Some people will spend less time choosing a dog who could be part of their family for fifteen years than they do selecting a new car which they can swap in a year.
My biggest piece of advice is be prepared to wait for the perfect dog. It’s worth being realistic about the type of home you can offer so that you choose the ideal breed or cross breed for your setup. Having a highly motivated and driven working dog in a home where there is not much exercise available every day is more likely to bring on behavioural issues. Equally asking a naturally non aerobic dog to do hill walking and agility every day might compromise its health!
Puppy farming is sadly very common and can be hard to spot for a concerned new owner. The best way to avoid this is to ensure you get to see the whole litter with their mother, suckling, as then you can be sure you are seeing the mother, not just an adult of the breed you are buying. They start to wean at about 3-4 weeks of age so be prepared to wait to take your puppy home. Adverts that say pups are ‘ready now’ and don’t have pictures of the pups throughout their lives can be a clue that they are not in the home they were born in. It’s also worth being wary of places that have several breeds, again unless you can see the whole family.
It’s vital to meet the puppy’s mother as her temperament will heavily influence that of your new family member. You need to know if she is friendly, also get an idea of her health. Are there any health schemes for the breed you are looking at? Don’t only ask if they were hip and elbow scored, ask what the numbers were and then check this against the breed average. It‘s worth the effort, as hopefully you will have done all you can to ensure a great start for you all.
Now you just get to enjoy them!
Vaccinations for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis according to the most recent guidelines - some parts only need to be given a few times in the dog’s life - talk to us about what we do.
Microchipping - it is now compulsory for all dogs to be chipped before they go to their new home.
Parasite treatment to include fleas, ticks, lungworm and other round and tapeworms as appropriate to their lifestyle.
Recommendations for neutering - timing and where to go for this.
Advice on feeding, which is so important throughout life.
Basic training advice, and pointers to find classes if you want them.
Oh, and cuddles, lots of cuddles for the puppy!
Here is a link to a puppy massage course by Donna of Animal Physiotherapy Ltd, who I have known since her nursing days many moons ago. She's an excellent physio and has devised this course to allow you to build an even deeper bond with your puppy, and allow you to get to know their 'normal' which will help us all in their future life! NB the link is to a separate website from VetMobile UK.