Thinking of adding a new puppy to the family? It’s a big decision so it’s always a good idea to get the BEST advice you can! Check out these 5 tips to buying your new puppy:
Best Time to Get a Dog
Are you starting a new job with crazy hours, planning a move or decorating a nursery? Then you may want to wait before bringing home a new puppy. Dogs go through an adjustment period after being introduced to their new homes and need structure to adapt to the new environment. So pick a time when your routine is established. If you’re ordering a pup from a future litter, try to ensure life is settled by the time your new addition arrives. Remember to consider the other pets in your household as well – if you have another young dog under two years of age or recently adopted a cat, wait a year or two before taking on another commitment. The decision will benefit both you and your current pets, who may still be adjusting.
Bonus Tip: While buying your kids a new puppy for Christmas might sound wonderful in theory, ensure that all the festive celebrations that take you away from home are out of the way before you surprise them with a new furry friend. That way, your attention can be devoted entirely to your puppy’s well-being. Of course, socializing is important, so your pup will love attention from visitors to your home and will be happy to travel once he’s had time to adjust.
Best Puppy for You
There are approximately two hundred dog breeds. You may think a certain breed is the “cutest”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you. There are many factors to consider when deciding which puppy to bring into your life, including where you live, how much free time you have, and how active you are. Consider how much time you can devote to grooming (or if regular grooming appointments fit within your budget), if you need a breed that accommodates allergies, if you’re looking for a dog that exudes affection and rarely leaves your side or one that’s a little more independent. If you work 9 to 5 and don’t want to go for long runs in the evening, a less active dog might be perfect. Then again, if you have the means to hire a dog walker for afternoon strolls, you may be able to accommodate that active breed you’ve always wanted. The most important thing is to be honest about your comfort zone and limitations.
Bonus Tip: Looking for a pup who can double as a running partner? Check out cdndogs.ca/top-dog-for-your-lifestyle/ for a list of dogs best suited for jogging, as well as other top breeds for different lifestyles.
Best Questions to Ask Before You Buy
It goes without saying – an educated buyer is a better buyer. Most breeders love to talk about their dogs so don’t be afraid to ask questions. And expect the breeder to have some questions for you, too! After all, they want to ensure their puppies are placed in the best situations possible. Some must-ask questions you should prepare include:
- What’s unique about this breed and this litter?
No two breeds or litters are exactly alike! Your breeder should know better than anyone how much time your new puppy will require, the usual nature of the breed you’ve chosen, and any sort of special care you may need to provide. Breeders select specific dams and sires with the intent of maintaining or producing specific qualities and characteristics, so ask what the breeder is hoping to achieve with his/her litters. These questions will help determine whether the breed is the right choice for you, or if you’re barking up the wrong tree. Remember that some pups in the litter may not meet show quality standards because of a slight cosmetic difference, such as colouring, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make great family dogs.
- Can I see where the puppies are being raised?
Socialization is crucial for puppies. It’s important to make sure the puppy you’re buying has received the adequate amount of affection and care, as this can play a role in his future health and behaviour. While you’re there, ask if you can see the pup’s dam and/or sire, too, to ensure they are in good condition.
- What paperwork do you provide?
Registration, please! If you’re buying a “purebred” puppy, your breeder should provide a registration certificate issued by a registering body such as the Canadian Kennel Club. The certified pedigree will provide information on your dog’s ancestry, so you can be sure he’s a purebred. You may also get information on health clearances and any titles your dog’s ancestors earned.
- What if it doesn’t work out?
Despite your preparation, things sometimes don’t go according to plan. You may experience adjustment or health issues with your puppy, or go through a personal lifestyle change that makes it impossible to keep your dog. Because reputable breeders care very much for the puppies they produce, many will offer an upfront guarantee stating that they’ll take the pup back if such issues arise. If that’s not the case, inquire whether they’re willing to sign a contract. Remember, breeders and buyers have a shared responsibility to ensure the match is in everyone’s best interest!
Best Way to Ensure a Smooth Transition
Change can be scary. Luckily, there are several things you can do before buying a new puppy to make your life easier and help your newest member of the family feel at home! Aside from designating a large chunk of time to pampering your new pup and showing her the lay of the land, ensuring a smooth transition means puppy proofing your house. Tuck in trailing electrical cords, secure loose furniture, check for any toxic items, restrict access to cupboards, and invest in a baby gate to block off restricted areas. If you have kids or other pets, introduce them to their new companion gradually and respectfully. Remember, this experience is new to everyone involved, and can bring out jealous, overexcited and even aggressive behaviours. Be prepared, patient, and understanding in order to ensure the smoothest transition possible.
Best Way to Train your Puppy
Praise, praise, praise! Studies have shown that dogs respond better to positive reinforcement than they do to punishment. Positive reinforcement can include praise, treats and even the awarding of a favourite toy. When teaching your dog, deliver short and uncomplicated commands such as “sit” and “stay”, and reward her within seconds of good behaviour so she associates the reward with the proper action.
In terms of what age to train your dog, the earlier you start, the better! It’s surprising how quickly puppies catch on with enough repetition. Things like crate training and housebreaking should be taught immediately after bringing your dog home, whereas walking on a leash without pulling and learning not to bark are behaviours better established once a relationship has been built between you and your furry friend. Attempting to teach your dog too much straightaway can be overwhelming, so take it step by step, and allow your dog time to absorb the information.
Bonus Tip: Not sure how to get started? Enrolling your new puppy in a training program is a great first step. Look for a positive trainer and don’t be afraid to ask questions about specific training methods.