Thinking About A New Puppy?
When thinking about a new puppy, there are a few basic questions that you need to answer before diving in. These questions can really help a prospective owner decide on which breed will suit them the best.
1. What are the traits and personalities of the breed I am looking at?
2. How much exercise will the puppy need?
3. What food should I feed the puppy?
4. Are there any good trainers in the area?
5. What types of toys should I provide?
6. What type of bedding should I give to the puppy?
7. How should I train the dog, especially in those important first few weeks?
There are far too many puppies that end up in rehoming centres or being sold on after a few months due to poor choices made by their original owners, these choices are usually related to the breed chosen and poor training from the outset.
Preparing well in advance can help make sure that the puppy grows into a fitting member of the household, and not just a naughty dog.
Find A Good Training School
Finding a good training school for you and your new puppy should be near the top of your list. Old school trainers usually suggest training to start from 6 months as they use harsh and aversive methods and puppies under 6 months would not be able to withstand these. Almost all training schools in this area teach reward based training methods, which is gentle and enjoyable for the puppy, these are the types of schools you should choose. Most good classes will allow you to sit in and watch before choosing them, along with speaking to the trainer.
I would recommend searching on APDT, IMDT or the Kennel Club websites for local trainers registered with them. These trainers must complete a practical exam with the companies before being listed, so you know these can be trusted.
Choose A Suitable Breed
Choosing the correct breed is extremely important when picking a puppy. A Jack Russell, for instance, are known for their enthusiasm for life, but this will also include chasing anything that moves for as far as possible. Although they are extremely intelligent, they can also be extremely boisterous, headstrong and determined that his way is the only way. My Jack Russell is an exception to these rules, she is extremely easy to train and very lazy in the house. Knowing about the breed before buying can help know which breed is best for your household. Labradores for example are great with kids, gentle and affectionate, easy to train and love to please their owners but due to them being a working breed they do require a lot of exercise.
Greyhounds are gentle and loving dogs, and can be easy to train. However, if they see a small animal such as a cat, they will usually chase and try to kill once caught, regardless of recall training.
Springer Spaniels are great family dogs. They are happy, fun, intelligent and loving dogs. They are a breed which is easy to train (except on leads in my experience), and also great with children. However, and untrained springer will follow a scent until they are good and ready to come back.
Although Border Collies are very popular dogs, I would not recommend getting one if you are a first time owner. Collies are extremely intelligent, high energy working dogs. Without an awful lot mental stimulation and exercise, they will develop behavioural issues and often turn snappy.
When choosing a puppy, you should try and choose one that has been brought up in a house, around people and other dogs, along with all the sounds that come with a homely environment. These dogs will have started socialisation along with the habitual process and house training.
There are plenty of crossbreeds available, so when you choose a dog you should create a shortlist and ensure the dog you choose match breeds from the list.
You can check out these 2 websites that will match you to a dog breed, although when I tried the first one of them for myself, I hadn't even heard of any of the dogs suggested! All I wanted was for one of the sites to tell me to get a German Shepherd or a Collie, which neither did.... sigh....
Socialisation and Training
The first 14-16 weeks of the puppies life are crucial. Everyday the puppy should be introduced to new items, surroundings, people and dogs. Dont for