Adopting your first Puppy
The whole family is sure to be excited at the thought of a fun new arrival, particularly during these challenging times. So, what should you consider when choosing your first Puppy?
- Adopt or Buy?
The choice between adopting and buying a dog is driven by two main factors – cost and ethical considerations. Some people are against the concept of breeding animals for pets, yet still love animals. Adopting a rescue dog is, therefore, a great compromise. You are helping to give a dog a better life while avoiding subsidising the pet shop market. You may also consider adoption if you are unable to afford a dog from a pet shop or breeder.
- Which Breed?
With so many Breeds available, it can be tough to choose which one to buy. Do not merely pick a dog based on how cute it looks. Each breed has many different considerations. For example, Poodles are small, cute, fluffy, hypoallergenic, and very intelligent. However, they often suffer from anxiety if their owner leaves them alone for many hours. In Poodle’s case, it is, therefore, essential to consider if you can commit to the amount of attention it requires. You can find out all about different breeds and their personalities online.
- What Size?
When you are looking at Puppies in the shop, they are all small and cute. But what will they turn in to? Find out now how big they will grow. If the dog is a large breed, you will need to be prepared for expensive food bills, the need to go for long walks outside, and a big enough house for them to live with you comfortably.
- Where will they live?
Inside or out? There are advantages to both. Think about what your dog is for. Is it merely a companion for the family, or do you need a dog to aid with security or working outdoors?
- Who will walk them?
All dogs regardless of size, require regular exercise. Decide before you buy how you plan to split the dog-walking duties. Come up with a clear rota in advance that everybody is happy with.
- Family Health
Consider whether a dog is suitable for your family members. People with breathing problems such as Asthma can be at real risk from Asthma Attacks with a dog in the house. If you still decide you want a dog, consider one of the hypoallergenic breeds such as Schnauzer’s, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Shih Tzu.
- How much will they cost to look after?
Generally, the larger the dog, the more it will cost. However, small dogs can also cost a lot of money too. Remember to think about costs such as grooming, healthcare, kennels when going on vacation, and pet accessories.
- Can I commit to 15 years of caring?
Depending on the breed, some dogs can live up to 15-20 years old. What are your life ambitions? If you live alone and plan to go on a gap year travelling the world within the next few years, it is probably not a good idea to adopt a dog. Remember the saying “A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas!”.
- Other Pets
Will your dog be welcomed into the home by other pets you already have? For example, if you have a cat, you may need to carefully consider the decision as to whether to get a dog as well.
- Things you need to buy.
Preparing for your new dog is an exciting time. Once you have committed to adopting a specific dog, you can start preparing for the arrival. Beds, bowls, collars, leashes, food, they all need careful consideration. One of the most important items to buy is a pet tag. This allows your dog to be quickly reunited with you if they go missing.
First-year Puppy Vaccines
Dog vaccinations are essential for your new pet to both avoid them getting ill, and to help prevent the spread of diseases amongst the Great Australian Pet Population.
The typical vaccination scheme is:
6-8 weeks – C3 – This vaccine is designed to stop the three core diseases – Canine distemper virus (CDV), Canine adenovirus (CAV), and Canine parvovirus (CPV-2).
10-12 weeks – C3 again + optional C4/C5 – the second round of C3 is administered along with an option C4 or C5 which are for kennel cough. These are important for dogs who will regularly mix with other dogs at dog shows or kennels.
16 weeks – C3 again
15 months – C3 Booster
Every subsequent three years – C3 Booster
You should budget for around $250 for the three rounds of C3 while still a puppy.
It is then sensible to put aside around $100/year for vaccines when your dog is older.
Consult your vet for further advice on the best vaccines for your dog.
Five Puppy Training Techniques you can start immediately
An obedient pet requires a good training regime from day one.
Training your Puppy can start pretty much as soon as it arrives home with you.
Here are five simple exercises to begin immediately:
- Call them by name. Choose a good clear name with one or two syllables that you can quickly call and that your dog will recognise. Names such as Max, Suzie, Charlie, Magnus, and Jasper are all excellent choices. The sooner you start using this name, the quicker they will begin responding to it.
- When you want them to join you, call them with the phrase “Come Charlie”. When they respond by coming to you, give some positive re-enforcement or a treat.
- Decide upfront which parts of the house they can spend time in. Many people decide to make the upstairs or bedroom off-limits.
- Reward good behaviour with a treat. Just like humans, your pet will respond kindly to being rewarded.
- Down, sit, stay. Your Puppy will start to respond to common training phrases by around 2months old.
At around six months old, you may choose to take your pet to formal dog training classes.
However you decide to train your dog, remain positive. Try to reward good behaviour rather than punish bad behaviour.