By Ken Charles
Think about it first.
1) Why do you want a dog? It may be that you have recently lost a dog to illness or old age and she has left a blank space that you need to fill. If your children are now grown up and moved away, it may be that you need a new companion, who will also ensure that you get out and take plenty of exercise.
Perhaps you would like a big dog, to help you feel more secure in your home.These factors will help you to decide what breed of dog will be most suitable and also whether it should be an adult dog or a puppy.
2) You need to decide which breed of dog will suit your situation. There is such an enormous choice among all the different breeds. Will it be a large hound or a small terrier, a German Shepherd or a Bichon Frise? Will the size of the dog and the size of your home be compatible? You may decide not to get a pure bred dog but may find the ideal companion at the local Rescue Centre. This would certainly save you a lot of money.
3) If you decide to get a rescue dog, be aware that it may come with problems from a previous unsuitable owner. On the other hand, such a dog may be so grateful for a happy, loving home that it will turn out to be the ideal companion.
Dog breeders can vary from the superb to the criminal. Some are little more than puppy farms, with unhygienic quarters and indiscriminate breeding. Refer to your local breed society to find a reputable breeder and be sure to check the pedigree of the parents and the Kennel Club registration.
4) Who will train the dog and how? Will you take your dog to training classes, or employ a professional trainer? Are there other members of the family who could share in this necessary exercise. Perhaps you can do it yourself, with the aid of one of the excellent training courses which are available online.You must be prepared to devote time and patience to training your dog, to get the very best from your relationship.
5) Who will take most responsibility for the dog’s welfare? Will it all fall on you? You need to consider feeding, exercise, training and possibly grooming. Can you depend on promises of help from the kids and other members of the family, once the novelty has worn off?
If, on the other hand, you are now living alone, the trust and demands of a new dog in your life could be the very best thing to lighten your days!
6) Separation anxiety can be a big problem for a new puppy or an adult dog. He has suddenly been plunged into a new, strange environment and, in the case of a puppy, been taken away from his mother and siblings.
If the dog is then left alone in the home for long periods of the day, look out! He will be frightened and then bored and may resort to chewing and other destructive behavior, or keep up endless barking or whining, much to the annoyance of neighbors. And you may return home to a disaster zone!
7) Food. In the wild, your dog was a meat eater. Making sure that he gets a suitable diet, with all the correct nutrition is vital to his health and well-being. Just feeding him leftovers from your dinner table is not sufficient. Did you know that garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs?
Several vets and other authoritative sources have issued serious warnings that some commercial dog foods are potentially lethal, as they contain substances which are banned from human consumption. Visit the link at the bottom of this page for the full report.
8) Consider the cost of owning a dog. For a start, buying a pure bred dog with a good pedigree can be pretty expensive. He will need an initial health check with the vet and possibly you may want to have him micro-chipped. Whilst you are at the vet’s, you may want to get an idea of his normal fees, which should send you looking for pet insurance.
Once you’ve covered all that, there is the continuing cost of food, toys, collars, leashes, training and possibly a crate or kennel.
Get the right dog and he’s worth every penny!
http://allabout-dogs.co.uk covers all aspects of dog ownership, including dog training, dog breeds, dog health, dog food and dog supplies