So, it’s May, and there are all kinds of babies being born. Chicks are hatching, baby turtles are coming up for air, kittens are plenteful, and of course, dogs are having puppies. Spring has sprung, and so have the baby animals.
- First and foremost, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! This is very important! I’ve seen all kinds of families with all kinds of dogs. Laid back people go out and get high energy dogs, and then complain about how they can’t get the dog under control. Labs are the most popular breed in America right now, but that doesn’t mean everyone should own one. Labs are very needy! They need lots of excercise, attention, and mental stimulation. You can not expect to get a lab, only to have it laze around the house. When they are pups, they can be very high strung. I don’t know how many private lessons I’ve had where the people had labs destroying their back yards because they just wanted the things mechioned above and the owners weren’t providing it. On the other hand, I"ve seen very active people with Basset Hounds that wonder why all the dog does is laze around. You have to be honest with yourself, what kind of person are you, how active are you, and how much will your dog be going out with you? Will your dog have a job around the house? Will your dog be around other people a lot? Ask yourself these questions before doing research into the breeds you are wanting. Check out Doggy Times II for breed standards and temperaments.
- Once you have picked a dog to match your personality, then it is time to do your research on where to get the dog. Is it purebred? If yes, then you will need to search out and research different breeders and breed rescue groups for your breed. This includes intervewing the breeders, finding people that have purchased dogs from them and asking how their experience was. Good breeders will never mind you asking to speak with their clients, they usually always keep in touch with them throughout the dog’s life. When you’ve found one you know is reputable and trustworthy, then schedule a time to go out and see the dogs.
- Avoid puppy mills! You know it is a potential puppy mill puppy if you purchase it from a store, or if it is a breeder that specializes in multiple breeds. Some people just breed dogs to make money, this is wrong! The dogs are not properly taken care of. Reputable breeders spend every cent they make on their dogs on their dogs and generally only breed one breed of dog to better the breed. They do not make profits off of their dogs to pay the bills. Also watch out for rescue shelters, some are great, some are poor. You’ll know the difference when you enter to see the dogs. Good shelters are clean and the dogs are happy. Poor shelters are filthy and the dogs are anxious, sick, and/or scared to death. The animals lack exercise and mental stimulation. A good shelter will have behaviorists that evaluate the temperament of their dogs before being put up for adoption. Those that are not ready will be rehibilitated. The good shelters will rescue dogs from the poor shelters, and are no kill facilities.
- When you are with the puppies, you’ll need to find the one whose personality stands out to you. Which one has the traits you are looking for? For example, if you need a dog to retreive, which one retreives the best? Don’t just pick the first dog that runs up to you, or the one with the prettiest markings (unless you plan to show this dog). You really want this dog to click with your personality, so choose wisely.
When you get you puppy home, there is more work to be done. You need to know where you puppy will sleep, make sure your house is puppy proofed, and that there is plenty of water and the right kind of food. You may even want to start training you puppy. Puppies can begin training as young as 8 weeks old. Remember, the first weeks with your new puppy will determine your relationship, so make them fun and meaningful. Make sure your puppy learns that you are incharge by staying consistent with your rules. Also, keep in mind that play is very important to canine development. Through play, dogs learn how to deal with certain physical situations, the rules of the environment, and how to be social. With out play, your dog will become unbalanced. Play also helps to build the bond you need to have a good relationship with your puppy and adult dog. So have fun!