Getting a Puppy?

Eeeek! Exciting!

There are more than a few things you need to consider. How big will she grow? How much will everything cost through her lifetime? Where will you get her from? Have you got the time, money and commitment?

Which breed do you want and why? Because it’s a cute looking dog is a good start but consider the genetic traits of the breed. What purpose were they bred for? This is an important question because if they are a dog that was bred for sniffing, you’ll need to keep them satisfied with lots of sniffing walks and games. If they were bred for herding, you’ll need to provide some herding activities. Do they moult? Do they need lots of physical exercise? Do they need to visit the groomer regularly? Are they barkey? When they are fully grown, will you be able to hold them when they want to chase a squirrel across a road? Have you got an outside area? Do you live in a flat? Do your research. You don’t want to fall in love with your new family member, and you will fall in love, and find out can’t keep her for x, y and z reason.

Once you have decided on your chosen breed the next question is where will you get her from. It matters hugely how your pup has been cared for until you take ownership of her.

Not all breeders are the same. It’s very important to get your puppy from a reputable breeder who has carefully and continuously socialised the puppies to being comfortable in a ‘normal’ home with household noises, sights, smells, tastes and feels and handled the puppies at least a few times each day. It’s important that when the pups are fed it’s from a bowl each with a few extra bowls of food dotted around and not from one huge bowl that they share. This matters because puppies who have learned to climb over each other and struggle to get food are more likely to have food guarding issues. Whereas puppies who don’t have to struggle to get their meals will be more relaxed around food.

Puppies that have been kept in an enclosure away from the house have a disadvantage because they haven’t experienced a household atmosphere and therefore, may be more nervous when you take them into your home with all its sights, sounds and smells.

Puppies born to an anxious mother will be anxious themselves. This is huge disadvantage before you even start.  Another good reason to avoid puppy farms.

Very young puppies learn not to toilet in their sleeping quarters. A tiny puppy will learn to move away from their bed to toilet. This makes it very easy to toilet train them while they are still tiny and with their mother. However, I don’t know any breeders who do this yet. Wouldn’t it be great if they did?

Puppies have a peak socialisation period which ends at around 12-14 weeks of age. It’s essential that puppies are used to as many experiences as possible before the socialisation window closes. This will give the puppy the best possible start in her life. She’ll already be confident. Puppies that have been kept in separate buildings away from the house and not handled will have a disadvantaged start and are likely to be more anxious. However, if you collect your puppy before they are 12 weeks old, there is still time to carefully socialise them yourself before 12-14 weeks. Leaving their mother before they are 8 weeks old is not good. No reputable breeder would let the pups go before they are 8 weeks old.

These are just a few of the things you need to think about.

One more thing is how will you get your puppy to settle the first night she is away from her mother, her siblings, everything she has known? She will be terrified! She will cry. You need to settle her in as kindly as possible. Leaving her to cry in a dark, strange room won’t do it!

Many positive dog trainers, including me, will be more than happy to talk you through these things before you get your puppy. Give them a call. Getting a puppy is a big deal. Getting it right will help hugely.