PURCHASING THE RIGHT DOG
So You Want a Puppy
Shortly after your purchase,
you discovered that the puppy who seemed fine in the pet store had an acute
respiratory infection. Your first weeks with your new puppy were a blur
of expensive vet appointments, medications and countless hours nursing
your puppy back to health. Not to mention the recriminating glances from
your spouse, who hadn't even been consulted about the new addition.
You made the classic mistake of an impulse
purchase and now regrets your rash decision. If you had done a little research
you would not only have known to avoid purchasing a pet store puppy, but
you would also have discovered that getting a dog was not a responsible
decision based upon your current lifestyle. Unlike a mismatched lamp or
a faulty refrigerator, a puppy cannot be easily returned or exchanged.
Do You REALLY Want a Puppy? So, you say that
you want a puppy, but are you thinking with your heart and not your head?
Are you truly ready for the trials and tribulations of a tiny terror invading
your home? As wonderful as puppies are, they also involve a great deal
of work, a hefty investment of time and money, as well as the patience
of a saint. In short, a puppy means responsibilities: Spending time socializing
and training your puppy so that he or she grows up to be a well mannered
dog. Getting up in the middle of the night to take little Puddles out for
walks. Getting up again... and again... Cleaning up the puddles left by
Puddles. Taking off work for veterinarian appointments. Spending hundreds
of dollars for vet appointments, food, medicine and all the other "incidentals"
in being a pet parent. Realizing that there will be no more carefree, spontaneous
vacations. Your vacations will have to revolve around the availability
of boarding or pet sitting
providers. Accepting torn cushions, chewed shoes and stained carpet
as a way of life. Even if you have the patience and love to put up with
all the changes and challenges that a new puppy will bring, are you and
your family willing to care for a dog for the 10-15 years that he or she
will be a member of your family, even when your puppy is no longer cute
and cuddly? One of the most important factors to consider is whether your
lifestyle has room for a dog. Will the dog be alone in an apartment all
day or will there be someone at home? Does your significant other want
a dog? Have you or any member of your family ever lived with a dog before?
If not, spend some time interacting with dogs! Baby sit a friend's dog
while they go on vacation or visit a house with doggie family members.
You would be surprised at how many people bring home a new dog only to
find out later that hubby is allergic or little junior is absolutely petrified
of dogs. You may have the desire, but think honestly about whether you
have the ability to provide an appropriate environment for a dog. Now that
you have considered it a bit more, perhaps you've decided that you are
not ready to bring a dog into your home. Wonderful! That is one less pet
who will be abandoned because someone didn't think carefully about the
commitment involved in bringing a dog into their family. You can still
satisfy your puppy urges by volunteering at a shelter, where you will get
all the unconditional doggie love you can handle! If you still want to
get a puppy after reading the above, then congratulations! You are about
to embark on a wonderfully rewarding, yet challenging, adventure. Now the
real work begins. Don't think of this process as simply "getting a dog"
- you are adopting a family member that will be with you for life. By doing
some research and making your decision carefully, your story will have
a happy ending. Click here for What's
A Few Hints on Selecting a Dog
The initial visit should be as objective as possible.
your very first visit to the dog source, it is wise to leave the children
Don't make a same day decision.
Remember, think about it like buying a car, not like picking up a
candy bar in the supermarket check-out aisle.
Don't buy a dog as a "surprise" for someone
else. Imagine how you would feel if someone else surprised you by
choosing a new roommate for you. A dog is a very personal choice.
After you have surveyed the situation, bring
entire family to meet a dog to make sure the dog fits in well with
everyone. Some places will even allow you to bring along an
existing family pet.
Know the general breed traits for which
the breed (or breeds) was selected for over the years (hunting, running,
chasing vermin, herding) -- these instincts will be very strong
in a purebred dog.
Ask about the dog's background. Try
to determine the dogs' experiences with humans and other dogs.
Section on Temperament
Below is a check list for you (printable version click
and some things to think about before purchasing a new
|Are you sure the Rat Terrier is right for you
|Have you determined your purpose for the kind of dog you
|Have you found out what the breed is all about - temperament, care
involved, size, health issues, length of hair, companion, hunter, guard
|Are you willing to dedicate commitment, time and expense for
a lifetime- do you have time to housebreak, train, be prepared for regular
vet checks, illness etc.
|Can you provide a secure environment to protect your dog
with a fenced yard or pen or responsible leash walking
|Have you talked to breeders about the dog
|Have you avoided Pet Stores and Brokers
|Have you researched the breeds history and understand what
the dog was bred for
|Are you, your kids or anyone in the family allergic to
|If this is to be a family dog is everyone in agreement
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
|Reasons why not to select a breed:
"It's cute and I love the way it looks" or "It's for my kid" or "Everyone
says to get a ... they are a great family dog."etc.
|A registered dog
is: A registered dog, be it AKC, UKC, CKC, etc., simply means
that it's parents (and their parents) are also registered with the same
registry. This confers no merit in of itself, it simply means that the
dog's parentage is known.
Most registries do not make
any assertions of quality in the dogs they register (except for some limited
breed-only registrations, but these are uncommon). They do not restrict
the breeding of their dogs and hence there is no guarantee that a registered
dog is a good specimen of its breed.
If Your Still Interested This Is For You
Choice of Size
Choice of Color/Markings
Where to find a breeder
Newspapers, Internet, Dog Magazines, Breed Clubs and Shows
Choice of Breeders