A puppy can grow to be your best friend and a dedicated companion. However, it is important to understand what you are getting into before going out and purchasing a dog from a breeder. I have worked with dogs for some time now and feel qualified to share a few pointers.
First, make sure you think things through carefully and over a long period of time. Adopting or purchasing a dog is not a decision that should be made lightly—it is important to understand that you are brining another creature into your household and to be aware of the needs of that animal. For example, early training is crucial to the long term happiness of both you and your pet. Obedience classes are a must, as are such points as house-breaking, establishing yourself as the ‘pack leader,’ teaching your dog how to greet guests and outsiders, etc. This all takes a substantial dedication of time and resources. A new dog in your household should be thought of in a similar way to having a child—while it may sound silly, the needs of the two are actually in the same ball park.
One very important factor is the breed you choose. There are currently one hundred and fifty seven dog breeds as recognized by the American Kennel Club and each breed has its own unique traits, strengths, needs, and of course, weaknesses and problems. There are a number of websites on the internet with extensive information on the various breeds, and it’s important that you spend as much time researching your options as possible—do not make the all too common mistake of going out and picking a puppy just because you think it looks cute.
Furthermore, as opposed to purchasing a dog from a breeder (which can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the breed and the pedigree), consider adopting a dog in need from a local rescue organization. A quick search online can help you find dogs in your area that are in need of loving homes. Sadly, many of these dogs never find the homes they need, simply because folks purchase bred dogs. It can be tricky to identify the mix of breeds in a dog you find at a shelter, but research, discussion, and naturally the help of the employees at the shelter can help give you an idea of what breed the dog is. Once you have this information you can research online or in a library to learn more about the specific characteristics of the breed.
If you do decide to adopt from a rescue, you have my thanks—you are doing a good deed and potentially saving a life—so pat yourself on the back. If, for some reason, you decide it would be better for you to purchase a dog from a breeder, it is very important that you research not only the dog you are interested in, but also the environment the animal is bred in. It is an unfortunate reality that many breeders you find have little interest in the animals and are far more concerned with earning money—these are the people you want to avoid. Look for someone who truly loves their dogs and cares for them dearly. This is the sort of breeder you want to give your business to—not only to encourage responsible breeding practices, but also because dogs that are bred in a loving environment are more likely to make successful, well behaved pets.
I hope these few tips help to give you an idea of the kind of commitment necessary for adopting or purchasing a puppy, and also the considerations you should make when selecting a breeder. Good luck, and make sure you do your research and make the right choice!