Many people feel romanticized when they get a new house or start to have a family. They feel like getting a dog or a puppy rounds off the whole equation. It is a wonderful feeling when you get to that point in your life when you want bring a dog into your home. Others might have just lost their favorite best friend and want to find a “canine replacement” as part of the grieving process. So off they go to the breeder or the shelter. Well here are a few points to keep in mind before you get that first dog or replace your long lost friend.
Do......research on training a dog or puppy. If you are an experienced dog owner, you’d be surprised how the concept of dog training has completely changed. If you have never owned a puppy before, realize that it will not only take lots of time training but lots of time just keeping an eye on your puppy much like tending to a toddler.
Don’t ....get another dog of the same breed thinking your are going to get the same personality of the dog you just lost. In this case, dogs are like people and can have vastly different personalities. In my experience, no dog of the same breed has had the same personality. To add to that, many people who have lost their canine loved ones don’t realize that when their dog died, it was likely older and much more well adjusted and mature. It comes as a shock to them when all of a sudden they have a barky, nippy or crazy puppy on your hands.
Do....consider adopting a rescued dog or puppy. Shelters and rescues are brimming with adoptable dogs and puppies. When you do go to the shelter and there is a dog that you are interested in, spend at least an hour with the dog. If you have another dog at home, that pooch should meet your potential adoptee in neutral territory(not at home).
Don’t...adopt two dogs or puppies at once unless you are an experienced dog owner and are well versed in dog training. Some people think the puppies are so cute, “let’s just get two of them.”
Don’t.....choose a dog by breed alone. You have to take into account the temperament of that individual dog in which you are interested. Breed can determine certain drives and instincts but not necessarily determine whether the dog will get along with the cat or your kids.
Do...think twice about getting any dog when you have very young children and if you must, choose very carefully. To many dogs, children can be a threat. They have unpredictable movements that can greatly put a dog on edge. Educate your kids as to how to properly approach and care for a dog. Puppies are a great choice if you have very young children. However, you should get a puppy at a young age between 8 and 12 weeks. That way they will socialize well to children. If you wait and get the puppy much older than that, then they tend to have more “baggage” in the form of fear and lack of socialization, which could be a recipe for disaster.
Don’t ...go it alone. Always invest in several lessons with a certified trainer. Whether you are an experienced dog owner or a novice, the field of dog training has changed. A qualified trainer can save you lots of headaches by sharing with you a plethora of new information that you were probably unaware of. That person can also possibly save you money if you have a dog that ends up being destructive in the form of separation anxiety or clumsy and boundless energy. It is well worth the small investment just to get you off on the right foot.