By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT
You decided to get a dog. Congratulations! But now that you made the decision, where do you begin? Should you get a pure breed, a mutt, a puppy, an adult, should you get it from a breeder or a shelter? All these questions can be difficult to answer.
When clients consult for my pre-purchase services, they often ask the above questions. My job is to guide future clients, not tell them what to do. Below, you will find the top ten questions to consider before you get a dog. From these answers, selecting the right pet becomes a little easier.
1. Are you an active person who is outside in the winter, summer, or both?
2. What will the dog do in your household the rest of the time?
3. Do you like fur in your house? On your clothes?
4. Do you have time and/or the desire to brush a dog every day, especially during fall and spring?
5. Do you have a budget for grooming every month?
6. How about drool, do you mind having drool on your clothes and walls?
7. Male or female? The sex of the dog doesn't really matter, but sterilization costs are more expensive for females. Plus, if she is not sterilized because of breeding contracts, how will you manage the three-week menstrual cycle twice a year?
8. Size. Do you have enough room to allow the dog to run around in your house or yard?
9. Will the dog have a specific job? If so, selecting a puppy might be the best option. If not, adopting is an awesome choice. If you get a puppy, where does the breeder live?
10. Where do you live? Certain breeds are not well adapted for city life.
There's no right or wrong answer to these questions because they allow you to figure out what dog best suits your lifestyle. I always suggest to my clients they work through a process of elimination rather than trying to find the best match. What you don't want will often guide you in the right direction.
If you need guidance to choose the right dog, I recommend you invest in a trainer or behaviour consultant that will help you make the appropriate choice. They know breed specifics and breeders with a reputable background. Finally, stay away from "free to good home" dogs and web sites like Craig's List and Kijiji. The dogs advertised on such websites are often misleading and deceitful.
I know a person who once bought a working line, German Sheppard, with full reproduction rights for 300$. The purchase turned out to be costly because the dog had major hind leg issues and two cryptorchid testicles. And that goes without mentioning his aggression towards people and other dogs.