Choosing a dog or puppy is very exciting, but it can also be very daunting.  Before you start looking for your next best friend, here are a few things to think about.

Are you ready?

When choosing a dog, it is important to remember that owning a dog can be a 10 to 15-year commitment. Honestly assess your lifestyle and situation to determine whether you are ready.

Fostering a dog or puppy from an assistance dog or guide dog association could be a good way of finding out if you are ready.

Will you have time?

How much time do you have to spend with your dog?  There are dogs suitable for houses with yards, apartments, allergy sufferers, retirees, single people, families, etc.  But no dog is suitable for someone who does not have any time to devote to their dog or puppy.  Dog owners should have time for socialisation, exercise and training.

Check the dog’s energy levels and exercise requirements.  Working dogs, like border collies, will not suit households with busy lifestyles.  They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation.  Jack Russell’s may be small, but they are bundles of energy that need exercise.

Can you afford it?

Costs include food, vet bills (worming, vaccinations, heart worm prevention), flea and tick control, training, council registration, insurance, equipment (leads, collars, etc) and possibly professional grooming and pet resorts or pet sitters when you are away on holidays.

Other things to think about

Other things to consider when choosing a dog or puppy include: –

  • size – do you want a small, medium or large dog?
  • coat – do you want a dog with a long coat that requires daily grooming?
  • temperament – do you want a dog for companionship, assistance, protection, security or as a pet for a family with children?

Adopting from animal welfare or rescue organisations

Animal welfare and rescue organisations have many different types and breeds of dogs and puppies looking for new homes.   If you have decided on a specific breed, check out the breed rescues too.

Here are some questions you should ask the rescue organisation to help you in choosing a dog:

  • what do you know about the dog? (breed, age, age surrendered, etc)
  • did the dog come from a family, or single person household?
  • is the dog socialised to people, other dogs, noises (like storms)?
  • has the dog been walked in normal suburban areas? Can I take them for a walk?
  • has the dog been assessed with other dogs?
  • what training has the dog had?

Rescue dogs can be shell-shocked for the first few days in a new home.  Give them time.  After a few weeks they will most likely show their normal behaviours and after a few months, they will have settled into a routine. If you are looking for a great local rescue, we love Fresh Start Rescue.

Visit the breeder

If you have your heart set on a pure breed, you must visit the breeder.  If the breeder refuses to let you visit, or they want to meet you somewhere else, then please consider avoiding them.  They are probably hiding something.  They could be running a puppy farm or puppy mill.  Please also avoid buying dogs from pet stores.

Good breeders are genuinely concerned about the welfare of their dogs.  They will be open to questions and be willing to provide a complete history of the dog or puppy.  All legal requirements will be met and they will provide guarantees and references.  Reputable breeders will also provide ongoing support and information even after you’ve taken the dog or puppy home.

Inherited disorders or diseases

Research whether your chosen breed is prone to inherited disorders or diseases.  Some breeds have exaggerated features which can cause problems, such as squashed-in faces that can lead to breathing problems, or very short legs that can cause spinal issues.    Good breeders will not breed for exaggerated features that comprise the dog’s welfare.

Following these tips will make sure you’re on the right track to choosing a dog or puppy for you and your family. You’ll also be preventing the sale of dogs and puppies from puppy farms or irresponsible breeders.

Fur Get Me Not offer free puppy pre-school classes to help you and your puppy adjust to a new life together and to build a strong bond.  Find out more by clicking here.