Are You Ready for a Puppy?

February 12th, 2013 posted by Deborah Bennetto

Picture this, you are off to the mall with no more in mind than buying a few groceries when you come to a pet shop. In the window cute little puppies frolic happily, one looks up at you with large soulful eyes and WHAM! You’re in love. You want one of those adorable creatures. But before you take one more step, stop and consider the implications. Firstly puppies, no matter how cute they are when small, rarely stay that way. Secondly do you really have the time, patience and money to devote to a dog? When you consider the average dog lives around twelve years it’s no small commitment.

Puppies are a life long commitment, are you ready for a puppy?

A dog should never be an impulse buy, no matter how irresistible those puppy dog eyes are. Dog pounds and the SPCA are swamped with abandoned dogs bought on impulse. So at the pet shop window, fight your impulse to enter. Instead go away and think about it before committing yourself. Dogs are undoubtedly one of the most demanding of the domestic, household pets. They need regular exercise, grooming, training and they’re expensive. If you add up the costs of veterinarian services, boarding costs when you go away, food and equipment, not to mention the initial cost of buying the dog, you could find a large hole in your household budget. A puppy can also cause disruption to the household. It is not uncommon for a puppy to cut its adult teeth on the best furniture.

Housetraining demands a lot of time and patience. Dogs can also be very messy, especially when they’re molting or when they’ve been on a wet, muddy winter walk and come in and have a good shake! Ask yourself exactly why you want a dog. If it’s because you’re out at work all day and you want to protect your home then invest the money on a burglar alarm instead. Dog’s do not like being left alone for long periods and it is not kind to the animal to do so. So let’s say you’ve weighed up all the arguments and decided to go ahead and buy a dog, now you have to work out the type, size, age, and gender. The first question to ask is do you want a purebred or a mongrel? A mongrel or a crossbred dog is one that does not fit into any of the registered breeds whereas a purebred or pedigree dog will have been carefully bred over several generations in order to ensure it conforms as closely as possible to the breed standard. Both have certain advantages. If you plan on showing your dog, a pedigree is a must.

Other advantages are that it is easy to assess the dog’s eventual size and shape. All breeds have their own characteristics you can choose a dog that is must suitable for your situation. This is where some market research might pay off. For example, if you want a lap dog, you might choose a Shih Tzu or a Maltese Terrier, whereas if you have children, you might choose a Labrador or a Retriever. If you don’t have the time or patience to devote to grooming then do not buy a long-haired breed such as an Old English Sheepdog or an Afghan Hound. Some breeds are also more susceptible to certain diseases or problems than others. Hip dysplasia, an abnormality in the hip joint, does not always cause visual signs in the early stages. As it is an inherited condition, check with the breeder to ensure the parents are free from this condition. The advantage of buying a mongrel is that they can be obtained for little or no cost. They are also less at risk from inherited or congenital disorders. Unfortunately you can’t always tell how big a mongrel will grow.

A good test is to check out their paws. If they are huge in comparison to the rest of its body, chances are, the puppy will grow into a big dog. It’s also a good idea to view the puppies in their home environment, because that way, you get to meet their mother which should give you clues as to how the puppy will turn out. Check out how the puppies react to each other. A pushy, boisterous puppy could grow into a pushy boisterous dog. On the other hand, a timid retiring puppy would be miserable if you have a large boisterous family and might turn snappy through nervousness. Once you have established if you want a mongrel or a pedigree dog, you have to decide which gender. If you want to breed then you’ll have no choice, but females are also less prone to wandering than males, have less fighting instinct and are more responsive to training. The disadvantages of owning a bitch are to do with the biannual reproductive cycle otherwise known being “on heat” or “in season”. If you are not planning on breeding it is advisable to have her spayed (the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus) otherwise you will find your backyard the star attraction of every lusty male dog in the neighborhood! One slip and you could find yourself with an unwanted litter.

If you do not have the time or energy to raise a puppy, you may consider buying an adult dog. This is definitely the better choice for elderly people. However older dogs are sometimes less adaptable to change. It would also be unwise to introduce an adult dog into a household with young children unless that dog has been raised with kids. But children should always be supervised around dogs. Even docile animals have been known to snap when provoked. Children should be taught to handle a new puppy with gentleness and care. Injuries to both puppy and child, can occur through rough handling. One last note, if you’re introducing a puppy into a household where there’s already a dog in residence, make sure you do not give time and attention to the newcomer at the expense of the other dog. They both need plenty of reassurance in order to come to terms and settle down harmoniously with one another.

Deborah Bennetto (1 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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