Suddenly deciding that you absolutely need a puppy in your life can be something of a revelation, and for some prospective first-time owners, the urge to go out and buy or adopt a canine companion right that minute can be almost overwhelming.
It really isn’t hard to find pups for sale in the UK, of all shapes, sizes and breeds and at all price points, and logistically there is a reasonable chance that you could go from “I want a puppy” to having bought and brought home a puppy within just a couple of days.
However, this is an absolutely terrible idea, and reflects a high level of irresponsibility on the part of both the puppy buyer and the seller in question too.
Getting a puppy is absolutely not a decision that you should rush into or take lightly, and dog ownership transforms your whole life – both for good and for bad – and represents a huge commitment of time, money and resources.
It is also in many ways very limiting, even more so in some regards than having a child, because there are far more places you can’t take your dog along to than there are places that don’t permit children!
Even when it comes to puppy buyers who take plenty of time over making their final decision and picking their eventual puppy, there are several things that most puppy buyers say in hindsight a year or more down the line that they underestimated; and this can cause problems for both dog and owner.
With this in mind, this article will tell you about five things that most first-time puppy buyers underestimate, at their peril. Read on to learn more and avoid the pitfalls!
Keeping a puppy and/or adult dog is expensive, and based on the results of numerous years’ worth of PDSA pet ownership surveys, most first-time dog buyers greatly underestimate the costs involved.
This may be due to either failing to factor in certain costs at all, such as grooming, walking services or veterinary care/insurance, or due to unexpected health problems or simply underestimating the cost of things like food and accessories.
The amount of any exercise any given dog needs depends on their breed and age, and this can be hugely variable with some breeds like the pug being less challenging in this regards than most others.
However, even when it comes to more sedentary dog breeds, very few dogs in the UK actually get enough exercise of the right type. Regardless of the type of dog you own, two half-hour walks per day should be considered the bare minimum, and for some breeds, unless you have two or more hours per day to dedicate to active, engaging walks, steer well clear.
Most people who get a puppy have a vague plan to take them to training classes or teach them the basics at some point, but no real idea of how training a dog works, when to start, or how to logistically teach a dog a command.
Having a plan in place for training and setting and enforcing the rules is something you need to do before your puppy comes home with you, not be a vague afterthought about something you’ll look into further down the line.
If you do not begin to instil routine and boundaries, and set the rules from the get-go, your puppy is apt to become quite a handful, and you’ll teach them bad habits that can be very hard to undo later.
Puppies and adult dogs alike need a lot of attention, and you simply cannot leave them alone for protracted periods of time even when fully grown, such as if you go out to work for eight hours a day.
This is something that first-time owners commonly overlook, in terms of how much time they can leave a dog alone for, and the amount of engagement and interaction they need as well.
Dogs are demanding, high-maintenance pets, and you need to be very sure you have the time, patience and enthusiasm for meeting their needs, both emotionally and physically, before you bring one home.
The idea of your pup getting sick is frightening to all dog owners, and also to people who have yet to even get a puppy. Even with this in mind, all too many puppy buyers overlook the importance of picking a healthy puppy, taking pains to learn what is needed in order to do so, and thoroughly researching breed-specific health issues, health testing, and picking a responsible breeder before they even get as far as picking out a puppy.
Choosing a puppy that turns out to be ailing or that develops a health condition later on down the line is not just concerning; it can also be heart-breaking, and hugely expensive in terms of veterinary fees. Many people who inadvertently pick a puppy with health problems also find themselves at some point in the position of simply being unable to fund the care their dog needs entirely, and the time, worry and care implications of managing various health conditions and illnesses are not to be overlooked either.
There is no sure-fire way to guarantee any puppy you pick will be healthy for life, but plenty of ways to maximise your chances of doing so, and to negate some entirely avoidable mistakes entirely. Research is the key to this; both into the health of the dog breed you’re considering, and the individual breed line you’re looking at, and even the breeder or seller themselves.