Time Needed

Dogs need time and attention and are not suitable if you work full-time away from the home, even if someone promises to pop in during the day. 

A puppy will be lonely and virtually impossible to house train.  A puppy cannot be taught to be house trained in a short break booked from work!

Bored, lonely dogs will chew destructively and probably be noisy as well which could cause complaints from neighbours.

Home Life

Dogs need a happy, secure, loving, and stress free environment to thrive and to develop into well balanced, confident adults.  They are just like a sensitive child!

Many dogs are re-homed because of partnership break-downs.  In the same way that having a child does not cure the ills of a bad partnership, nor does a dog!

Visualising the next few months, is it likely that you will be making changes in the household?  If you are likely to be moving house, having the builders in, travelling or starting a family, this is certainly not the right time to be taking on a dog.

Children in the Home?

Puppies are hard work, and if you already have your hands full looking after children you may find you have taken on too much when you add a puppy into the household!

Children MUST be taught that puppies are NOT toys - they need to be left to sleep and not be teased.  

Small children must never be left unsupervised with either a pup or even an adult dog.

Have you considered the costs involved when getting a dog?

Whilst most may budget for the cost of a pedigree puppy (as well as  the possible additional cost of transporting it to the Island) but often fail to appreciate the other costs involved. 

General things like good quality food, toys and bedding are obvious, but there are also many other possible costs to consider too..... Vet bills can be very high, and although they can be covered by insurance, this may not be cheap either.  Simply put if you can't afford the insurance, then you probably can't afford the dog, and don't forget that you should have third-party cover at the very minimum in case your dog gets away from you and causes a traffic accident, rampages through the neighbour's garden, or do many of the other things that could be an expensive cost for you to find the money for if you aren't covered!

What about the cost of kennelling when you are on holiday?  Have you found out about that  as well as the possibility that the car may need replacing if your current vehicle if it is not suitable for the dog. 

The list does tend to go on and on!  So don't forget to give these types of things some thought before it's too late!

Expectations of Dog Owners

Have you considered what is expected of you, the dog owner. Not only must you clean up after your dog in all public places, but you must be responsible for all your dog's actions, and keep it under control at all times.  Your dog additionally must be licensed every year.

Do you have a garden?

A securely fenced garden provides a safe area for play and exercise while a puppy is too young for long walks.  A garden is also essential for housetraining.

If you are a gardener with many adored plants and shrubs, be warned that dogs like to dig holes and chew anything remotely edible (or not!).

Precious plants should be protected, perhaps with mesh fencing and you will need to ensure that all poisonous plants have been removed.

Are you house proud?

If you have an immaculate house and hate mess, then a dog is probably not for you!

Puppies will have mishaps during housetraining and will chew whatever they can get hold of while teething and most dogs shed hair daily too!

What about Grooming?

Most breeds need regular grooming.  

Not doing this very regularly on a long-haired dog will develop a dirty, matted coat which is uncomfortable for the dog and looks unattractive.   Not grooming and allowing matts to form can also cause your dog pain and in severe cases even skin infections.

Some breeds may need professional trimming to keep the coat neat and tidy but even so regular brushing in most breeds is still needed between appointments.

Do you enjoy walking?

Although puppies shouldn't have too much exercise and certainly not long walks initially they will still need socialisation and all dogs need mental and physical stimulation and much of this needs to be done outside their own home. 

They need an owner who can offer plenty of opportunities for this important part of their up keep - in ALL weathers too!

Are you thinking of buying two puppies?

Think carefully!  Many people think that two puppies are company for each other but underestimate the work needed to train two puppies successfully.  Whilst two puppies may bond more with each other than their owner, they may be unable to cope if then needing to be separated.  Remember same-sex litter mates may fight as they get older. 

It is generally advised to be better to buy one puppy and then add another when the first is mature, at least twelve months later.

Have you considered the breed details?

Once you're sure that you have room in your life for a dog, you really should give much thought to the needs of the different breeds. 

Remember - ALL puppies are adorable BUT.... The variations in size, temperament, activity level, coat type, exercise needs, grooming and trainability are huge. 

The next step is to make sure that you choose the right breed of dog for your lifestyle, bearing in mind that most breeds have a typical 'personality'. 

Is the breed you are looking at strong-willed or easy going?  Do dogs of that breed tend to be friendly or reserved?  Is it a breed that is generally playful or usually disinterested when it comes to games?  Will the breed be dog-friendly or generally incompatible with other dogs?  Is it a breed known to be generally cat-friendly or generally intent on killing them!  Character wise is it a breed that is more affectionate or prefers to mainly stay aloof.

Have you found a litter to visit?

Make an appointment to see the litter and arrive at the given time. Most breeders will ask you to wait until the puppies are around one month old. Wear something suitable, ie jeans, and preferably shoes without laces! 

Normally, puppies in a litter will be alert and wanting to play!  However remember if the puppies have been recently fed they may be very sleepy.  Meet the dam, and also the sire (if the owner has both - if not, ask to see a photograph).  Satisfy yourself that the pups look healthy and are kept in clean conditions. You may be asked for a deposit to secure your puppy. Remember this may well be non-refundable.

Collecting your puppy

Once you have finally decided and booked your puppy, you will need to prepare suitable bedding, feeding items (check with the breeder which food to buy) some dog toys and grooming equipment.  Most breeders will provide you with a 'starter pack'. 

You may also wish to consider buying a collapsible crate for travelling and as safe sleeping quarters.  

Take someone with you when collecting your puppy, and take some old towels in case of travel sickness. The puppy will travel better on someone's lap in the back of the car but should be safely placed in to a crate if you are collecting it alone.

Make sure when paying for the puppy that you have received all the documents (pedigree, registration card, vaccination card etc).  Most breeders will have also insured the puppy for the first few weeks. 

Finally please remember to let the breeder know how the puppy has settled after a few days and should always be at the end of a telephone if you have any concerns.

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