Make sure you can provide your dog with the following:
- Time to educate, socialise and train a dog through early puppyhood and adolescence into adulthood
- Regular, adequate meals and a constant supply of clean drinking water
- Freedom and regular exercise in a safe place, such as a fenced garden
- A clean and comfortable bed
- Veterinary care whenever needed
Dogs of all ages are very appealing and it is easy to get carried away with the idea of taking one home without really thinking about the consequences. Bringing up a dog of any age and caring for it for anything up to 14 or 15 years, perhaps longer, will take a lot of time, effort and money. You will be responsible for your dog's health and happiness. If you do not think you can care for a dog for the rest of its life, you should not get one. Not only will you have to care for your dog's physical needs, but you will also owe it to your dog to teach it good manners and ensure it is well socialized. You may not always be able to look after your dog if unforeseen circumstances arise and a dog with bad manners and behaviour could face a very uncertain future.
- Be sure you understand the needs of the dog you are interested in. Your local veterinary practice should be able to advise you.
- Be prepared to wait, because the right dog is worth waiting for
- In the case of puppies, ideally you should see the litter and consider the parents' health and temperaments
- Where appropriate make sure your chosen dog is old enough to leave its mother
- You should have easy access to the litter and be able to handle them freely,under supervision
- Check the facilities are clean, the litter appears alert and healthy and that the puppies have adequate supplies of toys
- Visit your chosen pet regularly between the time of choosing and collection
- For pedigree puppies, ensure that all documentation is in order
- If any paperwork is unavailable and has to be sent on, get a written commitment as to when it will be delivered
- A dog is a lifetime commitment
- Ask for a copy of the vaccination certificate and record of worming.
- Request a written agreement that purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your vet within 72 hours of purchase
- If your chosen dog does not originate from the place of purchase, ask where it came from
- Check if a pet insurance cover note is available to cover early, unforeseen veterinary costs
If you follow these principles and are prepared to spend time, energy and money on your dog, you will reap the rewards in the end by having a well-behaved, faithful member of the family, who will bring you years of joy and companionship.