Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pre Purchase Counseling, Is It Right For You?

Are you thinking about getting a dog or a puppy?   Are you well informed before you take this life-altering step?   Yes, your life will change dramatically if you become a Pet Parent.  Most people research the purchase of a new car longer than they do the decision to add a dog to their home.  True a car may cost more, but most people only have their cars 5 years and a dog lives an average of 12-15 years.  Basing your decision to get a dog on solid information can help make having dog an enriching experience that changes your life for the better.  Adding a dog to the family for all the wrong reasons or getting the wrong dog can lead to heartache.

There are many things to consider when adding a puppy or dog to your family, sorting everything out before you're driving home with Fido in the car is the best approach. 

What age of dog would be best for your family?
While puppies are cute and cuddly, they are not for every family.  They require alot of time and attention, will need to be housebroken, crate trained, require alot of management and supervision around children, need alot of exercise and socialization in the first 6 months and don't forget training.  This is a very time consuming adventure, be sure you have time to meet their needs because the 'cuteness' wears off quickly when they are tearing your house apart, biting the kids, and keeping you up at night.  

If you have a young family or a busy schedule, an older dog is a better choice.  The shelters are full of wonderful dogs looking for forever homes.   If you prefer a specific breed, many breeders release older dogs from their programs. 

Are there things to consider when adopting an older dog?
Anytime you adopt an older dog, that means any dog over 6 months of age, you may be dealing with a variety of unknowns.   If you do not have any background on the dog you will not know their socialization history.  This is critical especially for dogs that live with children.   While you will not know everything about an adopted dog, it does help to evaluate the following:
What is their comfort level around children?
Are there any behavioral concerns such as resource guarding or separation anxiety?
Are they reactive or aggressive around other animals?
Are they comfortable being handled?
Are they crate trained and/or comfortable with confinement?

Adopting a puppy or dog with behavioral problems requires a commitment of time and money.  It's important to be realistic about your ability to meet their needs.  I've worked with many stressed families who wished they had called me BEFORE selecting their pet rather than after the fact.

The best approach is to be as honest with yourself as possible, look at your schedule,  lifestyle and  budget.  All of these should play a part in helping you make an informed decision.

If you're thinking of adding a puppy or dog to your family, consider Pre Purchase Counseling.  I offer this service via phone, Skype or in person.   We will work together to determine the best dog for your family. 


1 comment:

  1. What a GREAT idea!! And I can vouch for Michelle's skills -- she helped me identify the puppy in our litter best suited to being a therapy dog, and he is AMAZING. It will be WELL worth your investment.


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