Before You Choose Your New Puppy
For many people, choosing the right puppy can be a difficult task. There are so many questions to ask yourself before you purchase your new family member. Please take time to consider each of these before going on to choose a specific breed that will fit.
1. Are there allergies in the family, or people who visit your home often? Allergies can come from the dander, or even dog saliva!
2. Even with no allergies in the home, do you want a shedding dog? Note: not all non-hypoallergenic dogs shed visible amounts of hair
3. Are there children in the home? And if so, what ages?
4. What breeds are best with children?
5. How big will the dog grow? How much space in your home/yard?
6. How much time do you have to walk/care for the dog?
7. Is someone home during the day if you do not wish to crate train a dog?
8. Do you have the time to properly socialize and train your new pet?
9. Do you have the funds to properly feed and care for your new dog? (think vet costs, grooming costs if non-shedding dog, food costs (larger dogs require more food = more $), dog training classes/obedience training, toys (need not be expensive!), leash/collar/dishes etc
10: How active is your lifestyle? Can the dog accompany you or will you leave the dog alone? Is this a breed who likes to be active, or prefers to be more lazy around the home?
There can be many different breeds that will fit each lifestyle. For example, non-shedding hypo-allergenic dogs now come in toy size to large sizes, as well as more sedentary or active. Some require very little space in your home/yard, where other breeds will need enough space to run in a yard, on top of daily walks! Some dogs will eat very little so would cost less for feeding, however grooming costs could add up over a year! Some dogs will do wonderful with children big or small, however other dogs would be better in a home with adults only.
The purchase of a dog requires much careful thought and consideration, and should never be a spontaneous decision. Think about the average life span of most dogs as being 10+ years! That is quite a long commitment you are about to make! Let it not be too hastily made.
Once you have narrowed down your choice, there are again some questions to consider.
1) How old of a dog do you wish to add to your home?
There are many older dogs available at shelters as well (**see note below on shelter adoption** ) from families who can not keep them, for whatever reason. Puppies should not be leaving their siblings/littermates earlier than 8 weeks of age. The ideal age for a puppy to join its new family is between 8-14 weeks, as this is an important time of learning for them.
2) Has the puppy been well socialized with a human family?
This is important for the puppy. Socialization with children is a wonderful thing, however this can also be learned after adoption. Socialization with older dogs is also a good thing, though not necessary. Once the puppy is adopted, proper socialization will be one of the most important parts of training your dog – it can’t be emphasized enough!
3) Is the dog up-to-date with vaccinations, dewormings (worming), and had a thorough vet check?
Your question maybe: How many shots/needles does a puppy need? Your puppy will require 3 needles in their first year. The first one must be done before you adopt your new puppy (between the age of 6-8 weeks is normal, however closer to 8 weeks is ideal) They must be given 1 month apart (roughly 8 weeks of age, 12 weeks of age, and 16 weeks of age) then they will not need to see the vet for 1 full year for regular checkups. A rabies needle will be given at roughly 4 months (16 weeks) old and is mandatory for the puppy’s well-being, as well as for the safety of other dogs and humans as well. If the puppy has not had a vet checkup, regular dewormings and first needle – do NOT buy the puppy!
When considering a shelter, please be aware that the history of most dogs will not be known! They often will require a lot of extra care and responsibility! Most will require vigorous training to adjust to a new home. Be aware that if you have young children, or are planning a family within a few years, it is advisable NOT to go to a shelter, as there have been many safety issues in these cases. For those who are able and willing, always check out your local shelters (and further if you can) to help give these dogs the lives they are so deserving of!!!