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Deciding to Get a Dog

Never buy on impulse and really think through your decision. The average life span of a dog is from ten to fifteen years and a puppy is a living creature you cannot “try on for size”. Be prepared to make a commitment to the care and well-being of your dog from puppyhood to old age and consider the following points.

Does your lifestyle offer sufficient time to socialize and train your puppy?

This will be a substantial commitment on your part, particularly in the first year. Puppies do not come with an obedience guarantee, nor will they be housebroken. Like children, they need the constant love and attention of their family.

Will your dog be happy in your home?

Consider your own accommodation. Apartment or house, large or small, is your yard fenced? All puppies grow up and your accommodation must be appropriate for a mature dog. Each breed has different needs and characteristics, so, as much as you may like the look of a specific breed, be sure its physical environment is a comfortable setting for the animal.

Are all members of the family in favour of getting a dog?

For a dog to become a lifelong member of the family, the decision to buy must be shared by all members. A “split family” may lead to disagreements and the dog being returned or left with a humane society.

Are there young children in the family?

One of the main reasons people purchase a puppy is “for the kids”. Just be sure the match between dog and children is right. Young children can unintentionally hurt a puppy and by the same token a rambunctious puppy can hurt or frighten a small child. It is ideal to socialize them at a young age, but parents should assume the responsibility of constant watchfulness.

Who will feed, walk, groom and pick up after the dog?

If this is to be a family dog, everyone should be committed to its care. Often it ends up with one family member attending to the dog’s needs, so talk it over and come to some agreements in advance. If children are involved, don’t expect them to shoulder all the responsibility, but they should be expected to assume some tasks.

Have you prepared a budget for the cost of caring for the dog?

This will involve nutritious food, municipal licensing, regular visits to your vet, plus bedding, etc. Such things as obedience training, regular grooming or pet insurance should also be considered. It won’t be a huge amount but be prepared for the additional expense in your household budget. 

Don’t buy a dog as a surprise gift.

A purebred puppy can be a marvellous gift if the giver has thoroughly discussed the matter with the recipient in advance. All of the previous considerations must be reviewed with the recipient, and they need to be the major influence in the choice of breed. Giving a surprise puppy is never appropriate. Too often it’s unwanted and subsequently abandoned or neglected.

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