The truth is, nothing really prepares you for the change - you’re welcoming a new member to the family! But amongst it all, it’s a great adventure full of responsibility, love, and excitement.
It’s important to organise yourself and your household to make sure you are prepared for anything. Puppy owners often spend months preparing for their new arrival – but what do you truly need to get organised for your cute new addition? Here are a few things people often forget about:
Research, research, research
A study published by the Kennel Club in 2017 shows that impulse puppy buying is a widespread problem. Of all the people interviewed, 20 per cent (one in five) admitted that they spent no time at all researching their puppy; by comparison, only 8 per cent would buy a pair of shoes equally on impulse.
We all have that one breed (or two breeds, or three or twenty) we absolutely love, be it for their looks or personality. It’s best to start out with a breed that suits your lifestyle. Breed types can be deceiving and that cute little pup could appear super hyper in comparison to your more relaxed lifestyle. Alternatively, you wouldn’t want a lazier dog for a more active person!
A great way to start research is online, but it’s always a good idea to get in touch with owners of the breed, breed clubs and visit and meet as much as you can. This way you can ask as many questions as you need, get to know breed disposition, the parents, the breeders and their exercise needs. – we all love talking about our dogs, so getting advice can be pretty easy!
A few things to keep in mind:
- How big is the dog going to grow? Is there room for a St. Bernard in your home and car?
- How much grooming will the dog need? Are you willing and able to groom the dog on your own, and if not, can you afford regular grooming services?
- How much exercise will you realistically be able to give your dog? A Border Collie or a Belgian Shepherd is very unlikely to cope well if they only get walked for twenty minutes two or three times a day and will probably demolish your living room in their boredom.
- How much time can you devote to your puppy's training and socialisation?
- Are your circumstances or lifestyle likely to change in the next decade or so? None of us can see the future, but if there is a good likelihood of that happening, you need to keep that in mind.
A healthy puppy can make all the difference from your pet insurance to the expenses for basics such as food and beds. Many breeds are prone to specific health conditions. For example, French Bulldogs usually have higher insurance costs due to the fact they are prone to Brachycephalic (short-nosed) Airway Obstruction Syndrome and are usually in need of further surgeries.
You need to be aware of what conditions your puppy may be predisposed to. Ask yourself if you can afford treatment if needed - insurance is your best investment here - and, of course, ensure that the parents of any puppy you buy have been health-screened and given the all-clear prior to breeding. Which brings us to the next big step: choosing the breeder.
Meeting the Parents
Recent laws and trends have put a stop to pet shop sold puppies and “puppy farming”. Puppy farming is usually the intensive breeding of dogs, usually kept in inhumane circumstances. The concerns with Puppy Farming is that most puppies are sold through third-parties, such as “Actor Houses” and are rarely raised with their mother or parents present. Puppies from these environments go on to develop health problems and behavioural issues.
This is why a lot of Breeders now focus on Kennel Club Assured programs, Veterinary Health Testing and screening and of course introduction to the mother of the pups. Usually, when visiting puppies you get the opportunity to see the environment in which they are raised (it should be a normal home environment).
Environments such as these are great to boost early stages of socialisation for puppies, which will affect them later in life. Breeders will be able to tell you more about both parents, the temperament of each puppy, breed personality traits and anything you could possibly ask. Sometimes a waiting list for rarer breeds is normal, but keep in mind the right puppy is well worth waiting for! Make sure you trust and feel confident in the breeder you meet and try and visit them more than once. Take note of the health and liveliness of the puppies, the mother, their eating requirements and the area in which they spend most of their time.
The Puppy Contract (https://puppycontract.org.uk) is an excellent guide to help you get started in bringing home a healthy, happy puppy to share your life with for many years to come.
Other things to consider:
It’s always a great idea to ask the Breeder and a vet the expected costs of certain breeds. Of course, risks can be minimised but it’s always a good idea to have some background knowledge of certain costings such as Annual vaccinations, beginning costs: ie. crates, beds, bowls, food, possible breed surgeries, chronic conditions and other health issues.