The consideration is why do we want a dog? For most of us the answer is simple, a loving friendship that will last for 15 years, hopefully more. Dogs can be the most rewarding pets you can let into your life, yet they can also be the most demanding.
Things to consider
- Does everyone in your home want a dog? If not, why not?
- Do you and your family have the time to exercise, play and care for the animal on a daily basis regardless of the time of year or weather conditions?
- Do you have the time to train and socialise the dog throughout it’s life? As the owner you are legally responsible for the dogs actions.
- Can you afford the vet’s bills including vaccinations, worming & flea treatments? Other costs may include kennel fees when leaving for a holiday.
Can you provide a safe and stable environment for the life of the dog?
When searching for a puppy or a rescue dog, it is easy to fall in love and insist that what you are about to embark on is the best thing possible for all concerned.
Hopefully it will be , yet if you cannot provide a safe and secure home for the dog for the remainder of its life then maybe it is not the right decision after all. Likewise, if the pet is a present to a teenager you need to ask yourself who is going to be the real provider over the next 15 years?
No one can predict the future and there are many owners who to circumstances that are not their fault suddenly have to give up their pets.
It is therefore vital that you successfully train and socialise your dog as this will mean he will be suitable to other families if anything should happen to you. If you fail in this duty then you are leaving the dog to an uncertain future without you.
Choosing the right breed for you
Research! Research! Research! It really is that simple. There are hundreds of breed profiles on the Internet or in books. It is essential that you access these texts.
Each breed demonstrates particular traits, needs and peculiarities. What may work for your neighbour may not necessarily work for you.
It is vital that you can match up a breed with your own circumstances. For example, it is unwise to take on a dog from a herding breed if you know that you are incapable of long, daily walks.
In the case of crossbreeds it is more difficult to judge what traits they may have. You therefore need to gather as much information as you can about him to establish which traits from which breed do you think he carries.
The great thing with crossbreeds is that many carry the best from both breeds and as a result make excellent companions.
The final decision
Before you take your new dog home ask yourself:
- Do I have enough information about the dog’s background history?
- Do I know the dog’s likes and dislikes?
- Have I had the opportunity to walk and play with the dog away from the kennels or owner?
- Do I have a full veterinary history?
- Has the dog had any illnesses or operations?
- Does the dog have vaccination certificates?
- Have you a written agreement that taking the dog is subject to a satisfactory veterinary inspection within 72 hours?
- If the dog displays veterinary or behavioural problems shortly after taking the dog what support can they guarantee?
If the dog becomes ill then veterinary treatment can be very expensive. The cost of pet insurance will need to be factored in.
There is a legal requirement for the dog to have a collar and a tag containing the owners name and address. In addition to this micro chipping is also advised as a means of identification.
If you are going abroad and leaving your dog in kennels they can be expensive. Bookings can be taken well in advanced yet they will want to see an up to date vaccination record.
Exercising your dog with a daily walk is a minimum requirement. You need to devote time to play and exercise if your dog is to live a happy, fulfilling life.
Training should continue throughout the dog’s life. It will enhance the bond between owner and pet while stimulating both parties.
Once you have successfully researched into a dog breed and you are happy with the time, money and energy that is required to take on a new family member, you will be able to enjoy the pleasure that a new dog can bring.
If you have any doubts then discuss the issues with the rescue centre or breeder. They will be straight with you on whether they feel your situation is suitable. Ultimately they want the dog to have a home for life, as constant disruption and upheaval can ignite unwanted behavioural issues.