So you have checked out our are ready to be a puppy parent page and passed our puppy parent quiz (also on that page). Now you need to start thinking about what type of dog would be the best fit. When deciding what type of dog to get, it is important to consider the size of the dog as bigger dogs are not suitable for everyone, they may be difficult handle on a walk, and large dogs and small lawns just make a lot of mud.
Bigger dogs have higher food, veterinary and insurance bills, as well as a shorter lifespan. It is important to note that smaller dogs are not an easy option, they can be more difficult to train and tend towards aggression and barking, usually because they have not been giving adequate training as puppies. Think about your available space in your home and yard and narrow the options to what is practical, there will be some personal preference as well and that is okay!
Rescuing or Adopting a Dog from a Shelter
There are hundreds of beautiful dogs waiting to be rescued. Ask for the dogs back story, it is important to know whether they are used to things such as children, other dogs, walking on a lead, cats and being alone. Good rescue centres will know that these questions are important and will be able to guide you based on the dogs history before coming to the centre as well as the dogs behaviour while at the centre. Be prepared to leave empty handed and to visit several times before picking up the dog that is for you. Don’t rule out a cross breed or older dog. Most older dogs come partially or fully trained.
Buying a dog
If you are buying a pure bred dog, always check out the kennel club website . The UK Kennel Club have a full list of breeds and what tests should have been done on them in order to avoid inherited diseases. It is an invaluable resource arming you with the questions you will need to ask of the breeder before you even travel to see the pup. Ask to see kennel club registration details as well documentation of any health screens advised for the breed by the kennel club, e.g. hip & elbow scoring for Labradors.
Before buying a pup do see both parents and enquire about their health. Ask the age of and number of litters the mother has had so far and when she had her last litter. Never meet in a car park/buy out of back of van. Dogs should not have more than one litter in 12 months. Be prepared to leave a puppy in a situation if you feel it may be a puppy farm, never feel guilted into buying the puppy, if you are not happy with the situation the pup is in and you pay to get it out, you are feeding into the problem by paying for the puppy.
Rescuing or Adopting a Dog
Ask for the dogs back story, it is important to know whether they are used to children, other dogs, cats, being alone. Good rescue centres will know that these questions are important and will be able to guide you based on the dogs history before coming to the centre as well as the dogs behaviour while at the centre. Be prepared to leave empty handed and to visit several times before picking up the dog that is for you. Don’t rule out a rescue, cross breed or older dog. Most older dogs come partially or fully trained.
In either case before leaving with your pup or dog, find out and record when the pup was last wormed and with what product, when the pup had a flea treatment and with what product if any. All puppies are born with worms that must be treated every 2-4 weeks from birth. Ask whether any vaccinations have been given. If vaccinations have been given there should be documentation to support that for you to take with the pup. Microchipping documentation should be presented to you as well. It is against the law for a pup to be passed on without a microchip, and registered breeders will always have the pup microchipped before selling.
As soon as you get home your pup vet checked as soon as you bring them home, this is a free service available at your local vets. Don’t bring your dog out for walks until he has been health checked and vaccinated with his first shot. Your pup needs protection against parvovirus and other viruses with two injections 2-4 weeks apart.
Training and socialisation is essential with a puppy but it is important is for any dog coming in to a new home. Solid and consistent training will calm your dog during this stressful time. Ask at your vets for natural calming pheromones that are available to help your new pet to stay calm as well as assisting with learning and reducing anxiety. Socialisation and crate training your puppy from day 1 on top os the usual Sit, Stay, Toileting and Leash training is invaluable and will lead to a happy life together.
Local puppy training: www.wonderpaws.ie
Local Dog Behaviour Specialist: http://www.clevercompanions.ie/
Breed Information: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/Default.aspx