Part one in our four part series on choosing the right puppy and tips on training for a happy dog and owner.
A Puppy - The Right Breed for you
Have you decided that you would like a new puppy? If you have and are in the midst of deciding which breed to bring into your home and your life then read on for some advice.
Perhaps you think that a puppy is a puppy, they are all the same, and that may be true until a certain age but every breed of dog has been genetically manipulated to perform a role. The role may even be something as simple as a human companion, for instance the Japanese Chin.
Some dogs, such as the maremma Sheepdog and Border collie, are bred to work with livestock by either guarding or herding them. Others, like the Siberian husky or Alaskan malamute, are bred as sled dogs. And then there is the terrier often bred for digging and ratting.
So when you are looking for a puppy the first thing to do is look into why the breed is here at all. Then take a look at breed traits and check whether these areas, which might develop as the dog grows, are something that you can deal with within your family. Also look at health needs and potential problems as the dog grows.
Interestingly, the other thing to research is how the ancestors of the breed were treated by human beings. This is because sometimes a breed of dog can have a natural trust of humanity, or to the opposite can have quite a nervous disposition. This is really sad and ideally every puppy that was born in the modern-day would have no need to be frightened of people.
If you have a specific breed in mind that you would like to bring home it’s important to check that you can meet its genetic needs. As an example, the Border collie often falls foul of lack of research into the breed, they are wanted for their good looks and natural train-ability, however many people that take on a collie puppy end up not being able to meet its needs.
There are specific collie rescue centres for this reason. And many collies are given up around adolescence because people can’t keep up with them. This breed of dog is so clever that disturbing behaviour can develop if they do not receive at least adequate mental and physical stimulation. So the lesson to learn here is to not decide the breed of dog that you would like to bring home - based purely on how it looks.
Another thing to remember is that dogs regardless of breed need training to become nicely behaved pets. They also need exercise, guidance and positive teaching throughout their puppy-hood and into their adult life. So if you know someone that has a specific breed of dog that is perfectly well-behaved don’t think that every other dog of that breed will be similarly perfect without training.
Most cross breed puppies can be recognised as being mostly one particular breed. If not they will usually be a mix of two therefore it’s important to research both breeds to try and get a feel for the dog’s nature.
Dogs and children
If you have children and live in a busy household it is important to ensure that your puppy will grow into that lifestyle, and will be happy in it. Some dogs enjoy children, most will if they learn to trust a child from puppy-hood and as long as the children are kind and gentle, with proper adult guidance, around the dog.
Dedicating some time to research will provide you with a good grounding before choosing a puppy. It really is not enough to decide on a breed without knowing anything about it, its general nature and its physical and mental needs. By reading up on the breed, maybe even using online forums, and learning about the puppy that you want you will certainly be making things easier when the little bundle arrives.
Finally and just a quick note - put some research into where the puppy is coming from. Puppy farmers keep parent dogs in horrific conditions and then sell puppies on for profit through classifieds both in newspapers and online, pet shops and sometimes even word-of-mouth. These puppies are often ill, is certainly not socialised and even at a young age will have learned to be scared.
It’s important that you get your puppy from either an ethical breeder - where you meet its parents and see the litter in a home environment gaining all the socialisation that he needs - or a good rescue centre both for your sake and for dog’s.
Next Time: Your New Puppy – Two Rules to Training Success