FAQ's Before Buying a Dog

If you're reading this article, it's a good bet that you're seriously considering buying a dog. Nonetheless, before you go racing ahead to read up on how to choose a breed or where to find a breeder, it would be wise to first take a step backward to weigh the merits of your basic dog buying decision. What might now seem like a well-thought-out and workable notion must be plausible enough to measure up to the 12 to 15 years a dog will be a member of your family. So, think of this as a warm-up exercise on the road to acquiring that wonderful puppy, and let's review some of the important questions you really need to ask yourself.

Why am I buying this dog?

Is it for the kids, for myself, or to replace a deceased canine companion cherished by the whole family? Do I want a family pet, a show dog, a breeding prospect, or all or any of the above? It is important to be sure that your reasons are sound and not motivated by whims or impulse. If you're thinking that the acquisition of a puppy will transform your kids into models of responsibility... think again!

Does everyone in the family (including Mom) really want this dog?

Invariably, despite good intentions and promises to the contrary, at least 75 per cent of the dog's care tends to fall on the domestic leader of the household. More often than not, that's Mom. To pick up the remaining 25 per cent of the responsibilities, it's important that all other members of the family really want the dog and are willing to pitch in. Besides, a dog that starts off being unwanted or resented by even one member of the family can hardly expect to live a totally happy life.

Will a dog fit into my (our) lifestyle?

Do you maintain a regular schedule? After all, dogs are creatures of habit. Would you rather go directly home at the end of the day to walk the dog, or get together with friends for a beer or a game of squash? For that matter, who will be home with the dog during the day while you're out slogging away to earn enough for dog food? If no one's home, is there a friend or neighbour who can come in during the day to walk and feed Fido? Finally, do you truly have enough free time and energy to put into the necessary care, training and companionship of a dog?

Do I have the proper facilities for a dog?

While this question is closely linked to breed selection, if at heart you are a "big dog" person but you happen to live in a high-rise condo, your situation may be at odds with owning the type of dog you'd most enjoy. As well, it should be asked, are you willing to make necessary alterations to your facilities to accommodate a dog; i.e., fencing the yard, putting in a dog run, etc.

Am I prepared for the expense of dog ownership?

As a breeder, I constantly remind puppy buyers that the cheapest thing about buying a dog is the actual dog. Food, licenses, grooming appointments, obedience classes and even routine veterinary costs can quickly put the financial feasibility of dog ownership out of the ballpark for many.

Do I accept all the responsibilities that come with being a good dog owner?

This includes licensing requirements, local bylaws, the etiquette of being a good owner (which most definitely includes stooping and scooping), the willingness to provide proper training, nutrition, grooming, vet care, etc.

Am I prepared to do the research?

Are you willing to go to the local libraries, dog shows, breeder and dog clubs, and use other resources like Dogs in Canada magazine to assist you in selecting the breed that you will be most happy with, and, subsequently, the dog that will be most happy with you?

The Golden Rules: Finding a Reputable Breeder
  1. Always visit the kennel.
  2. Make certain the dam (mother) is on the premises and available for you to see.
  3. Ask to see health certificates and records of visits to the veterinarian.
  4. Insist upon being provided with a signed bill of sale stating the puppy is being sold as a purebred.
  5. Insist upon being provided with a written guarantee.
  6. Confirm that the dog has been permanently and uniquely identified.
  7. Confirm CKC registration of the parents, the litter and the puppy you are about to purchase.
  8. Ask if the breeder is a member of the CKC.


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