Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Choosing a Puppy


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Cute Puppies - GSD The first question you must ask yourself is why you are choosing a puppy or dog to live in your home.

If the answer is because they are cute and cuddly then think again. All puppies grow into adult dogs and unfortunately in today's society, a high percentage of them end up in rescue shelters as their owners realise that they have made a mistake.

Puppies and dogs are like children in so much as you will only get out of them what you put in yourself. This means that to end up with an obedient and well-mannered dog that is socially acceptable and a joy to own means a lot of hard work on your part. This is not a decision that can be taken lightly and the following points should be taken into consideration:


Your financial circumstances:

Tiny puppies become big dogs with even bigger appetites. The food bill for one of the giant breeds can literally break the bank.

Then you may need insurance and veterinary services. You may need to pay for kennel fees whilst you are away with work or on a holiday.

On top of all this are the various and often expensive commodities which we buy for our dogs. Bowls, beds, toys, chews, training tools and so on. It needs to be discussed as to whether the household budget can cover these expenses.

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Your lifestyle:

Are you often away from home?

Is the puppy going to be left for long periods?

Obviously a set up - No Great Dane owners' bath robes would ever look like that! :-) Are you enjoying a perfectly designed, stylish home? If so then maybe you ought to consider the changes that will certainly be coming should you choose a puppy or dog to bring into your life.

Puppies are messy, of that there is no doubt. Muddy paw prints and furnitue covered in dog hair may not be your idea of style. Perhaps you enjoy socialising most evenings and go on holiday frequently? You will have to accept that owning a dog may rob you of that freedom, and whilst most dog owners find that there is much more to be gained than there is to be lost by owning a dog, not all people would agree, and you need to do a bit of soul searching to really consider if you will make a good owner, as well as whether the dog will make a good pet for you.



Family members:

It is important when choosing a puppy that you consider the needs of all family members. The first consideration must be the children.

Many breeds of dogs are not especially comfortable with young children. Research will be needed to select the right breed of dog that will integrate into the family easily and comfortably.

Do any family members suffer from asthma or have any allergies? All too frequently, dogs end up in rescue shelters because they “aggravated little Billie's asthma” or for other similar complaints. There are certain breeds of dogs that do not shed hair, which is the most common cause of allergies in dog households. Look through our Dog Breed Directory to find some of these.

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Your location:

Do you live in a city or in a rural location? Is your home an apartment or a house? There is no point choosing one of the large breeds which will grow to fill your living space if you can't bear the thought of things being knocked over and the dog being in front of you at every doorway and knocking you over as you run down the stairs!

Think of where you will exercise the dog. It may mean that you have to drive quite a distance in order to find a dog-friendly exercise area. Many parks do not allow dogs to have “off lead” exercise. All dogs, regardless of breed or size, need time out to romp around and let off steam. This is important for their physical and mental well-being, have you considered where you will go to do this?



Pedigree or Crossbreed:

The main advantage of choosing a pedigree puppy is that you will have a good idea what its physical appearance and its temperament will be like (within reason) when it becomes an adult dog.

The disadvantage is that quality dogs come at a price, and some of the pedigree dogs can be very expensive. A pedigree dog may have many inherited health problems so it is important to research into the breed first.

Rescue Puppy - Dogs in Shelters make excellent and rewarding pets On the other hand a crossbreed or mongrel dog is usually cheap, often is hardier from disease and medical problems in general, and can be found at many rescue shelters for any price from zero to fifty pounds.

Of course on top of that, a rescue dog will be relieved of its trauma in the shelter it is in currently, and that will give you a right to have increased pride in your becoming a dog owner.

In addition, generally a rescue dog (without any specific serious behaviour problems) is far easier to handle than a dog from a recent litter, simply because it is usually older and because it acknowledges the fact that you RESCUED it, this often brings a level of loyalty, devotion and love for you which is hard to find in many puppies despite their owners' best intentions.

Choosing a dog or a puppy is not a decision that can be taken lightly. First and foremost you must ask yourself if you are ready physically, emotionally and financially. You will be responsible for that cute ball of fluff for the next 12 years or more. The dog will be dependant on you for all its needs.

Do your homework and learn the responsibilities that go with owning a dog. Make an informed and sensible decision and above all, do not be led by emotion UNTIL you have made all these decisions firmly in your mind in a rational way. Don't just go to a kennel where there are dogs or puppies because you will almost certainly fall in love, and as important as love is, it is not a good foundation for a decision to take on the entire future of a living creature, especially a dog, which depends so heavily on the humans it lives with.

Once you have chosen to get a dog, then and only then should you go and see some, and no doubt you will fall head over heels for one lucky dog and hopefully you will have many very happy years together.

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