Welcoming a dog into your home is a big decision, says Chrissie Hines from Dog Smarts, and not one to be taken lightly. It is also a time to be happy and excited about the adventures that lie ahead, life will not be the same again once you welcome a dog into your family.
Whenever someone shares with me that they have made the decision to get a dog I am always curious to know if they have thought about what breed. I am perplexed as to how little thought goes in to the breed, choices made are often based on how a dog looks. From people who choose a Vizsla as their first dog, or decide on a Newfoundland to live in their small flat with them.
So, you have made the big decision that now is the right time for you to welcome a dog, what next? Whether it is a rescue or a brand-new puppy the pointers below will provide you with some food for thought
Do your research on dog breeds. What was your dog of choice bred for? The things that they were bred for will still be a natural instinct, so it is best to prepare to meet those needs. Some popular breed examples:-
- Whippet – bred to hunt by sight, coursing game in open areas at high speed.
- Be prepared for your whippet to orient and stalk their prey, and to be highly distracted by birds and squirrels. They will need the space to run at high speeds for short bursts.
- French Bulldog – the bulldog was originally bred as a sport dog for bull baiting. It was then crossed in France with ratter dogs; dogs used to catch and kill vermin. Be prepared for your Frenchie to need to play tug regularly and to occasionally fixate on chasing something. From experience with my dog Winnie, this has included local foxes and stray cats.
- Labrador – bred to retrieve game such as water fowl. Get ready for a dog that loves to walk in the rain, is highly energetic and a big lover of mud puddles
Consider your lifestyle and your daily routine, what kind of dog will best suit what you love to do? Whether it is lunch and shopping in town, or long hikes on the weekends, choose a dog who will enjoy accompanying you.
Please remember that no breed of dog should be left alone for longer than 4 hours at home
All breeds of dog require a big investment of your time, your patience, emotions and your money.
No matter what breed of dog you choose, all dogs over domestication have been bred to; alert people to danger (barking) and bred to hunt animals (chasing). Prepare yourself for your dog to behave like a dog, even if it looks cute and fluffy.
You will get the best out of any dog if you spend time bonding and training with them. Choose to work with an experienced and certified dog trainer, who uses positive training methods only.
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Chrissie works with all breeds across London.