If you make a mistake with your career, it’s possible to change direction and find a new calling. Kids and dogs? You’re in it for the long haul. Once you have bought a dog; it’s for keeps.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and bring a four-legged friend into your family, these guide to point you in the right direction and help you make an informed decision.
Check Your Budget
Firstly, before you start to look for a breeder or attempt to buy a dog, you have to consider whether your budget, lifestyle and current commitments allow a four legged companion. Depending on the breed, you can pay anywhere between $500 and $2,500 for a puppy. Can you afford his daily food intake? His training classes? His insurance? The average monthly premium for dog insurance in 2016 was $42.45. The amount will depend on which dog breed you have, smaller breeds tend to have lower premiums than large breeds.
The PDSA estimated lifetime cost of owning a dog is between $21,000 to $41,000; depending upon their size. The insurance premiums do still work out better value for money when you compare average treatment costs at the veterinarians.
|German Shepherd Dog||$34.32|
If you don’t get insurance, these treatment costs if he falls ill:
Spend Time For Them
No dog should be left alone for longer than 3-4 hours when fully grown. Puppies can struggle being left alone for half an hour. Leaving a puppy also doesn’t help with housebreaking or chewing. How can you stop accidents in the house or chewed furniture if you aren’t there?
We know that dogs can suffer with separation anxiety; they are more predisposed to this if there is an inconsistent routine within the home and if they are poorly socialized. When dogs are unable to cope with being left alone, they will chew, bark, urinate and defecate. If this is not managed, they develop further anxious behaviours and are more likely to respond negatively to fireworks, thunderstorms and other loud noises. For that reason, you need to ensure you have time to spend with your puppy when you bring him home.
Find A Reputable Breeder
Research dog breeds. Speak with other dog owners. Find out the good, the bad and the ugly! The more information you have the better. Reputable breeders will have the mother of the puppies available to view – often the father too! Check here:
- Responsible breeders will breed to ensure the health of their dogs.
- They will only breed from those dogs who demonstrate the desired qualities and temperament for that particular breed.
- They will often only have a couple of litters per year and will tend to specialize in one breed – or two if they are closely related in size, temperament and appearance.
- The American Kennel Club does have it’s own marketplace; they also have Breeder License registrations.
- The good thing about the AKC marketplace is that it usually provides plenty of information about the breeder: How long have they been breeding dogs? How many litters do they have a year? How many breeds of dogs are they advertising? Do they compete in shows or sports?What is their feedback? Do they have a social media presence?
Search for their names in an internet search engine and see what pops up. One of the perks of our technological world is how much information is available on social media. Join breed-specific groups. Ask for breeder recommendations, or if you are researching one in particular, ask about them on the groups.
Reputable breeders will carry out health checks on their breeding stock. They will ensure the necessary tests specific to the breed are clear before breeding any dog.
Expect to be put on a waiting list. If breeders are only having 1 litter a year, there are only so many puppies to go around. Don’t be discouraged by the wait – a healthy and sound puppy is surely worth for it
Before You Bring Them Home
- Most reputable breeders will allow potential owners to view their puppy between 4-6 weeks.
- You can usually choose the puppy you would like at this stage too. This allows you to see how Mom is interacting with her pups and how they are responding to her.
- You can ask the breeder how they have socialized the puppies and how they are developing.
- It is possible to see even at this age how confident puppies are – this can be helpful in deciding which puppy will suit you and your lifestyle best.
Eight Week Rule
Puppies should not be taken from the Mom until they are at least 8 weeks old. Puppies who are separated too soon from their litter mates and their Mom fail to acquire certain social skills, like bite inhibition, play behavior and bonding.
It is crucial that puppies aren’t taken from their litter before 8 weeks old. Any breeders who suggest otherwise don’t understand puppy development and should be avoided like the plague.
Stay In Touch
Reputable breeders will be happy for you to contact them even after you have collected your puppy. They will happily answer any questions you have. They will often periodically check in with families to ensure the health of their puppies.
Breeders will also advise you on feeding guidelines as we know three things impact on the skeletal development in dogs; genetics, environment and nutrition.
These stipulations will all ensure that you give your puppy the best chance at developing into a health and happy pooch.
Most breeders would have also started the puppies vaccination schedule and will be more than happy to advise you on the best route/schedule to follow.
What do you like doing in your spare time? Are you an avid hiker? If so, a dog with bounds of energy who loves being active like a Shiloh Shepherd would be a perfect match! Or are you a home bird and prefer curling up on the sofa with a book? A Chihuahua would be right there next to you. You need to be realistic with how much time you have to spend with your dog and match their activity levels to yours.
Do you have children? Grandchildren? If so, you will need a family friendly pooch who is happy chilling next to the baby but equally happy playing ball in the yard like a Border Collie Labrador Mix. Smaller breeds like the Morkie don’t cope as well with kids running around at 100mph.
Are you a first time dog owner? If so, you really need to be looking at those friendly and docile breeds.
Our top tips will help you find your four-legged companion and a reputable breeder. The important thing is to do your research, find a breed that suits your lifestyle and is realistic with your skills and competencies as a dog owner. Once you are sure of these, find a healthy puppy reared by a responsible breeder.