It is important to remember that puppies and dogs are not all fun and games. They depend on you and they are a lot of work, time and expense if you want a happy, healthy, well-trained, well-adjusted family member.
It is also important to understand that different dogs breeds have different traits. Do not choose a breed because they look cute in a movie or as a puppy.
Do your research before getting a puppy or dog.
For thousands of years, humans have purposefully bred dogs to perform various tasks like hunting, guarding, and herding with the physical and mental traits best suited for the work expected of them. There are over 340 dog breeds known throughout the world with new mixes becoming very popular recently like Poos and Doodles. The American Kennel Club recognizes 193 breeds.
AKC Dog Breed Groups
These breeds are divided into Groups which include: Sporting Group, Working Group, Herding Group, Hounds Group, Toy Group, Terrier Group and then Non-Working Group and Miscellaneous.
How to Pick A Puppy Questionnaire
I was helping a friend adopt a puppy after much discussion about whether he was ready and the benefits and costs.
I gave him this quick questionnaire so he could think about what sort of puppy or dog would be the best fit for his personality and lifetsyle.
- How much time do you have available? Some dogs need companionship and hate being alone. Others are more independent but need lots of exercise.
- How active do you want to be – walks, agility and dog sports, hikes and runs?
- Do you want an affectionate cuddler that wants to be on your sofa, bed and lap or a more independent type.
- How much and what sort of space do you have available – apartment, house with fenced in garden? Are there any pet restrictions (Some places only allow dogs under 20lbs and very vocal breeds can be annoying to neighbours.)?
- How much training do you want to do? Just good behaviour, or advanced tricks, dock jumping etc.
- What size of dog do you want (always look at examples of full-grown dogs if considering a specific breed or mix)?
- Do you plan to travel a lot with your dog (less than 20lbs and calm can be easier, especially for hotels and flights)?
- Do you have allergies or prefer a dog that sheds less? Which breeds do not shed or shed less (Pugs and Huskies are notorious shedders?
- How much grooming do you want to do?
- Can you afford regular vet visits, vaccinations, spay/neuter and any health issues of particular breeds?
- Do you have other pets or family members to consider eg kids, small animals, cats etc
Finding a Puppy or Dog
Consider fostering and adopting first. We searched on local rescue sites, at shelters and on Petfinder.
If you can not find a suitable puppy from a rescue or shelter, and you decide to go to a private person or a breeder, make sure the breeder is legitimate. Read how to tell here. Make sure to avoid supporting Puppy Mills and getting an ill puppy or dog.
We eventually found Rosie through a private adoption after several weeks. She is a 5 month old small mixed breed (possibly Cavalier King Charles, Poodle and Yorkie) and we went and met her family at their home.
They could no longer take care of her sadly, but had very clearly raised her with lots of love and good care. She is the sweetest, most affectionate, eager to please, friendly little girl and did well in her vet check. She seemed to know right away that she is now in the perfect home and is making my friend extremely happy. She knows sit and her name, sleeps well at night and is learning to lover her crate and going potty outside.
Watch this great video on some of the things you should consider when getting a puppy from experts like Dr Stanley Coren.
Before you bring your puppy home, before to Puppy-Proof your home. They like to chew and play and can get into so many things they shouldn’t.