What are your goals for your life with your new family member?
In which activities do you plan to engage with your dog?
What is the picture that forms in your head of your new family member?
Perhaps a mixed breed? There are some really wonderful mix breed dogs out there. Our Tenor is very mixed breed and has been a lovable companion all his life.
If it is a pure bred dog that appeals to you, what about that breed is appealing to you? Reading a book is not enough to make a decision…find a local and attend some of their events to see the breed in real life and find out some of their idiosyncrasies.
Once you have determined the breed, you need to decide from where.
The Humane Society estimates that twenty-five percent of dogs that enter shelters are purebred, so this is certainly an option for finding your new family member.
Additionally, the website Pet Finder, enables you to search by breed, age and location for dogs and other animals from shelters and rescues.
Also, breed rescues like the one, with which we worked, get to know their rescues and can find the right match for you.
If you determine that you want a dog from a breeder, please choose your breeder carefully. A reputable breeder would never sell their precious puppies via a pet store or an Internet puppy outlet. Further more, beware of back yard breeders…if you feel that the breeder is only interested in the money in your pocket, keep moving. A reputable breeder will want to know about you, and what your plans are for the dog…you should feel as though you are being interviewed, because you are. Reputable breeders are the keepers of the breed standard, and as such, they do genetic testing prior to breeding and put a lot of time, effort and love into their dogs’ offspring. If you have decided to go with a breeder, then you must have a rationale for doing so…for example, our Keeshond, we got from a breeder because we wanted to participate in confirmation and our newest Belgian Sheepdog, we got from a breeder because we wanted to train her to be a service dog for our daughter, so with your reason in mind, you need to consider what type of personality that you want. Ask your breeder to conduct a PAT Test [Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test] on the litter, because while the breed may have certain personality attributes, puppies in the litter each have their own personality within the parameters of the breed standard. Additionally, since one day of testing, can’t tell you all about a puppy, let the breeder know what kind personality you want, so they can help you with the selection process based on their weeks of observations of the puppies. A reputable breeder wants their puppy to have a happy home life, therefore if they know that you want a laid back puppy, they are not going to point you towards the wild child of the bunch. The wild child will go to a family that plans to keep their dog constantly active with agility, flyball, etc. NOTE: Even a laid back puppy will need exercise and playful attention, so plan it into your routine.
If the only reason that you want a dog from a breeder is because you want a young puppy, which being authentic I must admit was part of our reason, but only part as mentioned above. I must say, that while we probably will get another puppy during my life time, if there is a compelling reason, like service dog training, I am over the wanting a puppy for the sake of being a puppy. First, they grow out of it fast, so if that’s your only motivation, ask yourself what you plan to do with the dog once it’s grown. Beyond that, be aware that you will have to make accommodations for your puppy, and you WILL be exhausted for a good while. Bringing a puppy into your home is like having an infant. When we had our first puppy, we didn’t have any children, but we still rather exhausted by him. This time, we have a daughter with Autism and our oldest dog is having incontinence issues. Thus, between our oldest dog and our puppy, we have been cleaning up a lot of messes on the floor. Luckily, the puppy is growing out of it. Then of course there are the razor sharp puppy teeth…Oy!…though I sometimes look at our now almost five month old puppy and think, “Oh how is my baby growing up so fast?!?”…I am so happy to see the puppy teeth go, since adult teeth are more rounded so that we don’t get lacerated while wrestling/playing.
If you choose wisely, your dog will be a great source of fun and comfort to your whole family.
Below are a some more links…I will be adding many more as time goes by, so check back often…feel free to share your own favorite dog links in a comment below
Getting Started in Obedience
Assistive-Animal Therapy & R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) Group Listing
State by state listing for the United States, with additional listings for Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and Australia.
Autism Assistance Dog
Check back soon for more links. Thanks!
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