Puppy Awareness Week - So You Want a Dog? Read This First!
This week (1st - 7th September) marks The Kennel Club’s Puppy Awareness Week , which aims to raise awareness about puppy farming and inform potential owners of the realities of taking on a puppy. The best advice regarding finding, choosing an taking home a puppy can always be found over on the Kennel Club or RSPCA websites, but here’s a few questions to ask yourself when considering bringing home a canine companion:
1. Evaluate How a Dog Would Fit Into Your Life
Are your working hours, living situation, family life and finances capable of accommodating a four-legged friend? Puppies, especially in the first few weeks, have been recently separated from their mother and siblings and they need you to be around. A lot. It can be an anxious time for a young pup and they rely on you to feed them, clean them and ensure that they are up-to-date on their injections and vet check-ups. Your are also responsible for ensuring they are socialised properly in the early days, to prevent future behavioural problems with people or other animals, as well as ensuring they are comfortable with aspects of everyday life such as travelling in the car, traffic noise and the (dreaded) hoover!
These all may sound like obvious points but they must be considered as well as some more obscure ones. Do any of your extended family or friends who visit your home frequently have allergies to dogs? Do you want to crate train your dog, or is there a puppy-proofed room in your home where he could sleep and wonder? How would you cope with a dog in the event of a major lifestyle change e.g. new baby, moving abroad, change of career?
2. Find The Right Breed for You
Breed education is incredibly important when it comes to choosing a puppy. Dogs come in a variety of sizes, with differing habits and behaviours common amongst certain breeds. Of course every dog regardless of breeds comes with their own personality, so whilst it can’t give a complete picture of what to expect from your puppy, you can at least make an educated decision and bring home a breed that you know fits your lifestyle and hobbies.
There are thousands of dog breeds, but the good news is there are so many resources out there on each one of them. You can check out our dog breed guide for a general overview, and there are loads of YouTube series to help - such as Animal Planet’s Dogs 101. You can also find channels dedicated to certain breeds, such as the Gone to The Snows Dogs Channel, which focuses solely on the Siberian Husky:
3. Breeder or Rescue?
No matter what breed of dog you decide on, there will always be ones in shelters waiting to be adopted by a loving owner. Very often they are there through no fault of their own, and make wonderful and very special pets. In addition to this, the shelter will be able to tell you the personality of every dog, why it came into the shelter, whether it gets on with other dogs, cats etc and how good they are with children. This can be really effective in finding the dog perfect for you! As well as older dogs, shelters frequently have puppies to rehome too! The RSPCA and Dogs Trust are the most well-known providers of charity shelters in the UK, but don’t forget to look for smaller, locally-run shelters as well.
If you decide to go to a breeder or seller, its really important to bear a couple things in mind:
- Always ask to see one or both parents with the pups.
- Never buy a puppy from a pet shop
Puppy Farms operating in the UK often sell puppies from around £45 each and often will sell to pet shops. They are horrendous places and the pups frequently suffer from illness as a result of bad breeding later on in life. The pups are also separated from their parents far too early, hence why it’s important to see them with one or both parents. You can find more advice on selecting a breeder on the Kennel Club’s website.
4. What Are You Up To for The Next 15 Years?
It might sound like a silly question, but given that 15 years is a typical lifespan of a dog, it might be one worth asking yourself. Dogs are a lifelong commitment, and rehoming can often be very traumatic and heartbreaking for them. If you are wavering on any of the points above, or those made on the KC puppy awareness page, then please have a rethink about bringing a dog into your life.