so you have to consider your dog’s socialization skills, his temperament, and energy level as well, when choosing a companion for him/her. You might also want to consider the gender of your dog here. It is often harder for two male dogs to get along in the same house, as compared to a male and female or 2 females.
What type of leisure activities do you do, and how much of it can be done with a dog?
Different dogs require different levels and types of activity, depending on breed, personality, age, and health. Some dogs originally bred for agility work need lots of outdoor exercise, so if you’re more of a couch potato, you might want to refrain from getting those types.
Make a top 5 list of activities you or you and your family usually enjoy doing together and see if all those are doable or appropriate activities with a dog in tow. In this note,carefully think of the exact reason as to why you want to get a dog…
Do you want a working dog, a hunting companion, or one to guard your property?
And after settling on the perfect dog to match your personality and lifestyle, the biggest thing you need to ask yourself is…
Can you afford that dog?
When I say “be able to afford a dog”, I’m not just talking about the price you will need to pay the breeder or the shelter where you get the dog from. Having a living animal is different from owning some inanimate object. On the average, it costs about $1300 annually to own a dog, depending on breed, specifically size. The bigger the dog, the bigger its appetite, need for space, and basic supplies — thus they’re more expensive to keep. This would include both one-time expenses as well as perishables. You will most likely be spending on the following items:
- Initial check-up
- Collars/ microchip
- Food bowls and other supplies/grooming supplies
- Pet health insurance
- Veterinary bills
- Miscellaneous items, such as toys and treats
So, check your finances carefully.
Before you get a certain dog, make sure that you have done research on how much it would cost to keep it, so that you can include it in your regular budget and not end up being overwhelmed with expenses.
Now, that you have carefully evaluated the things you needed to consider, it is now safe to choose among the Breeds that you feel especially drawn to.
Finally, when you are 100% determined, the second step is looking for the best place to get a dog from.
Where To Get A Dog
There are only 2 possible options, either you buy from a reputable breeder or you adopt from a shelter or a rescue center.
Getting from A Breeder.
A good breeder usually specializes in only one or two breeds of dogs as it takes a lot of time and effort to study, master, and devote one’s resources and expertise to the betterment of a certain breed. A good breeder is able to answer everything about your dog’s pedigree (ancestral lineage), it’s temperament and specific behaviors. Get referrals from professional workers such as your veterinarian, the local breed clubs, and the AKC. Also if you can get in touch with other people who have taken in dogs from the same breeder, that would be very beneficial. No decent puppy breeder will ever release a puppy for rehoming below eight weeks old, which is when all the initial shots are completed and as it is also the minimum ample time required for a dog to be fully trained by the dam and be well socialized within its litter.
Make sure that you check out several puppies before picking the one for you. Do not fall for the first pup that runs toward you. You should be the one choosing the puppy, not the other way around. Pay good attention to each pup’s behavior. A timid pup is usually easier to train than a bouncy, yappy, energetic one.
Adopting From A Shelter.
Shelter dogs don’t have pedigrees you can use as guide to check for usual temperament and character, so you will need to pay even greater attention to their behavior. It is advisable you find a shelter that is near your area so that if you can’t make up your mind in one visit, you can easily pay the shelter a visit and try to build rapport with the dog/s you are considering. Nowadays, there are some shelters who have “matchmakers” to help select a dog to his prospective human. But if there aren’t any in the shelter you visit, it’s okay. What you need to do is simply pay close attention to the dog’s body language and energy, whether it shows dominance or submissiveness, if it has aggressive behavior or is anxious and shy. Try to walk 2 or 3 on a leash and see who fits best with your personality. Interview the shelter staff and get as much information about the dog’s personality ,adoption history, health issues, basically as much information you can to get a clearer picture of what this dog is like.
Places You Need To Avoid
If you happen to visit a breeder with several breeds and cross breeds, and see that the dogs are in a rather deplorable condition, chances are you are transacting with a backyard breeder or a puppy miller. The moment you have been made aware, politely make an excuse and exit the premises. Never buy a puppy over the internet or from pet stores at the mall. Cute as they may seem,peeking out the display windows, chances are, they are sourced from the same puppy mills in awful conditions. As much as you are tempted to “save” that pup, remember that doing so, you would be rewarding a horrendous practice. Dogs should never be bred and mass produced like some commodity. A breeder must only breed for the betterment of the breed.
Owning a dog is tough, but it can be very rewarding as well. Get the most positive experience by remembering to research thoroughly. A dog’s love and loyalty to its human is unmatched and is like no other.