Do You Really Want To Own A Dog?
So you have decided to purchase a dog. Owning a dog can either be the beginning of years of happiness or the beginning of overwhelming responsibility for which you are not prepared.
Your first task is to ask yourself some serious questions to determine if you are ready to become a dog owner. Answer honestly to insure yourself, and your dog, the future you both deserve. Keep the following questions in mind as we go along.
Do I really want a dog?
Can I afford to keep a dog?
Do I have time to spend training, grooming, and exercising a dog?
Will a dog fit into my lifestyle and my home?
Have I ever owned a dog?
Is anyone in my family allergic to pets?
Will my landlord allow me to keep a dog?
Who will care for the dog? Feed, train, exercise, groom, take to the vet?
Where will I keep the dog?
Do I have a fenced yard?
Do I have children?
Do I know about training? Crate, obedience, Canine Good Citizen?
Why have I chosen to obtain a dog at this time?
Why have I chosen this breed?
On your visit to the breeder, be sure to look for the following:
Ø Are the premises clean?
Ø Can you meet at least one of the pups parents?
Ø Do the pups appear healthy, friendly, outgoing?
Ø Does the breeder willingly share information about care & training of the breed?
The Breed For You
Is there a breed you have had your eye on, or are you confused about how to select a dog? In either case, you should do some homework to make sure that you select the right dog for you and your family.
The American Kennel Club's Complete Dog Book can help you begin your research with its pictures and descriptions of each breed recognized by the AKC. Your initial research will help you narrow the field when it comes to selecting the breed for you and your lifestyle.
Remember to consider your dogs lifestyle too. And for extended research, consult the resources at your local library.
While investigating, always be honest with yourself. The Bearded collie you fell in love with because of his lush coat is indeed beautiful, but are you going to be able to brush this coat every day as it requires? Maybe a short coated dog better suits your busy lifestyle.
Think about the size of your house or your apartment. Will that Golden Retriever be happy in your studio apartment? The Golden Retriever is a larger sporting dog who requires a lot of exercise. Do you have a fenced yard so he can go out safely? If not, can you afford to install a fence? These are crucial questions regarding the safety of your dog and being a responsible neighbor.
Always remember, it is okay to change your mind about which breed you want or if you want the responsibility of owning a dog at all, Before You Buy a Dog.
Talk to breeders. Ask them lots of questions; we all know there are no stupid questions. A responsible breeder will eagerly answer your questions and share his or her experience and knowledge with you.
Where can you find breeders and see dogs? At dog shows. Also contact AKC clubs in your area for their recommendations.
Selecting A Breeder
Buy your puppy from a responsible and well-respected breeder. This cannot be stressed enough. Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed. For example, they work on breeding out hereditary diseases such as hip dysplasia, blindness and deafness. Your AKC breeder referral contact will direct you to a breeder who is concerned with the health and welfare of the puppy.
Once you select a breeder, screen the breeder. Ask to see at least one of the parents (the dam or the sire) of your puppy. See how the dogs in your breeders home interact with your breeder. Are they friendly and outgoing or do they shy away? The responsible breeder will be screening you too, looking for the best home for each puppy.
How Much Does A Puppy Cost?
This is not the time to hunt for a bargain. Your new puppy will be a member of your family for his lifetime, upward of seven years, so you'll want to make a wise investment. Ask several breeders about cost to get an estimate of the market rate.
Can You Afford A Puppy?
The purchase price of your puppy is not the only cost you have to consider. Be aware that the puppy you bring home will need proper care: food, health care, (a dog needs annual shots), and when old enough, your puppy should be spayed or neutered. Your puppy will also need little things like a collar with identification, a bowl, and a leash. Evaluate your budget; ask yourself if you really can afford a dog.
Take the time to ask yourself these questions and to make an educated decision. You and your dog will be happier for it. There is no doubt that a puppy is a cuddly bundle of joy, but it is also a huge responsibility.
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