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Stop and think before you get a dog

PUBLISHED: 10:24 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 20 February 2013

Stop and think before you get a dog

Stop and think before you get a dog

A constant and faithful companion, a reason to get out and about, added home security... there are lots of reasons why getting a dog might seem like a good idea, but stop and think before you take the plunge, says our expert Sophia Taylor

A constant and faithful companion, a reason to get out and about, added home security... there are lots of reasons why getting a dog might seem like a good idea, but stop and think before you take the plunge, says our expert Sophia Taylor



People buy or re-home dogs and puppies for all sorts of reasons, companionship, exercise, for work or simply because they were brought up with dogs as a child and want to embark on the dog ownership journey themselves. The list goes on.
Journey? I hear you ask. Yes, owning a dog is a journey, from making the decision to be a dog owner to researching the different types of dogs available and then the journey as you bring the dog home and start your new life together.
Newspapers, the internet, veterinary surgeries and even pet shops advertise all sorts of puppies and dogs for sale and it is a minefield as to which one to choose.
I suggest to people, who email me on this matter, that it is a good idea to ask yourself some serious questions before doing so.
Research: It is very important that you research the breed or mixed breed you would like. It is always a good idea, even when taking on a mixed breed (if you know the mix), to research the individual breeds in the mix. This will give you an idea, although not set in stone, of what the breeds were bred to do, temperament and coat type and much more. If you dont like long hair then this is something to consider, as a long coat can soon get matted and tangled.
There are large, medium and small dogs, some of which are more demanding in time, money and care than others. For example, a German shorthaired pointer will need more time spent on exercise and mental stimulation than a Lhasa Apso. The German Pointer is better suited to country living than the town or cities, whereas the Lhasa will still need exercise and mental stimulation but to a lesser degree, but the Lhasa will need more grooming as it has a long thick coat.
Go online or chat to people in the breed and ask them for the negatives as well as the positives so you have a clearer picture.
Cost: Re-homing or buying a puppy is only the start of it, there is dog bedding, leads, collar, name tag (required by law), micro-chipping and/or ear tattoo, pet insurance, vet fees including inoculations and annual boosters, kennel fees if you are going on holiday. Food, dishes, toys, car harness, dog guard or crate for travelling, dog training classes, neutering or spaying. The list is endless.
Time: Regardless of the breed, all dogs need to be trained in good manners and life skills. As an owner you owe this to your dog. So find a good dog training school in your area preferably before you collect your dog.
Exercise: It will need mental as well as physical stimulation and leaving it home alone to its own devices for long hours is both unkind and irresponsible.
Speaking from experience, dogs are re-homed for a number of reasons from owners moving abroad to the arrival of a new born baby, but sadly, quite a few are re-homed due to the owner not researching the type of dog they have taken on nor the time and commitment needed to give the dog the life it deserves and find they simply cannot cope with the demands.
That said, if you would still like to join the millions of people throughout the world and own a dog, then Welcome to one of the most exciting times you may have in your life, for they bring joy, laughter and lots of fun to a family or people living alone, as well as the opportunity to meet like-minded people.


For more information visit www.onthescent.com

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