All puppies are cute, sellers rely on you seeing a lovely, pretty pup and buying it even, and sometimes especially if it’s dirty, covered in fleas and thin.  They do see you coming.  Giving your money to these scammers, puppy farmers and back yard breeders has to stop, it’s why these poor dogs are still living a life of abuse to make money. Puppies are cute. but hard work and can be difficult and accidentally hurt young children. Read our advice about spotting the scams and making sure you are really ready.

Is a puppy the right choice for me?

It is of course lovely to have a baby snuggling up to you and we all fall for the cute puppies. If you are committed and have the right environment a puppy is great, but people often don’t realise just how many young puppies are given to rescue because the family can’t cope with the reality.

If you think a puppy may be a good choice for you, do some research. Take your children to visit someone with a young dog and see the reaction. Really take in how boisterous a puppy can be, the mess, the noise, the destruction.

All dogs are different, some puppies house train quickly and don’t chew much. Most house train eventually and eat various things in your house. Your puppy could be anything from one end of the scale to another. Think about the possible extremes of behaviour can you really cope?

We are often asked to rescue young puppies because they are chasing and biting the kids, damaging the house, still not house trained. This can be anything from 12 weeks to 12 months! If you are not at home during the day, how can you possibly house train and socialise your dog? Don’t get a puppy if you have no intention of going to classes with it and don’t flatter yourself that you can train it yourself just because you have had a dog before. I have seen couples in their 20’s and 30’s telling me they won’t go to classes because they have “had dogs all their lives”. This is rubbish. How many dogs can you realistically have owned by this time? One? Two? The ones you had at home don’t count, it was your parents who had all the training to do and all the financial responsibility. Owning even 3 or 4 dogs in your life still does not make you experienced and every new puppy needs to be out socialising in safe environments that you cannot create at home.

  • Do you really have time for a puppy if you have a baby or young child? A puppy needs just as much attention.
  • Do you have the money and time to go to training classes?
  • Can you really cope with the mess and the damage to your home?
  • Do you know the relevant health tests and paperwork for your breed if buying a pedigree dog? Don’t buy a “cheap” unregistered dog with parents with no health testing as they are more likely to have health and temperament issues. Don’t buy without seeing at least the mother and preferably the father too. Actually handle them, don’t let a breeder point at them out of a window.
  • If you have another dog already, are you certain yours will accept a puppy, make sure you know your dog’s reactions before doing it.
  • Don’t get more than one puppy at once, it is too difficult to train them, they are not “friends to keep each other company”.
  • Make sure you know the breed characteristics before buying. Don’t buy a big, working breed and expect a dog that wants to sit at home with you all day chilling out.
  • If you have cats and kids, maybe an older rescue dog that has been fully tested would be a better option, especially if you have a nervous child.
  • Think about practical things you can do to minimise the mess and chewing and ensure the safety of the puppy, other pets and children like buying a cage and dog gates.
  • Can you cope with a puppy crying and making a noise all night at first? Are you prepared to ask for help before giving up?

Be realistic about how much you can tolerate and accommodate. Look around your home and see all the things you own. How upset would you be if you had to replace your sofa or coffee table? What about your children’s toys or clothing? I once bought 3 mattresses as my collie, who is now 9 chewed through my mattress on 3 occasions whilst I was busy doing something else. He also ate my favourite high heeled, patent leather shoes which I could never afford to replace.

A puppy can be a little miracle that grows into a true family member, but it doesn’t happen by magic. A lot of time effort and money goes into producing the adult version. It can be a rewarding occasion, but also at times too hard. Make sure you are fully prepared for the bad as well as the good.

About Safepets UK

Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

One response »

  1. mickcgorman says:

    We made the mistake of getting our first dog from a “puppy factory” He had early health problems but with work he lived a long and happy life, our second dog came from a friend who farms sheep in Scotland and he is wonderful. Getting Indy started our love affair with Border Collies, we have since fostered 20 B/C’s most of which have been bought because they were cute and dumped when they became hard to handle. Our latest dog is Hamish, a Golden x Flatcoat retriever, he came from Irish Retriever Rescue, all of our future dogs will be rescues as we don’t want to fuel the puppy industry.

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