Why did you choose me as your new dog?
Acquiring a dog is a big decision, and involves making a number of important choices. One of the first is whether to get a puppy or an older dog. Puppies are wonderful and so much fun, but they are also a lot of responsibility and hard work. A newly acquired puppy needs someone to be with it a good part of the day, so they can get to know their new family. The early months are also a very important training time. Someone needs to be there to educate and encourage the puppy to develop good behavior patterns, and it is vital that someone is around to take the puppy outside frequently before it is housebroken.
An older dog should already be housebroken, and may be quite happy left on it’s own for some of the time. However, it may have behavioral problems that are difficult to modify. These may be the result of a traumatic past, since many abused dogs have behavioral as well as physical problems. One big advantage of taking on a mature dog however, is that you already know how large the dog will grow up to be!
The Right Choice
To maximize the chances of a long and happy life with your new dog, try to choose a breed and temperament that fits your lifestyle.
Purebred or Mixed Breed
A purebred dog has parents of the same breed and will grow to resemble them in size and characteristics. It can be difficult to predict the actual size and temperament of a mixed breed puppy. Always ask to see the mother-the father is unlikely to be around. Find out as much as you can about your potential pets parents. Are they noisy, yappy, aggressive, friendly, inclined to run off? Can they be trusted with children? Other dogs?
Male or Female
Dogs and bitches can differ in size and character. The males of small breeds such as some terriers can be highly sexed, and the males of larger breeds tend to be bigger and more combative than females. Bitches are generally easier to train, but can become moody when they are in heat and can suffer from false pregnancies. Male dogs may wander in search of females.
What information did you get on my breed?
All breeds of dog have good traits and bad traits. Like humans, none is perfect. A veterinarian or breeder can supply information about the traits of a particular breed. They will also be able to tell you about possible hereditary disease problems, which are a important consideration with purebred dogs. If acquiring a purebred, be sure to see the health papers of the parents, for example, the results of eye teats and hip x-rays.