When thinking about getting a puppy, it’s important to do your research and consider choices carefully. When you aren’t sure what or where to ask to ensure the best puppy for you and your family it can be very difficult. The purpose of this blog is to help you decide if getting a puppy is the right choice. If yes, some questions to think about when deciding on the breed and when making enquiries to different dog breeders.
Puppy Education – the reality of living with a puppy
Bringing a puppy in to the family is a major decision. This bundle of joy is going to be highly dependent on you to care for, train and entertain them. Being on their own and amusing themselves is a learned skill, you’ll need to take the time to teach these behaviours. Having a puppy in the house is a 24/7 job, it brings with it a lot of joy but it is a great deal of work.
When your puppy comes into your home, you will need to do toilet training and shown them where to go. Digging, barking, humping, chewing and mouthing are all natural behaviours for dogs. Your puppy will explore, get up to mischief and engage in puppy behaviour, it will not go away overnight.
Over the first 2 years of you puppy’s life they’ll through many developmental stages and changes. There will be times this is challenging for your puppy and they’ll need your help. They will need to learn how to behave appropriately in a world with people. They’ll make mistakes and learning takes time and patience. There is a lot to consider when thinking about getting a puppy.
Should you get a puppy?
As previously said, a puppy is a 24/7 job. It will be a lot of work and commitment. You need to consider if you have the time to raise a puppy in your home. An older dog who needs a new forever home, will also be a beautiful companion and furry friend. They may also have some training and house manners.
How will other pets in the home feel about a new puppy coming into the house? Many dogs enjoy having a playmate, while others would prefer their peace and quiet.
If you have the time, would love the experience and feel a puppy would be welcomed by all who live in the home, read on. Preparing for your puppy and making an informed decision about the breed of puppy better sets you up for success.
Choosing the right breed
Whether you are a first time pet parent or experienced owner I encourage you to really consider the breed of dog what would best suit your lifestyle. No two dogs are alike. Personalities and interests vary even within the same breed. Consider the following questions when thinking about getting a puppy.
What is the size and energy level of the breed?
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes from the tiniest Chihuahua to the biggest Saint Bernard. A large breed dog can be intimidating for anyone not comfortable or used to being around dogs of any size. Their energy levels likewise can vary. Consider the time and resources you have to be exercising and entertaining your new puppy on a regular basis. Managing physical and mental energy is a daily commitment.
Where will the puppy be living?
The size or your home, yard space and where you are (eg. next to a busy road) all needs to be considered. If you are thinking about getting a high energy puppy and live in an apartment, do you have a place nearby to exercise them? It’s also important to ponder how often your puppy might be left alone, while you work or are out of the house. A highly social breed will find long periods of isolation difficult.
What was the breed originally bred for?
For hundreds of years we have bred dogs to perform specific behaviours. Much of a dogs learning comes from the environment and what you actively teach. However, there is a genetic component to your puppy’s behaviour. It can give you insight ahead of time about what behavioural challenges you might expect. For example, Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve game birds and deliver them to their owner without damaging them. Mouthing and chewing are likely behaviours to be exhibited by your Golden puppy and may take more persistence and consistency in your training to overcome.
How much time do you have to do training? Is this your first dog?
Any dog you get will need to be trained. When thinking about getting a puppy consider how much time you will have to dedicate to training. There are breeds generally thought to be easier to train than others. Dogs with easy going natures who are eager to please make wonderful companions for families and first time pet parents.
What are the grooming needs? Are there any breed specific health issues?
All dogs have different care needs. Long coat or short coat, grooming needs will vary. There are those dogs that will need to be brushed daily or taken to the groomer regularly for a clip to keep the coat the right length. It is also important to think about breed specific health conditions. Bulldogs can have respiratory issues. Spaniels with long floppy, furry ears at higher risk for ear infections. All dogs have their perks and quirks, it’s important to be aware so you can make the best decision possible.
What would you like to do with your dog?
We all have your reasons for wanting to have a dog as part of the family. The unconditional love and friendship they bring to the relationship is truly amazing. Are you looking for company at home? A four-legged cuddling companion to curl up with. Perhaps you’re an active soul and looking to enjoy the outdoors, hiking and swimming. A friend for your children to tumble with and confide in. When thinking about getting a puppy, truly consider what you would like to do and keep that in mind when looking at the different breeds. Find a furry friend who will enjoy these activities as much as you do.
After all this, is a puppy the right dog for you?
Puppies are a delight, but upon reflection you may find that an older dog is right for you. An older dog looking for a new home is equally wonderful and may have the qualities you are seeking.
There are so many considerations when thinking about a puppy breed that is likely to be a good fit for you, your family and your lifestyle. Taking the time to consider this thoughtfully and gather information can make a huge difference in the relationship you develop with your future dog.
Finding the right breeder
A good breeder is a responsible breeder. A breeder should be committed to the physical, mental and long-term health of the puppy and the breed in general. For a puppy those first few weeks are critical to their overall development. In addition to this, genetics plays a huge role in physical and behavioural health. A responsible breeder should be aware and educated about these factors. When making enquiries here are a few questions you can ask to help make the best choice.
What is their breeder number? Are they registered?
The Australian National Kennel Council is the national breeder body in Australia. Each state in Australia also has their own body. A verified breeder is given a Breeder Registration Number (BRN) and made a member of this group. A registered breeder is accountable to the rules, regulations and standards of these bodies.
What kind of environment are they raised in?
Ideally, you are looking for a puppy that is being raised in an environment similar to your own. For example, in a home with people. In this way your puppy is getting used to the sights, sounds and smells of a home environment. This sets your puppy up to be comfortable and confident in these types of surroundings.
Can you visit/see the puppies?
Transparency. This allows you to see where and how the puppies are being raised. Are they happy, curious, confident, etc. If you cannot visit than pictures and (better yet) videos are good alternative.
What are the parents like? Do they photos of them?
Ask the breeder to tell you about the parents. What are their individual personalities, likes and dislikes? You can also enquire about the parents social behaviour with other dogs and people. It’s also good to ask for photos of the parents, both posed and candid.
Have the parents had previous litters?
If the parents have had litters before you can ask the breeder what the previous puppies were like and how they are going. A breeder who is aware of the puppies as they grew up is one who stays in touch with the owners should you have any questions down the line. A mother’s first litter is not a bad thing, all dogs have a first litter. Ask how the mother is doing and if their have been issues health wise or behaviourally.
Are there any hereditary conditions that affect health? If so do you test your dogs for them?
Many breeds have hereditary conditions. It is important to be aware of them for the long term care of your puppy. Added to this what steps does the breeder take to test for them, to ensure that the breed has a happy healthy life.
When are puppies wormed, vaccinated and microchipped?
Puppies health is very important, the worming and vaccinating of your puppy should have already begun. Worming treatment from 2/3 weeks and the first vaccine at 6/7 weeks. Your puppy should microchipped prior to going to new home.
Talk to your vet. Develop a relationship with them as you’ll likely be seeing a lot of them and they’ll have some great health advice for you.
What age can you take the puppy?
Puppyhood is a very sensitive time for puppies as they grow varying stages of development. Leaving their mother and siblings too early or too late can have long term effects. A puppy should not go to their new home earlier than 8 weeks. Ideally you would want puppy before 10 weeks so you can being socialising them with their new home and family.
What is the breeders guarantee?
Should your puppy become severely ill on arrival to the new home will you be compensated? If you have any questions or the puppy displays unusual behaviour how best to reach them. If unforeseen circumstances leave you unable to care for the puppy, will the breeder take them back?
What do you provide with the puppy?
When you purchase the puppy what else does the breeder provide you with? Paperwork. The food the puppy has been consuming. This is good whether you plan to keep them on same diet or change it – to transition slowly to the new food. A toy or towel that smells like mum and other puppies will also help make the transition smoother for your new puppy.
There are many questions to ask when thinking about getting a puppy. The answers will guide you to a breeder who is responsible and genuinely cares for the puppy they are placing in your home and with your family.
I hope you have a better idea of the kind of puppy who will be a good match for you, your family and your lifestyle.
I invite you to head over to our Facebook page to continue the conversation and share your experience. There you will find regular posts with training tips, advice and information to aid you and your puppy. And look out for part 2 of Preparing For Your Puppy.