Getting a Dog – Choosing the Right Dog
You have been thinking of getting a dog and are now close to doing it. Have you thought it through? Are you getting the right dog for you? A few tips that will help you get a dog that is ideal for you and avoid the pain of rehoming the poor pet.
We hear of many dogs that are up for re-homing as a result of improper or rushed decisions.
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Adopting or Buying?
Adopting a dog means giving the dog a second chance. Dog shelters in Malta are full to the brim with dogs ready for adoption. Please consider adopting a dog before buying.
If you wish to buy a dog of a specific breed please make sure that the breed is good for you and your lifestyle. Buy only from reputable breeders who know what they are doing. Avoid puppy mills and people who just breed dogs for the money. Contact the Malta Kennel Club for a reputable breeder of the breed of dog you wish to buy. A reputable breeder will want to know a lot about you before accepting to sell you a dog. Never buy from “breeders” who are just eager to sell.
Puppy, Adult or Senior?
Puppies need to be trained from scratch and although this allows you to bond with the dog from a very young age, it requires more work. Are you willing to put in the required work to raise your puppy properly? Do you know how to raise a puppy? Are you willing to refer to a professional dog trainer and attend classes if required?
Adult and senior dogs require less in terms of training and would be over their chewing phase. However most of the traits they have would be the result of their previous owner. Adult and senior dogs are much calmer than puppies but would need more trips to the vet (especially senior dogs). Are you wiling to put in the time and money for this new dog?
Dogs vary in energy levels. Some breeds are more energetic than others. A non exercised high energy dog will do things like chewing, barking, scratch doors, etc to vent the energy. On the other hand overexercising a low energy dog is not healthy for the dog.
The size of the dog is something to consider. Does your house allow to have a big dog? Big dogs will sweep everything on low tables with a single tail swing!! Have you got a car that allows you to take out a big dog? Although size is not related to energy level it must be compatible with your lifestyle and living space as it will impact both you and the dog.
Grooming and Shedding
Dogs require varying degrees of grooming. Some breeds require almost no grooming, others may require moderate grooming while some breeds will need a grooming schedule. Certain breeds need at least a daily brush. Consequently more grooming means more time, money and more work. Are you willing to put up with that or is your life already busy enough?
Dogs shed their coat (with the exception of some breeds) and this means more hair scattered around. Are you willing to have dog hair all over your clothes and house or would you rather not?
All dogs will require a degree of training, some more than others. If you opt to buy a dog of a specific breed, make sure you read beforehand. Some breeds are more stubborn than others. If you are adopting a dog, the staff at the dog shelter will know the dog and will give you a background of the dog’s character.
Dog training means also learning how to communicate with a dog and understanding the signs that dogs give us. In a considerable amount of cases dog owners would need to learn how to communicate with the dog. So be open minded and be open to seek advice from a dog trainer. Do not just blame the dog if training is not going as desired.
This is an extremely important point to consider. Many of the dogs that are either abandoned or put up for rehoming are because of children. Although opinions may differ, we believe that with proper planning and effort dogs can be trusted around children. In actual fact dogs contribute to a better life for a child!! It is likewise very important to teach the children how to behave around dogs and what is allowed and what is not.
The above was just a summary of a few points that one should consider before getting a dog. There will be other factors that need to be considered depending on the personal situation. There is no one secret formula to get your perfect dog. Do your research and do plenty of it before getting a dog so you get it right the first time.