Four simple steps to the perfect family dog
Since we were forced to simplify our lives; stay home more, stop commuting, take exercise outdoors locally, it seems many families have decided they have room in their lives for a dog.
Puppy prices have increased as a result – not exactly ethical you might think – but there’s another thing to consider: what happens when some sort of normality comes back?
If you’re thinking of getting a dog, there are a few things worth considering to ensure you end up with the perfect family pet.
1. Spend some time honestly considering your lifestyle: not now as much as in the future. Will you continue to be at home for most of the week? Are your weekends likely to end up filled with pick-ups and drop-offs for the kids? Do you love taking long, foreign holidays and travelling during your free time?
Dogs are living their best life at the moment, with human company on tap. You need to consider the right breed of puppy before committing: this will depend on the lifestyle you have and whether you can accommodate long or short walks, the indoor space you have available for a big or small dog, and the amount of time you will be able to provide good company for your four-legged friend.
2. It’s important to get to know the personalities of the various breeds available, and not just consider looks. All the breeds once had a working purpose. Consider what this was. A Doberman, bred to guard and protect is probably going to bark when the doorbell goes and will be a protective dog at heart. A small terrier is genetically pre-disposed to chase and catch anything that moves and is smaller than him. Perhaps not the choice if you have rabbits or other small animals around.
Many breeds have become popular for their lack of moulting or for being good with children. Providing you have considered their other tendencies (such as rolling in poop) and are happy with the balance, you should be able to make an informed decision. You can’t train genetics.
3. Make sure you buy your dog at a time when you can commit to the training. All puppies should attend some sort of formal training classes. They’re a fantastic way to socialise your dog as well as teach it (and you) how to behave.
What many people don’t realise is that there is a window of opportunity when puppy training. You have around the first 18 months to provide a base for good associations, behaviours and routines. In addition, the first few months is also critical to embed the basics.
4. Finally, make sure you involve all the family in the decision. Does everyone feel happy about getting a dog? Is everyone willing to pitch in with the responsibility of feeding, clearing up and walking? (It’s worth noting here that the idea might be more exciting than the reality so it’s important that more than one adult, at least, is genuinely willing to help out and take responsibility)
Hopefully these tips will help you make the right decision and end up with the very best family pet at the right time for you and your family. For more information you can watch our So, you're getting a puppy
webinar. If you do choose to commit, don’t forget to follow Potter Paws on Facebook
for training tips and lots of other advice.