There are plenty of articles on the internet about what questions you should ask a breeder/rescue centre if you are thinking about getting a puppy from them. But what about questions prospective puppy owners should be asking themselves before getting their first canine pet? These should always be the first steps you should go through and when you are happy with your answers you can start looking around for your puppy. Once you have found the puppy you think you want then you can ask the breeders/rescue centre all the necessary questions about this puppy.
Questions to ask yourself before getting a puppy
1. Is everyone in your family ready for the responsibility of a dog?
Can you fit a dog into what could already be a busy lifestyle? Puppies need a huge amount of care and can be likened to having a newborn baby in the house. Even when this stage is over a dog will need a walk twice a day, every day, what-ever the weather. Is everyone happy with this? And what happens when you go on holiday or even out for the day? What will you do with your dog then? Are children ready to accept new rules regarding your puppy?
2. Have you somewhere local for good dog walks?
Ideally you need a range of walks to keep your puppy stimulated and to keep you from getting bored heading round the same walk day after day.
|One of our many dog walks|
3. Do you know what is involved in training a puppy?
Do you have both the knowledge and the time to train a puppy? You could always go to puppy classes so it's a good idea to check if there are any locally. Do you also know how to socialise your puppy with other dogs, other pets (especially cats) and children, if you have them? Are your children able to accept that the puppy is not a toy?
4. What about when the puppy is ill?
Do you think you would recognise when your puppy is ill and are you sure you can afford the vet bills and/or insurance? Did you know that some insurers refuse to cover dogs over a certain age or only with significant increases in the premiums and many policies have a limit on how much they will pay out? Improvements in veterinary care have been huge recently but treatment can be very expensive. And when the time comes will you be able to make that final decision? Oh and remember, your insurance won't pay for castration/spaying.
5. Do you know what and how much to feed?
Many dogs now suffer with being overweight and have bad teeth due to being fed the wrong diet. It might also be worth sitting down and calculating how much it will cost to feed a dog ... you may be surprised how much it is per year.
|NOT the ideal way to feed your dog!|
6. Are you immensely proud of your magazine-perfect house/garden?
Because, quite simply, a puppy will not have the same view and will see both your house and garden as a great play place with all sorts of
toysfurniture/plants etc as well as quite possibly chew, dig and relocate things all over the place.
7. Have you somewhere safe and quiet for the puppy to escape to for quiet time when it all gets too much for it?
Puppies and dogs need a bolt hole, somewhere that is totally their own where they can retreat when things all get too much for them. This is especially important if you have young children in the house or other pets who must all respect the puppy's need for it's own space sometimes.
|Dog corner at Eco-Gites of Lenault (when we had 4 visiting dogs to stay!)|
8 Are you OK with poo and wee ... ?
... because you are gong to get up close and personal with a lot of this over the coming years. And puke! Do you know how to house train a puppy and are you prepared to scoop poop for the rest of your dog's life?
9. Are you able to make yourself into the Alpha Male?
And do you even know what this means? Basically every single dog you see from a Great Dane to a Miniature Poodle is 99% wolf. Wolves are pack animals and each has their place in the pack with everyone being answerable to the Alpha Male. With your puppy YOU need to be that Alpha Male.
10. Do you know what questions you should be asking the breeder/rescue centre?
Once you are happy with all the above points and you have found what you think is your ideal puppy, there are plenty of questions you need to ask before buying. Please do search "questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy" for further information and do not buy without first being sure of what you are buying. Do you know the different needs and of different breeds ie:- terriers WILL dig, collies WILL herd and require lots of metal stimulation, dachshunds aren't good at agility etc. (Thanks JT for this last one). Be wise and do not buy the first puppy you see just because it is so cute.
Consider volunteering or fostering a dog first
After answering these questions you may realise you have things you need to learn before getting a puppy. How about volunteering at a local rescue centre to gain more experience? You could also foster dogs and there are many dog fostering schemes you can work with. In both cases you'll have plenty of support and can ask all the questions you need to.
Finally, you need to accept that you will make mistakes with your puppy and it's life with you will be far from the perfect image portrayed by the media! But if you are confident with what you are doing you will get over these setbacks and give your dog the fabulous home it deserves. In return you will have a friend for life!