Is a New Pup in Your Future????
It is never too early or too soon to start planning for a new pup (no matter the age) for your family!
This is the first of a 3-part article on preparing and choosing a new canine child for your family-and make no mistake, getting a new pup is like getting a new child whether you go the route of adopting an older rescue or adopting an 8-week old puppy.
Do the Work
Preliminary planning and decisions need to be made before you even START to look at new pups. The remaining 2 parts will deal with how to choose a reputable, responsible rescue group and how to choose a reputable, responsible breeder. While many of the characteristics of reputable, responsible breeders and rescue groups are the same (both should be motivated by the lifetime well-being of the dogs that they place), there are also different qualities to look for in each.
Make no mistake, different breeds have different temperaments and skills! So, take time to assess YOUR life!
Give thought to what you enjoy doing now and expect to enjoy doing in 12 years.
Include hobbies and travel plans.
Think about how much exercise you want to have as a part of your daily life.
Why do you want a dog? What do you want to do with your dog?
Write down a description of your perfect pup.
What does your family look like now and what do you expect it to look like in 12 years?
Do you plan to have an 'only' dog or do you enjoy having multiple pups?
What does your typical day look like? Are you home most of the time with only short trips out and about or do you have commitments that require you to be gone 6 hours or more at a stretch?
What does your home and yard look like and is it appropriate for a dog needing lots of exercise?
Decide whether you want to go the 'puppy' or the 'rescue' route.
Both puppies and older dogs have challenges adapting to your home. The challenges are just DIFFERENT.
Try to do some volunteering with a breeder and a rescue group so that you better understand the differences between the 2 routes. (Offer to puppy-hug for a breeder or to dog walk for a rescue or to staff an exhibit for a rescue!)
Research different types of breeds.
Remember all dogs, even mixed breeds, carry the genetics of what they were originally bred to do. Be sure that you understand the skills and personalities needed to accomplish the original purpose of the breeds that you are considering. (A West Highland Terrier WILL be very focused and active, a Labrador WILL put things in its mouth, and a Beagle WILL howl! You will need to do lots of training to teach control of those innate tendencies.)
Decide on the approximate size of your perfect pup when it is an ADULT dog. (A Bernese Mountain Dog will probably not do well in a small townhome with no yard!)
Be sure that you include research into what grooming needs your perfect pup will have. (Do you want 'wash & wear', visits to a groomer, lots of shedding, minimal shed
Take every opportunity that presents itself to interact with every dog that you meet. Ask questions of the owner. (What is the best/worst thing about your pup? How much formal training have you taken? What does your dog do if you are not playing with it?)
Stay tuned for Part 2-
Choosing a Reputable, Responsible Rescue Group-in our next newsletter!