Buying A Dog

Taking on a dog as a pet is a big commitment and should not be taken lightly. It will need attention, training, routine veterinary treatment, grooming and daily care and exercise.

Owning a dog is a lot like raising a child and in many ways requires the same commitment – they need attention, care, love, training and most of all – time and companionship. A dog views its owner(s) as its pack or “family” and it important that the owner(s) accept the dog as a family member in the same way.

Although some dogs are fairly independent and happy to amuse themselves for periods of time, they are sociable animals and so it is not ideal to get a dog if it is going to be left alone all day throughout the week while owner(s) are at work and/or school. Some dogs left alone regularly for long periods of time can become bored and this can often lead to destructive or anti-social behaviour.

A dog will require daily care for 10-15 years – too many dogs are already waiting to be rehomed through no fault of their own. This may be due to changes in the previous owner’s circumstances, a wearing off of the novelty of dog ownership, a lack of time for the dog or some other reason. Just as anyone would give careful consideration to their circumstances, lifestyle, commitment, time etc before starting a family, buying a dog should be considered in the same way.

Buying a Puppy from a Breeder

If buying a puppy the best place always to buy is directly from a reputable breeder.

The advantages of buying from a reputable breeder is that breeding has usually been carefully planned and thought through with regard to producing robust, healthy dogs of good temperament. Many breeders will also offer some form of guarantee contracting to take the dog back if not suitable. Unfortunately the same cannot always be said for puppies sold in pet shops or those that have come from “puppy farms” where dogs are bred in mass numbers for the pet market.

Many breeders of pedigree dogs also show their dogs and so breed towards producing a good healthy show dog with a view to keeping one or two themselves so quality and temperament is of vital importance when planning the breeding.

Although breeders of show dogs specialise in breeding pedigree dogs, there are also owners who have bred their pet dogs and produce cross breed or pedigree puppies. These may be the result of a planned or unplanned pregnancy but the pups have usually been well cared for and brought up in a family environment and so most often make very suitable pets and will be less expensive to purchase than a pedigree show dog.

Buying a dog direct from the breeder means that there is the opportunity to see the parents and know the date of birth of the puppy that it is intended to purchase.

Unfortunately not all private breeders are reputable – there are small time breeders who, whilst not “commercial” take on dog breeding as a financial hobby and as such their main aim is financial gain and not their production of healthy and well mannered pups. These breeders specialise in popular pedigree dog breeds but do not show their dogs and they or their dogs are most often not registered with any breed club. If buying a pedigree dog from someone who regularly offers puppies for sale and yet is not registered with any breed club it is wise to ask for contact details of a previous purchaser or two with a view to contacting them about their purchase to ensure that the puppy purchased remained of good health and temperament. Unfortunately many such breeders may not keep records of previous purchasers and without this it is not easy to assess the quality of puppies they are producing for sale.

Buying a Puppy or Dog from a Rescue Home

Another option when seeking a dog as a pet is to obtain a dog from a rescue home. Many dogs, both puppies and older dogs, unfortunately become abandoned or homeless through no fault of their own every year.

Rescue homes usually assess the dog’s behaviour on arrival and often carry out remedial training if needed before offering for rehoming. Therefore dogs offered are usually very suitable and loving pets. The advantage of an older dog is that basic training has already been carried out and so in this respect these dogs are easier to care for than taking on a puppy.

Rescue homes often have both pedigree and cross breed dogs available but the dog’s background or exact breeding details are often not know. However, unless the intention is to show or breed then rescue dogs should be considered.

Depending on the rescue organisation they may require the completion of a series of forms, interviews or even a home visit to assess suitabilty as a potential dog owner. Their primary concern is to ensure the correct placement of the dogs in their care with a suitable new owner.

Buying a Puppy from a Pet Shop

Sometimes puppies are available in pet shops. These puppies are unlikely to have come from a reputable show breeder and are most likely to have come a pet owner with an unplanned pregnancy or from commercial puppy farms. There is some risk as to whether these puppies will be of good temperament or health as the parents cannot be seen and often little or no information can be given about their background or breeding.

It is no fun buying a unhealthy, weakly puppy and then dealing with the problems this presents afterwards – it can cause a lot of heartache so it is essential to find a good healthy puppy. Should any pet shop or the health of the puppies for sale cause concern they can be reported to an Animal Welfare organisation or local authority if the conditions warrant it.
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