As I've now had my ego stroked to tremendous size by Lynners and Deb, I thought I'd post this thread for everyone to contribute to so people considering a dog, or planning on growing their doggy family, can look here for advice and information on the steps taken before you bring home that adorable little puppy, or that sweetfaced shelter dog.So You Want a Dog?
Dogs are amazing, wonderful animals with endless capacity to give you love. They will never ever tell your secrets, they don't care your colour, race, how you say words, where you live, or how much money you have.
To give that wonderful animal the home and respect it deserves, you should first ask yourself the following questions;Can I guarantee I can afford a dog? Are my circumstances likely to change?
How much time can I devote to my dog?
Will I care for my dog even when it is old and it's body begins to fail?
Do I have the ability to house my dog comfortably?
Will I be able to put the time in to train and make sure my dog is a well behaved member of society?
Am I prepared to clean up after my dog's mess?
Will I be able to sacrifice that dream five week holiday in the bahamas for my dog, or will I find the best possible kennels or dog sitter while I am away?
If you can answer those questions with certainty, then it's time to look for that right breed or mix waiting out there for you! The best thing you can possibly do when looking for a dog, is to keep your mind open, and be prepared to be surprised! Maybe you thought you liked the look of that lovely cocker spaniel you saw, or perhaps you've always been a fan of great danes? These dogs, while wonderful, could be completely the wrong dog for you. So How do I Find My Perfect Dog?
At the bottom of this page, I will post plenty of very helpful links that will help you with researching for that perfect dog. As for now, you need to ask yourself further questions!Can I handle a large dog?
Will I be able to afford feeding costs?
How much time can I spend walking my dog?
Do I want a dog that has minimal shedding, or do I not care?
Do I want an active dog or a couch potato?
Do I need my dog to get on well with other animals or children?
Do I want an easily trained dog, or an intellegent, challenging one?
Do I have enough room in my home for a large dog?
Will my neighbours be okay if I have a noisy dog?
Once you've asked yourself those questions and got your answers, you can start making a shortlist! This will have all the dogs that have ticked every box. You may well find you already only have a few dogs on your list now, but that's perfectly fine. These are the dogs that will meet your needs, and you will meet theirs. This is the time for honesty with yourself. If you are poor of health, can you really spend hours out in the cold with your dog exercising it? If you have a small yard, or no yard at all, will you be prepared to go out to the nearest grassy area at all times to provide your dog with a place to run, play and go to the toilet?So I Have My Shortlist, Now What?
Now you've got your shortlist of breeds that will fit in with your lifestyle, it's time for MORE research! Often you can find out a great deal about a dog's personality by various websites. They will tell you if the dog is a gentle dog, a boisterous one, whether they're tidy, messy, a drooler, have health problems, everything. However, it's even better to email the "Breed Club" of your country, and ask questions. Ask as MANY questions as you can possibly think of! Once you recieve answers, remain in contact with these valuable people, as they will help you along the way, even if they are brutally honest and tell you the dog is wrong for you!
It is best you are told long before you consider a purchase!
Once you've built up a steady relationship with breeders, or breed club owners, it's time to consider a few more things;
Do you want a puppy, or are you happy to take on a grown dog?
Now you roughly know what breeds you are after, would you be prepared to foster a crossbreed or mutt?
Don't forget there are hundreds of thousands of dogs in shelters all round the world desperate for a new home. There is, of course, no shame in purchasing a purebred puppy, but you should definately consider shelters. Visit your local one and spend some time with the dogs there, once again, ask plenty of questions, write things down and remember what is said. Keep your sensible head on and remember that a dog in a shelter has already been through abandonment - it would be cruel to put them through it again.
Now you have your list of dogs! It's time to write pros and cons about every single one of them!I've Got My Perfect Dog!
Excellent! This dog is the one that has the most pros, the best suitability to your lifestyle, and has come up above all the others. Here's where the fun stuff happens!
If you're going to buy a purebreed, are you considering fostering one that has been left at a shelter? If so, ring around! Speak to shelter owners, and plan visits. This dog will need you and love you just as well as any pedigree puppy. Talk about trial runs, spending time with the dog alone, and really getting to know it. You might find one dog has a completely different personality to the next one! Don't give up if the dog you found "perfect" isn't found in the first shelter you go to!
If you're planning on buying a puppy from a breeder, it's time to get serious. Speak to the breed club members, get information on which breeders are respected, and care a great deal for the health of their puppies, and the betterment of the breed. Never, EVER be tempted by advertisements in newspapers, or suspicious signs outside people's houses claiming puppies are for sale. Often, these are backyard breeders; they do not care about their animals, or the people who buy them, they just want a fast buck.
Always check out the breeders credentials. How many litters do they have per year? Do they use the same dogs over and over? Visit the breeder and check the conditions. Do the dogs seem happy, well fed and well looked after? Are the breeders open and honest with you? Use your common sense and keep your eyes opened for anything suspicious. Often, you can pick up a vibe from the breeder's website as well. Do they seem to treat their puppies as objects, or living creatures?
Once you've found a breeder you trust, be prepared to WAIT. Certain breeds will have very long waiting lists. This is possibly a good thing, as you can continue to ask yourself questions about the dog, and prepare yourself for the bundle of trouble you will get when your puppy is finally available.
If a litter comes up, ALWAYS go and view the pups, mother and father, and any other dogs the breeder owns. It not only shows the breeder you are serious about the puppy, but it also gives you a clue as to the "lines" the breeder wants in their breed. No matter the distance, I think it is totally vital that you travel to see mum and babies. When you leave, you will have a greater sense of what you are getting yourself into.
Remember to stay in contact with the breeder after you leave! Ask after the puppies, especially if you have chosen one. Continue to be friendly with the breeder and show your interest! Then it's time to prepare the house! Do you have a doggy area, newspapers, a bed, collars, leads, bowls, suitable puppy food (please see the nutrition forum for more information)? Have you got an insurance provider in mind? Money set aside for microchipping and vaccinations? Are you puppy-safe in your house and yard? Do you know of puppy training courses and/or methods?
Remember, a puppy is a great responsibility. Dogs can last a long time and give a lot of love. This thread is only here to advise you on making the best possible decision when it comes to buying a living, breathing creature.Helpful links!http://www.petplanet.co.uk/
(A helpful resource, it has information on most breeds, and tells you everything from average food cost per week, to grooming and exercise requirements)http://www.dogsey.com/
(Still in progress, but talks comprehensively about breed training and personality, along with kennel club/AKC standards)Anyone else have anything to add?