Tips On Getting A Dog For The First Time
Let's bark about getting a dog and becoming a dog mum or dog dad for the first time.
What should I know before buying my first dog?
Which dog is best for the first time?
Should I consider rehoming or getting a rescue dog?
As dog mums, to many pups here at Pup Republic, we know you have a lot of questions and considerations to make when you are in the process of buying a dog or pup.
Dog ownership has boomed since the 2019 pandemic with estimated claims of more than 3 million new dog owners in the UK. Many are still considering acquiring a first fluffy member to their family, especially younger people.
While the pandemic brought hooman and canine together in the need for company and even to get out or exercise more, animal welfare and rescue organisations are still concerned about what will happen when people realise they made a not-so wise decision and their change in lifestyle.
This of course raises the bigger worry about the fate of pups who are suddenly left alone when their owners either go back to work or having a dog simply doesn't suit their lifestyle anymore; especially with us being able to travel once again.
So let's explore some useful pointers to help make getting a dog for the first time, the BEST decision you will ever make!
Don't do it on an impulse
Welcoming a dog into your family, and your life for the first time is a serious long-term commitment; a very rewarding one, but that brand new puppy could be with you for up to 16 years or so, depending on the breed.
Our advice first and foremost, is don't get one based on the family swearing they will look after it, they won't, and we have seen many get pets in general because their family simply promise that they will be responsible for walking, cleaning, feeding and of course, loving! Make sure it is right for the whole family, and understand who will be the main carer(s) of the new pup or dog each day.
Be Sure to Research
It's a great idea to research whether you would like to get a puppy, rehome a dog or get a rescue dog as your first fluffy-pal; all are absolutely viable options and each come with their own benefits.
Here are some key factors to consider when you do your research:
Breeds: Research different breeds or breed characteristics. Which would be most compatible with you, your family and your life? For example, don't get a husky if you live in a flat and you are out all day. Similarly, avoid getting a tiny dog with tiny legs if you want to run 5K every morning with your fluffy family member!
Costs: How much does it cost to have a dog? Look at how much food, vet bills, insurance and toys for example cost beforehand to make sure you can facilitate those costs. More Th>n puts the monthly cost of owning a dog at between £94 and £154, depending on size and breed.
Time: How much time do you realistically each day for your dog? If you work long hours and there's no one else at home to be around for the dogs, ideally adult dogs shouldn't be alone for more than six hours without a toilet break, so make sure you have the time to care for your four-legged friend. And remember, puppies need A LOT of attention. Leaving a pup and even some adult dogs alone for too long can lead to behavioural issues which of course we want to avoid at all costs - bless them!
Top tip: Dogs can usually hold in their 'doggy doo doo's' and wee wees for an hour for each month they've been alive. After six months, dogs can usually hold it for up to six hours.
Space: Space is an important factor, but it's not just about the size of your home, it's also about where your dog will spend the night, spend the day, where they will play and if it is safe; for example no sneaky ways out the house or onto a busy road - they are masters of 'great escapes'. This factor is linked to the breed of dog you might want to consider based on the size of your home.
Be sure to consider a dog based on these crucial factors. Now, should you rehome or get a rescue a dog?
Should you Rehome or Get A Rescue A Dog?
There's a lot to be said for offering a fur-ever home to a dog that's had some bad luck. There aren't necessarily tough behavioural problems to cope with but it would be wise to find out a bit more about their background and get to know them before committing to rehoming a dog. Find your local dog or animal shelter and arrange a visit to say 'woof' to some of their residents - you might just fall in love!
Finding A Reputable Breeder
Finding a reputable dog breeder is SO important. It's not just puppy farms we need to eliminate but anyone breeding without proper health checks on both parents is also a growing issue with the rising demand for puppies.
A great way to find reputable breeders is to ask people who have dogs where they got theirs and try local dog clubs, Facebook pages or groups for your favoured dog breed or type. For rescue dogs there are charities and specialist rehomers in every location.
The Kennel Club has a list of registered breeders if you're after a pedigree, so be sure to check them out for some useful sources.
Here are some important things to note when seeking reputable breeders to help you on your search:
- Ask prospective breeders tough questions: You should always be able to know all about the parents, eventually to meet the mother, know all health checks are done.
- Visit the breeder and litter of pups. You need to meet the mother, handle the pups, see that they're all happy and healthy looking, in a good, comfy and clean pen. Trust your gut. It's really tough to walk away but you must if something feels wrong.
- Breeders shouldn't let you take a puppy less than 8 weeks old. They should be sent home with some of the food they're used to and a toy or blanket that smells of their mum. They need to be chipped and probably have had their first jabs.
- If things don't work out for whatever reason, a breeder should always be willing to take a puppy back.
So that's your woof-ful guide with tips on getting a dog for the first time! We hope you have found this paw-ket guide useful and that you have a wonderful time welcoming your new pup or dog into your family - it really is the best decision you will ever make. They will love you unconditionally and be with you throughout the ups and the downs.
We stock seriously good stuff for pups and adult dogs to enrich your time together - feel free to check out our pawducts!
Nicky, Caroline & The Pups @ PupRepublic