Today I’m handing over the reins to Lee Hobbs of First Class Dog Training. Dobby and I have just completed a 6-week puppy course with Lee so I figured who better to give some helpful advice on how to choose the right dog for you than a professional dog trainer.
Over to Lee
So you want a dog, do you? Cool, the more the merrier as long as it all works out and you get the one that fits into your lifestyle.
I have over ten years of dog training experience so have seen the good the bad and the unlucky.
There are MANY considerations to take into account before deciding on what suits best, here are just a few that I recommend.
REMEMBER THIS DOG COULD POTENTIALLY BE IN YOUR HOME FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS!!
Things to consider
(I am not going to mention any specific breeds as that’s down to YOU to research.)
- My main consideration would be WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY???
- WHY do you want a dog?
- Is it a Pet? For sport? Assistance? Family dog?
- If it’s a pet, what kind of pet?
Do you want them to be active, sedate, a mix of both? Good with children? Good with other pets in the home? Are they going to be left during the day? What about the size? Do you want a big dog/little dog/in-between dog? Is your property/garden suitable? How long are they likely to live? (Did you know that giant breeds have shorter life spans?)
And there’s more
- Time – what time do you have for a dog?
- Cost – a big dog needs more food = more financial outlay weekly.
- Dogs at risk of certain health issues = potential for the high insurance premium and vet bills.
- Dogs with a coat that needs extra care = groomers don’t do it for free!!
- Dog walkers/daycare, if they are going to be home alone during the day = if it’s not a family member then expect a big expense each week!
- Male/female, this could depend on existing dogs in your home or just a preference by you.
- Age – puppy or rehome?
- Are you prepared for housetraining, biting/teething, training, all usual puppy issues?
- Rehome/rescue….see above ^^
Who wants the dog?
If you have a family, who in the family actually wants the dog?
You should all be on board about this or you will be the one out in ALL weathers walking the soggy dog while you start to question the decision about getting said soggy doggy!!
If it’s for sport, see above.
Assistance dog, see above.
The family dog, see above.
Pet….they are all pets firstly anyway!
Where to find your 4-legged friend
GOOD, so now you have a ruff…I know…….idea of what you or all want then we can start to get more detail of how and where to find this new family member.
Puppy Vs Rehome
(I don’t like the word rescue, not all dogs need “rescuing”)
Now you have decided on the breed from all the research you have done above, you need to find a reputable breeder.
The breeder should ask you way more questions than you ask them. They should be checking your suitability for their pups and not just taking your cash.
Questions to ask the breeder
- Can you meet the pups mum? Does she look happy? Is she well cared for?
- Does she have any behaviour issues?
- Does she live in the house?
- How many litters has she had?
- Is she ok with you meeting her pups?
- Are the puppies being whelped in the house?
- Where in the house, they should be in a reasonably high traffic area to get them used to all household situations/noises ….people traffic I mean…..it would be weird having cars drive through the house.
Early socialisation is CRITICAL so being in a shed, barn or kennel out the back is NOT preparing puppy for life in the fast lane!!
Take your time and see more than one breeder, visit your chosen pup 2 or 3 times… if the breeders cool with this then you should be on to a good ‘un.
Price – if its a cheapy then probably not a goodie.
Rehome (Rescue centre)
DO NO PICK ONE OFF THE INTERNET AND HAVE IT DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR, LOOKS CAN BE VERY DECEIVING!
Meet the dog, obviously. Not just once. Go and see the dog in the centre, take them for a walk at least a couple of times. The more you go the more you will know.
The rescue centre should be strict on where the dog is going to be rehomed to and ask you LOTS of questions.
They should also insist on a home visit, to check if you are suitable as well as your home.
Consider if it has any pre-existing medical/behavioural issues and that you can afford the time/expense to deal with these. Dog trainers don’t work for free either.
Does the rescue centre have a policy that allows you to take them back if it doesn’t work out?
Rinse and repeat
After all of this, go home and have a think. Re-question all of the above with the entire family.
If you are unsure about any of this and can’t decide for yourself then give a dog trainer a shout, they will advise you.
Lastly, take your time to choose the right dog for you, there is no rush. Enjoy them, because if you do get the right one you have got years of loyalty and companionship ahead…. oh and poo picking!!
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