Man’s best friend didn’t get his name by chance.
There can be few more pleasurable outings than going for a walk in the bush or in the park with your pet dog. Yet sadly, many of these dogs end up in a dog’s home, or worse still, are put to ‘sleep’ because the owner can’t find another home for them.
Before you go off and purchase a cute little puppy – the one that won’t stop gazing at you and sits quietly on your lap – there are many points you should consider. The first, and the most important, is do you understand that adopting a dog is a long-term commitment? Some dogs live for up to 15 – 17 years if kept healthy. Ask yourself where you plan to be situated in 10 years time. If your goal is to travel around the world in 5 years time, on foot, then what do you plan to do with your pet dog? A dog is an animal that should be treated as an important part of the family. So don’t be in a hurry when you adopt a dog.
Another issue you have to consider is the breed and the size of the dog. If you live in a small unit with no yard, and you work full-time, then it isn’t wise to purchase a large dog that enjoys ample exercise. Once you have an idea on the size of the dog you are after, you will also have to consider how much time you can give the dog when it comes to exercise and grooming. A Standard Poodle is a great pet that suits a family or a single person, but it requires daily combing of its thick coat. A Jack Russell is a small dog with short hair, but it is very energetic and is known to be an escape artist, so your yard will have to be fenced securely. If you have children then the medium and larger sized dogs will be more suited for you. Small dogs (especially toy dogs) have a tendency to snap at children, or fear them as children can sometimes get quite rough. Speaking of the size of the dog, how much can you afford to spend on the dog’s diet? The large dogs can cost a small fortune to feed so this is another point you should consider.
Once you have decided on the breed of the dog you wish to have, the next thing to consider is if you want your pet to be a show dog? Not all pedigree dogs are suited for show, so it is wise to speak to breeders and clubs about purchasing dogs. If you do your homework you can have a great pet that is also a champion show dog.
Another important issue you have to consider is if you want a dog or a bitch. A bitch is preferred for competitive obedience work, while the dog has a more boisterous attitude. You may also wish to breed your dog at a later date, so a bitch may be what you are after. Some people avoid adopting bitches as they can fall pregnant to the dog up the road. This can mean a lot of time and money trying to find homes for the puppies. If you plan to have your pet de-sexed, the cost is a lot higher for a bitch. Some people do prefer a bitch as they often have a more placid nature than the male dog.
When you are conducting research on the breed of dog you want, it is wise to ask a Veterinarian about any problems that particular breed may carry. Some dogs may have problems in their joints or have a tendency to have eye problems. It is always good to be prepared.
Dogs are the best pet available to man. Don’t be in a hurry, though, take your time and do as much research as possible. After all, the dog you adopt will be with you for a long time.