You’ve decided that you want a puppy, and now it’s time to find out just what kind of puppy you want and what kind of owner you would be. Don’t choose a puppy on a whim, make sure you’re prepared for what being a responsible dog owner entails, and do some research on what kind of dog would fit in best in your home. Ask yourself these questions before you decide on a pet.
1. Do you have a family or plan to start one?
If you have children or plan to start a family, you need to make sure you choose a puppy that is child-friendly.
2. Are you active or a couch potato?
Some dogs need a lot more exercise than others. Be honest with yourself about how often and how long you can exercise your dog.
3. Do you have other pets?
If you already have dogs or cats, you need to make sure the new puppy would get along with the other pets.
4. Do you travel frequently?
If your dog is going to be alone for long periods of time, you need to make sure you have someone who can check on your dog and look after it. Puppies need a lot of attention and need to be fed often.
5. Does your home have enough space?
Larger dogs need more space than smaller ones. If you live in a complex or have a small garden, you should consider a small dog.
6. Can you afford it?
Puppies are expensive, even if you adopt one from a shelter. You have to consider food bills, inoculations, sterilisation, grooming and training.
Obtaining a puppy from a breeder
If you want a pure breed puppy, do your homework to find the best breeder. They should be able to tell you about the puppy’s family tree, energy levels, behaviour and more. Spend some time with the puppies and see how they interact with you and with each other. Contact other pet owners who have bought puppies from the breeder and ask about their experiences.
Adopting a puppy
Before you visit a shelter, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for before you arrive. Many shelters have websites or Facebook pages where you can get a good idea of what puppies are available.
Pick a shelter close to home
You may need to visit your puppy a few times before making a final choice, and the shelter will also need to do a home evaluation before they allow you to take your new pet home.
Narrow your choice down to two or three. Ask if you can take each one for a short leash walk. Ask shelter workers about the dogs’ personalities and habits. Do they have any health issues, for example? Or have they been adopted and returned? If so, why?
What to avoid
Be sure your puppy doesn’t come from a puppy mill, one of the horrendous breeding farms that churn out litters of puppies under the worst conditions.
Find the best dog for you
Have a look at these online tests to get an idea of what kind of dog suits your family.