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Thinking of having a puppy?

CleoEach year about this time I get lots of questions about puppies, people wanting advice. What do they do? Where do they look? What should they look for? I can only pass on my own thoughts after my years of living with doggies.

First ask yourself some questions...

• Can I afford to support a dog through thick and thin for its whole life?
• Do I have the time to spend with that dog to exercise and care for it?
• Is my home suitable for a dog?
• Will the dog be home alone or will there be someone at home all day with it?
• Will there be time to train, groom and generally care for it?

Pups and dogs can easily knock over a child, because of their size and exuberanceVery young children and big dogs are not recommended as pups and dogs can easily knock over a child, not on purpose but just because of their size and exuberance. Never ever leave a dog with children unsupervised. 

Our first doggy came from the PDSA, way way back over 40 years ago. The problem was as bad back then with so many rescued. We caught a bus for a 30 min drive to the PDSA, chose our Manchester Terrier and must have bought him home on a bus as we had no car. So many years ago. He had run away from his last 5 homes, he was 10 months old and a real character. We had him with us till he was 19 years old, yes he came with issues, yes he did escape through the cat flap a few times, never lost that issue and could never be walked off a lead. BUT he was amazingly healthy!

So first and foremost unless you are a ‘breed specific’ person please visit the rescue homes. They have doggies of all ages, gorgeous puppies just waiting for you to visit. All these doggies need is to find lots of TLC and a forever home. Equally do not over look the oldies in the rescue homes....no toilet training and perhaps quieter, they just want some love, food and attention.

Back to puppies, so often these pups are found in crazy places, dustbins, parks and kind people pick them up and take them to safety. Sometimes the Mum is with them this will give the pups more security but obviously there is then a Mum to find a home for as well. When visiting the rescue homes just try and make sure that the pup has some form of vaccines and is free from parvo/distemper ect. If it is not possible to be sure it may be a precaution just to get the tests done before taking the pup home. That way the pup can be treated. Pups often develop upset tummies on a move to a new home in any case - the stress of the move, different surroundings and food etc. All these babies need is food, warmth and loads of love, they will repay with a lifetime of loyalty and unconditional love.

A donation to the rescue who have cared for your puppy is always greatly appreciated. These rescue homes live a life on the edge with money.

A pedigree pet
If you decide to go down the pedigree path then you will be paying for your puppy. It is worth doing some investigation, in depth, into the breed you are choosing. This has been made so much easier now with the internet. Simple really, it’s not a good idea to choose a thumping large Serra or OES like Cassie or even a PWD if you live in a small place. Yes it can work if you are around all day, ground floor with easy walks but it can be difficult with the energetic dogs.

Think long and hard if you are out at work all day, dogs do get bored and will then amuse themselves----sadly damaging what we leave in the house. If you have an outside space and kennel for them, consider the position. Is the kennel in the shade all day? Is it possible for water to be in the shade all day? Can they get out of garden? Personally I would never leave my dogs in the garden alone when I am out, but not everyone has a choice in this. Dogs are brilliant at escaping, over or under the fencing. If jumping walls they can damage themselves as well to add to the problems.

Once you are sure of what breed you want then it is time for the more in depth research. Those of you who know me well know I have had my fair share of heartache with some of my doggies and it has made me very cautious.

So, what I am saying really is best to find out what the breed may be prone to using various web pages, then check to see that the parent’s of your puppy have been tested to rule this out. Ask the breeder. The best breeders will always do the tests that are recommended and they will not object if you ask to see proof. In fact many breeders are now offering that information ‘up front’ which is wonderful. If being sold as a pedigree then the parents they will be registered as such, you must ask to see the pedigree papers. You will be paying a price for pedigree---if not registered tested ect you should not pay the same price obviously. The list of tests is far too comprehensive for me to list here. But for the health of the dogs the tests need to be done. Not all of us can afford to bring home a pup and spend the next 10 years traumatised over Vets bills.

Never buy a puppy from a Pet Shop, from the Internet, or meet up with someone in a car park.

It took me two years of research before choosing my Beardie and all my OES. I am still good friends with all the wonderful breeders. Even though I lost my Beardie in 2005 I am still in regular contact with his breeder---that is the way it should be. All of these were in the UK. Breeders will be open and so happy to talk about their dogs and puppies, they have no doubt spent much money, time and effort to get to the pup you see in front of you.

Word of mouth is honestly the best way to find the best breeder, bad news does travel as well as good. It is imperative to see the pups in their home environment, with their parents. Are the parents relaxed and happy?, Are the parents in ‘good’ condition, shiny coats, relaxed. Is the home environment relaxed and happy? You can tell if a dog is unhappy by its demeanour. Are eyes clear and bright, tail wagging or are they sat cowering in a corner jumping at every voice. Yes we all want to take them all home but we can’t sadly! Are the pups socialised, for instance, not frightened, used to house, people, children, even other dogs and cats.

At the end of the day, once we have all been down the check list, done the research, then that is all we can do. Chose your breed, chose your breeder, remember that good breeders will check you out and sometimes they will not allow a pup to go to some people, as a good breeder needs to know their pup will be safe.

All we are looking for is to have a long life of fun with our furry companions. Everyone wants something different from their furry friend, I personally like furry dogs as is obvious!! But they cause me lots of work and friends with sleek coated dogs often think I am mad to want all this fur!

Jan Cobley
Paws 4 Pets

T: 916 273 376
W: www.paws4pets.net 

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