A lot of times people ask me the following QUESTION:
Is there such a thing as a "perfect" dog?
And my simplified ANSWER is this: any dog that makes you happy to be around and any dog that loves being near you- that is the perfect match! Remember, a “perfect” dog with one person/ family may not at all be perfect (or considered perfect) in a different environment!
Having that said- there will always be not so perfect moments or even frustration, but this is completely normal and part of owning a dog. Accidents happen- willpowers are getting tested- character being formed…. A dog is not a stuffed animal- it’s alive!
If you are not discouraged by now- then we are on the right track:
BEFORE GETTING A NEW DOG:
1) The right timing:
Plan to bring your dog home when you can take a few days off and/ or can spend as much time as possible with your new family member. Those first few days are crucial for building trust and help tremendously to form a bond.
2) What to consider:
If you are not living alone, please have the entire family participate in the process of selecting your new dog= new family member.
That way, everybody will be on the same page. It is a very important experience that should be fun, exciting and also educational. It might also end with the conclusion that your lifestyle does not allow for a dog at this time- but how much better is it to find this out before you bring home a dog! ?
3) You might want to think about:
• the desired (final!) size of the dog
• the age and gender
• type of coat: short/ long/ “non-shedding” (Allergies? Maintenance?)
• specific breed- and if so- why?
• You should decide ahead of time where your dog stays during the day- where he sleeps at night- who takes him
on walks –and
if someone will have time to look after him during the day. If your dog would be alone all day
long- it’s necessary to start
planning who would take the dog out- and how often.
How much would such services cost?
Inform yourself about housetraining and general obedience.
Many problems can be avoided by picking the right dog in the first place-and preparing your home in the right way.
WHERE DO I START LOOKING FOR “MY” DOG
Breeder? Make sure you will only consider Breeders with a good reputation- giving away a puppy at 6 weeks of age “just because it’s the right time for Christmas” should be a warning sign!
Shelter? Petfinder? Local rescue? Craigslist? Just to name a few of the more popular choices.
There is no recipe for success- I am convinced you can find your perfect dog in any of the above listed places - it just has to feel right! You should never put yourself under the pressure of finding the new dog on a particular day.
PLUS: the dog should also have a say. If he walks up to you/ is curious- that’s a good sign. If he is hiding, growling or stressed - not so good (but maybe fixable)
If there is any chance-and actually every responsible source should support this approach, please go and meet your dog at least once before you bring him home. If you really like the dog- let the current owner know that you are serious. Then go home and think about it! Discuss with your Family. If it still feels right the next day- you are good to go. If something makes you hesitate-follow your instinct. There are so many dogs out there- once you found the right one- you will know!
What Veterinarian are you going to use? Maybe there is a Vet you have used in the past and liked- then it’s easy. Call the Vet and inform him about your plans. Maybe he has some health advices, especially if you are looking into a specific breed of dogs…
Once you know when your dog is coming home, make an appointment with your Vet. The dog should see the Vet first thing, ideally on the way to your home.
Routinely, your dog will need a comprehensive health examination, his shots and has to be de-wormed. You will also need to apply monthly flea-and tick preventatives.
I am more than happy to talk with you
BEFORE you get your new dog!
Maybe I can assist you in finding the “right” one?
Everything your dog will need for the first few days:
Write a list of items your dog will need when he comes home- but buy them only shortly before your dog arrives. There really aren’t that many things you will need in the first few days.
• Food: please ask what brand was fed previously-and how much: you will need to buy a small bag of the same food
(even if it is not your preferred choice for the future)- and very slowly transition away from the old food by
substituting with the new food. This process should take roughly 2 weeks and is necessary to help adjust your
dogs digestive system to the new food. If not done properly, diarrhea can be a very common consequence.
• Food-and water bowls
• appropriate toys
• Leash/ Collar/ NAMETAG (even if you did not pick your dogs name yet- the first few days are critical: if your dog
runs off/ gets loose, he does not know you or his surrounding and might not be able to come back home. Simply
put your phone number on the tag- you can always replace it later. Better safe than sorry)
• Crate (maybe you can borrow one? Consider the “final size” of your puppy)
• Others: blankets, dog bed, a few old towels.. and that’s about it …for now