Before Getting a New Puppy or Dog

SELECTING A PUPPY

We all end up with that over excitement about bringing a new puppy home, even far before we have selected our new addition. The process, regardless on if you adopt or select going to a breeder, is the same.

 It is best to be realistic with your expectations, motivation to achieve them, and your life style/routine.

 This seems like common sense but this is so often overlooked, and leaves owners feeling exhausted and overwhelmed as well as leaving the puppy confused and often leads to the development of “bad” behaviors.

 These can also be applied to adopting an older puppy or dog of any age.

**So where do you start?**

We are not going to discuss selecting breeders at this point; however, we will be discussing the steps up to that process so that you are mentally prepared and going in the right direction. So, let’s start with some basic questions that should typically be answered by the entire household:

+ Why do you want a dog/puppy?

 + Are you looking for a companion? Sport dog? Protection dog?

+ If you are looking for a sport dog: what sports are you interested in competing in?

+ If you are looking for a protection dog: are you looking for a naturally protective breed or a dog to have fully trained for protection work? Or are you just looking for a sizable dog that looks intimidating?

We further delve into this topic in future topic, in a future entry.

+Are you looking for a family dog?

+Are you looking for a working dog? Working dogs can be anything from Search and Rescue, Service Dog, Scent Detection, Ratting, Hunting etc.

+What size dog are you looking for?

 My suggestion is to get a decent size range. Decide what is “too big” and “too small” if you do not already have an ideal size picked.

+How much grooming maintenance are you okay with?

 Most dogs require some type of grooming but the type of grooming is different. It is important to understand this when selecting your dog.

 For example:

A Doberman can typically get away with a good brush here and there, and a quick bath when needed.

A Poodle (or –doodle) will not only need routine grooming at a professional groomer (roughly every 6-8 weeks depending on the length and home care of the coat) as well as routine brushing and combing that can be anywhere from a couple times a week to every day-depending on the cut the dog is in. This routine grooming should start with the groomer and continue ASAP with new owners. Yes, grooming these dogs needs to start before 8 weeks old and continue right after on at minimum a 6-8wk schedule.

A Husky, or similar double coated breeds requires brushing as well, especially two times a year when they blow coat.

Hairless breeds require their own grooming routines, baths, lotions etc depending on the breed and individual breed.

 +How active are you/your family?

 +Are you a weekend hiker?

+Active jogger?

+Just have a backyard for the dog but overall enjoy “Netflix and chill” rather than outside adventures?

+What about training?

 +Are you doing the training yourself? Be realistic about how much experience you have and what training you have done before.

+Are you going to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer? If so, to what end? Board and train? Weekly classes? How many classes are you willing to go to-just puppy basics or all the way to advanced, maybe off leash?

Keep in mind that regardless of the direction you take, training is a commitment and different breeds are more eager to please/learn than other breeds.

+Members of your household:

 +Do you have children?

Be honest with yourself on how dog savvy your child(ren) or frequently visiting children are. If they are more rough and tumble, you may want to steer clear of smaller breeds unless you are prepared to buckle down hard on your child(ren)’s training as well.

Even if your child is rough and tumble, its important to teach them how to handle, and respect a dog as well as how to exist without interacting.

+Regularly have guests?

Some dog breeds naturally are more aloof than others, and may not do well or may not be happy in an environment with regular guests/ “strangers” coming in and out of the house.

+Do you have other dogs? If so, are they altered? What is there gender?

It may not seem as important but some breeds are prone to dog aggression and/or same sex aggression genetically and you need to be prepared for that possibility.

If you have no intentions of breeding, keeping in mind whether your current dog(s) is/are altered is important. Accidents happen, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

+What are some household rules you will be enforcing?

 Yes, this may not seem like a super important thing to discuss prior but it is a major thing. If the people taking care of the dog are not on the same page when it comes to rules, you can end up with a confused dog who will develop behavior issues or even conflicts within your personal relationships with those who are caring for the dog: ie, a husband and wife who handle the dog differently can begin to have arguments if they are not on the same page and the dog begins to have behavioral issues.

Potential rules to consider:

No getting on furniture (without permission or not at all)

No jumping on people

No begging at the table/no human food

Not allowed in certain rooms

Etc

 The key is to set up rules for your new family member and stick with them. Consistency is key.

Rules sometimes may vary based on the breed or type of dog that you bring home.

If you have other dogs in the home, it is a good idea to make everyone have the same basic rules (some things obviously can vary due to age/training but the general rules should be the same).

Review

All of these things, and more should be considered before getting your next puppy so that you are not only fully prepared for your new addition, but also so that you select your new family member wisely and understand what your puppy needs to be the best dog as possible when he grows up. Some breeds of dog require different levels of training, energy, structure and grooming. It is important to know not only what you expect of your puppy but the expectations you should have about making sure that puppy continues to be an amazing member of your family starting from day one.

The same goes for adopted dogs-regardless of their background- it is important to take into account their breed, needs and rules from day one. Having these questions already answered helps you give your new addition the best possible foundation and allows them to know what is expected of them, which helps eliminate future stress for both of you.

Sometimes our dream breed, or favorite breed, does not fit our lifestyle right now. It doesn’t mean that we can never have that breed, it just means that right now is not the ideal time to and maybe a different breed would better fit your lifestyle right now. There is nothing wrong with that, the key is to be honest with yourself for the best outcome for both you and your future dog.

                                      Until next time!

               All you need is “A New Leash on Life”!

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