- Never take a puppy away from its’ mother before 6 weeks of age, ideally the best age to get a pup is 7-8 weeks, smaller breeds of dogs should be older when leaving their moms. Of course, you can get an adult dog.
- If you want a purebred, get it from a breeder who has taken the parents to shows to prove they are a good representation of the breed, worthy of passing on their genetics. If you just want a pet, always check your local shelters first. Never support pet stores or people giving away puppies, typically free pups will cost more in the long run.
- Pick your breed wisely, a smart breed, like a Border Collie, may seem like fun, but these smart dogs need a lot of mental stimulation, or will be bored and become destructive.
- Never pay for a pet that has not been vet checked, vaccinated, or come with some sort of health guarantee.
- Your pup will need to be house trained, do not expect too much too soon, there will be accidents, even if you get an already trained adult. Crate training works well. Read up on it before you get a dog.
- Keep your new pet on its’ current food for the first few weeks, and make any changes to diet gradually.
- Investigate food quality, generally any food purchased at a grocery store is not good quality. Better food means better health, and fewer poops in the yard. Most dog foods are low quality. If your pets food contains “by-products” then it is a poor food, by-products are mostly indigestible filler.
- Expect teething, do not allow a puppy to use you as a teething toy, provide appropriate toys for this. Additionally provide an assortment of other toys and use them to interact with your pup, do not expect them to play with the toys by themselves.
- Obedience lessons are a must, regardless of if your dog is big or small. They do not only teach “sit” and “stay” they ultimately are the best way to teach your dog socialization skills. There is no replacement for group lessons.
- Make sure your dog has proper identification.
- Spay female dogs at six months, neuter males at eight months. This is the best thing a pet owner can do if they are not going to be taking their pets to shows. With millions euthanized every year, there is no point in breeding more unless your pet is in the top 1% of the breed, and has been to shows to prove such.
- Dogs require regular walks, regular grooming, and lots of attention, make sure you are ready to give your dog what it needs mentally and physically.
- Make sure your yard is safe and secure for your new canine, keeping them tied creates aggression, and if they are loose they could be in for problems. A dog run or good fence is best.
- Do not leave your dog out to be bored. It will either start digging or barking. Dogs are pack animals, you are its’ pack. If it must stay outside, make sure there are toys, water, and shelter.
- Vaccinate regularly and be willing to take your dog to the vet if there are concerns
- Own your dog because you can give it a good life, not because having it makes your live better.
- If at any time you cannot provide proper care for your dog, seek help.
- Do not move into a place that does not allow pets.
- Remember, compared to your own, your pets life will be short, you are their whole world, they depend on you for food, love, care, and companionship, make sure their life is full.
- In the end, the toughest thing for you to do will be to say good bye to them, however this is the one time they need you most of all. Do not extend the life of a suffering animal for your own needs, do not turn them over to a stranger. Be there for them in the end. As painful as it may be, you will not regret it, this is the one thing, above all else, you must do for them.