Is a puppy right for you?
Bringing home a new family member means having to evaluate various aspects of your life. Time, space, finances and emotional commitment are universal factors in proper dog care, regardless of breed.
Do you work long days? Do you travel often? Does your job send you out of town? Puppies are a huge time commitment and ensuring a well-adjusted pet means not leaving it alone for hours at a time. Thankfully there are resources available, dog walkers, doggy daycare or pet sitters who can engage with your puppy while you’re absent. Remember that dogs of every age require stimulating interaction every day, be sure that this is a commitment you can make for many years. It is important to keep in mind that dogs live long lives and it is not unusual to have a small breed dogs live to their late teens.
No backyard? No sweat. Not all breeds require lots of space to run. Regular walks, runs, and dog sports can compensate for the lack of a backyard. Space also refers to inside the home. Is your house full of precious antiques and family heirlooms? Are you prepared for an active puppy exploring your house with its nose and teeth? Are you alright with your doggy friend who might not immediately know where the bathroom is? If you have children, are you committed to managing the stuff the kids leave lying around? Puppy proofing and proper training can alleviate a lot of these concerns, but you must consider all the above as possible scenarios before your new family member arrives home.
Proper care of your pet can be expensive. In addition to the ongoing expenses of food, chews, toys, beds and clothing, dogs also require vaccines, stool samples, deworming, blood work including heartworm, spay or neuter and a microchip – all within the first year! Subsequent years should include annual vaccines, bloodwork, stool sample, heartworm and licensing. Additionally, dental treatment or cleaning will be required depending on a number of factors such as breed, diet, age and if the teeth are brushed. On top of that, unexpected illnesses or accidents could occur at any moment. Pet insurance can help alleviate those costs, but the monthly payments should be considered as another expense. Other routine expenses may include grooming, dog walker, dog daycare and boarding.
There is nothing as precious as the unconditional love your dog has for you. No matter how bad your day or mood is, they will love you just the same. Every day you walk through the door they will greet you with endless enthusiasm – even if you’ve only been gone for 5 minutes! As our pets get older, the decisions we have to make about their wellbeing become harder and harder. At the end of your dog’s life you may be forced to make the decision to euthanize. Our pets rarely pass easily and peacefully and the decision to end suffering will fall to you. Many pet owners cope with loss via mementos or keepsakes (a memorial, a paw print, or a charitable donation). Additionally there are also animal loss grief groups available in many communities.
What breed is right for you?
Why a purebred dog? A well bred purebred dog gives a set of expectations for size, shape, personality, exercise requirements, life span, possible health concerns, grooming requirements and perhaps most importantly behaviour. Good breeders spend a lot of time creating great dogs true to their breed and to the best of the breed. Breeders want owners to know what they will be going home with and what to expect. Crossbred dogs or mix breed dogs usually do not come with health testing. There is often great variability when mixing breeds. Hybrid vigour does not necessarily occur here. Often what we see is the worst of both breeds in one dog. If you are seeking a mixed breed or designer dog, please ask about health testing. If those selling mixed breed dogs truly care they will be doing health clearances or testing which should be made available to you. Mixed breed or cross bred puppies will not be found on PuppyViewer. Rescues do need homes. Breed rescue organizations do assess dogs they receive and do try to place them with the correct family. What they often are assessing for is emotional and behavioural “baggage”. Breed rescues( for purebred dogs) can be found on PuppyViewer. It is our philosophy and our hope that if we support good breeders and help people to choose wisely then we will have less dogs in rescue – both purebred and mixed breed dogs. If you don’t have an idea about where to start, try a breed selector quiz: Animal Planet, Selectsmart, Petnet, Purina, Iams. Going to dog shows is a great way to expose yourself to different breeds. Many large dog shows have meet the breed events and breeders are happy to talk about their breed (as long as they’re not on their way to the show ring!).
Finding a Breeder
Once you have identified the breed for you, search PuppyViewer to find potential breeders. Additionally, you can contact national breed club secretaries for recommendations. Connecting with a breeder should result in multiple conversations and planning in advance of choosing your best friend. Puppies are rarely available on a moment’s notice. Remember that a good breeder will interview you as much as you interview them and will tell you if you have the correct breed for your situation. If no puppies are planned, they may be able to recommend another good breeder. Good breeders have great passion for their breed. They should have details about the pedigree – parents and grandparents. Good breeders will tell you what their dogs have done in conformation and dog sports. They will freely share health clearances as well. These are the tests that are done to check for inherited diseases . Different breeds will have different testing requirements. In order to know what health clearances are recommended in the breed you can use the link below: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Canine Health Information Center, Veterinary Genetic Services. You can also go to the national club website to see what their requirements are. Breeders will invite you to visit the kennel and allow you see at least one parent of the litter. At the kennel you can look at the way they are housed, handled and socialized. The breeder will help select which puppy in the litter may be best for your situation. A good breeder will not want the puppies to leave too early, usually between 8 to 12 weeks. The breeder will judge how the litter is maturing and will advise you when the puppy is ready to go. The breeder will have a contract which outlines each party’s responsibilities. All good breeders will take a dog back if it is not working, or circumstances change. Additionally, breeders will offer support for the duration of the dog’s life, if you wish to maintain contact.