Matching Dog and Lifestyle
This section directs your choice of a puppy to suit your particular lifestyle with consideration of your home security as far as keeping a dog is concerned, your own fitness level and ability to exercise your dog, your time constraints, your local situation and space available for the dog and the spare time you have for coat care.
Golden Retriever puppy
There is nothing worse than to buy a puppy, go through all the settling in process, only to find the dog does not suit you so you are forced into a situation where you have to consider re-homing it. This can prove not only a heartbreak for you and maybe your family as well, but also for the poor puppy who is probably by now devoted to you and your family. Dogs in this situation often end up in Animal Welfare establishments.
By taking into account all foreseeable possibilities when purchasing a dog, you should ensure you have chosen what will become your devoted lifetime companion. So it is most important to consider the factors below before purchasing a dog.
Can you keep your dog enclosed?
Check the size and security of the area where the dog will usually exercise itself. It is important that this is securely fenced and that the dog cannot dig under the fence, climb over it, or fit through gaps in wire, between fence pailings, or gate fittings.
Are you able to exercise it?
The amount of exercise and time you are able to spend with the dog is important. Of course none of us can predict with certainty the issues involved with our personal life over the decade or so we are likely to own the dog. However a dog which pesters you for a daily walk can motivate you to increase your present level of activity and at the same time calm your mind. Dog people talk to other dog people they meet when exercising their dog regularly in the same public place. So, a serious commitment to a daily walk can be just as beneficial and enjoyable for you as for the dog!
Are you aware of your Local Laws?
If you live in a city area, the local laws in your area (on-lead and leash-free areas) where the dog will be usually exercised must be investigated. Especially if you are thinking about purchasing a large dog, check with your local Municipal Council as to whether there are restrictions on dogs exercising in the public open space close to you. Also many Councils require you to register your dog just like you are required to pay rates on your home or property.
If you do not own your own home, or are in a unit or retirement village, check with the authorities that run the establishment as to whether there are restrictions on keeping a dog.
A dog for a Family with Children
When children are raised with a suitable companion dog in the family it should be a pleasurable experience for both the children and the dog. Furthermore, I believe a child which grows up without having an animal friend misses out on an essential lifetime experience. However, having said that there is always a caution.
First and foremost, especially if you have small children, always remember that dogs are pack animals. Most dogs do not perceive children as adults. That means that the dog may well try to dominate a small child like it would other dogs that are members of 'its pack'. This could mean a bite. So, if the dog is being bought for a family situation, make certain you are 'the boss' at all times. This may mean that you never leave the dog alone with small children.
A good solution is a small cage where the dog can get away from the children at those times when you are not present. Then the dog knows it has its 'space' and the small child learns to understand that the dog has feelings and sometimes it wants to be left alone. By establishing these simple rules and sticking by them, a dog added to a family should be a learning experience for the child and a pleasure for the entire family.
Trimming the Feet
Special consideration should be given to your commitment to coat care. Grooming a dog can be a great bonding experience between you and your dog. The shortcomings of not grooming the dog are
* short coated breeds moult and drop hair over your clothes and carpet
* that the cute 'fluffy' puppy can become a nightmare without a regular grooming ritual,
* Grooming parlours can be expensive and good, patient, reliable operators are often difficult to locate.
* Seldom do the 'professionals' take the time or trouble to comb out long, matted hair. More often than not, they simply clip off the entire coat to the skin! Then the hair grows back like a carpet and is twice as difficult to comb! Meanwhile, unless you are then prepared to put a suitable covering over it similar to a horse rug, the poor dog's denuded skin can be subjected to sunburn in the summer, or cold and wet in the winter.
Jane with Airedale Terrier
So, best choose a breed whose coat type is known and be sure you have the time and can acquire the expertise to maintain it. If the dog is a crossed breed, the type of coat and its correct care be guesswork. However, if the dog is a pure breed, there is lots of information you can acquire on proper coat care from breeders, books, videos and DVDs.