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Should You Really Get a Puppy?

October 6, 2010

Most of the time we ask, “how much is that puppy in the window” without thinking about what kind of dog is it going to grow up to be? Very few of us take the time to do some research and reflection on what life will be like with a certain kind of dog. Looking for a puppy takes time and work, but by doing so you will find the breed that is most suited to you and your lifestyle.


Should I get this puppy is a question that you should ask yourself every time you see that perfect little face with those beautiful eyes just begging you to take it home? The answer could easily be yes, if you have done some research and looked into the particular breed. There is a puppy for every person and every lifestyle, it just takes time to look and search.


1. You still sneak in your itty-bitty dog to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but (gasp) you opt for the matinee instead of the evening show.
2. You try to fool your canine chowhound by switching from premium meaty treats to cheaper, wheat-filled biscuits, but the (canine) nose knows.
3. You try to fool your cat by mixing sand from the local beach into the unscented commercial litter in the box – giving a new meaning to a bout with crabs.
4. You skip your dog’s grooming appointment by adopting a DIY attitude that results in your Bichon looking more like a bug-eyed owl in a windstorm.


Many of us get swept up in the romance of a certain breed, maybe it is their color, and their size or they are a reminder of a story or movie we have just read or seen. The romance in picking a puppy is sort of like that romance you feel when you have met someone whom is the epitome of wonderfulness, that is until you get to know them better. Picking the wrong puppy can give you the same let down.


People put more thought into buying a computer than they do in getting a puppy. A computer you plug into an electrical socket, a puppy you have to feed, train, walk and have a relationship with. A puppy does not sit in one place, they make messes and will chew up anything you leave laying around and yet, people do not think twice about getting one, even if it is the wrong one.


There is so much to consider when getting a puppy that most people do not even consider or anticipate. Even that cute little mongrel at the pet shelter is going to grow into some kind of dog and will be carrying marks of a particular breed, so you have to be prepared.


What are some of the things you should be considering when you go puppy hunting?


If you have small children you need to seek a different breed than you would have to consider if your children were young adults. For example, a Border Collie is not a dog to have around small children. The breed is used as sheep herding dogs and the instinct in a Border Collie would be to herd the wee ones into groups with nipping and barking most of the time, just as they would sheep. Border Collies are very well behaved dogs, but are very energetic, require a great deal of exercise and left to their own devices can become home wreckers.


If you have other pets, some breeds do not get along with cats or other dogs. Some breeds like Retrievers or spaniels were bred to hunt and get birds, if you have a bird or two you might end up with them missing. Sighthounds such as greyhounds have been bred to hunt small game; a favorite rabbit or cat could easily be considered small prey by this breed and other sighthounds.


Weather is another consideration if you live in a hot climate Pugs and other push-faced breeds need air conditioning in hot humid weather. Dogs of the north like Siberian Huskies love the colder it gets, while short-coated, thin-legged dogs like Greyhounds and Whippets need coats and boots. Consider your weather when looking for a puppy.


Exercise is something else to keep mind, are you a runner or a walker and love to be outdoors, then there is a breed for you. Greyhounds, Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers would love to join you in your outdoor activities and there are many other breeds that are perfect for outdoor activities. The size of a dog does not matter when it comes to the amount of exercise it needs, a Saint Bernard does not need much exercise, but a small poodle needs its walk every day.


Do you work all day and come home fairly late? Some breeds do not take well to being alone all day. The Bijon Frise does not like to be alone any for any length of time and an Italian Greyhound needs potty breaks more often than most other dogs. Some dogs take to crate training better than others, and can handle being alone while you are at work. Others will find mischief to get into if left alone for long periods, chewing things can be a big problem.


Checking to see how trainable the breed you pick is another consideration. Sporting and herding dogs seem to be more trainable as they were bred to work with humans. Hounds and Terriers are a bit more resistant as they were bred to hunt independently and Beagles and Basset Hounds have minds of their own when out walking and they find a bush they like the scent of. Getting then to acknowledge your commands can tax your patience.


Grooming is another thing that is important to consider. Can your budget stand the frequent trips to the groomer? Shedding can make life miserable, we had a Samoyed that shed all the time, no matter how much we brushed him and even after he died we found “Lobo hairs” around the house.


Health issues are another thing to consider when adopting a puppy. Most breeds are fairly healthy, while other breeds have a shorter life span and some have significant health problems due to the breeding. Short-faced breeds have palate problems, some dogs have spinal problems like Dachshunds, some dogs suffer from hip dysplasia, cockers and other long-eared dogs have ear problems. You need to study your preferred breed and be aware of normal problems.


 



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