The past year has seen a huge increase in families entering into the world of dog ownership. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, here are some top tips for what to think about before you go and get a family pooch:

Research research and research some more!

It’s so important to research and choose your dog breed carefully. Make sure you consider a breed or type of dog that suits your activity levels and family dynamic (and not one purely based on looks!) If possible, meet other people who own the breed, spend time with the dog and chat to them about all the ins and outs!

Your dogs temperament needs to be suitable for your family unit. For instance if you have young children and a busy household, think about getting a calmer dog that can cope with lots of stimulation and some chaos! A working cocker spaniel wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate for example, but a Labrador could be.

Are you getting a dog for the right reasons?

Or on a whim? Your dog is going to be an important new member of your family and will require the same attention and care as young children. Have you got time to be around when you first get your puppy or new dog? Can you take time off work? Will you be able to be with your dog most of the day and do you have sufficient space in your home and garden?

Back to research!

Once you’ve chosen the type of dog you think would be a great fit, make sure you research your breeder thoroughly. A good breeder should ask you lots of questions and want to know as much about you as you do about them, to make sure you are able to provide a suitable home.

Checklist points for choosing a family dog:

  • Can you see and meet both of your puppies parents?
  • If a pedigree, is it KC registered or similar?
  • Has the puppy been bred in a home environment?
  • Has the puppy been exposed to different environmental factors early on? (For instance house noises, outside noises)
  • When old enough, has your puppy mixed with older dogs in the breeders house? This can help socialisation.
  • Has your puppy been fed on good quality food when being weaned?
  • Has he had access to his mother throughout and not weaned too early or force weaned?
  • Is the breeder happy for you to visit your puppy beforehand? Make sure you ALWAYS collect your puppy from the breeder, a huge red flag is if they ask to meet you in a public place or carpark or offer ‘delivery’ when you’ve never been to see them in person.
  • Avoid pet sale websites and find the website of the breeder to go direct

My new dog is home with us, what now?!

When you’ve finally found your new furry family member, its important to get off to the best start and set yourselves up to win from the outset! Build some solid foundations and set your puppy up to be a well rounded member of the family.

Think about what you want to do with your dog and make sure they’re going to fit in with those plans. For instance, if you’re planning lots of active holidays – your dog needs to get used to travelling well, changing environments and be calm around other people and dogs.

If you’ve never had a dog, do enlist the help of a reputable professional who uses positive and ethical training methods. It’s much more cost effective, and kinder to your dog in the long run to get things right from the beginning, rather than trying to solve problems later down the line.

Finally, its important to ALWAYS supervise interactions between your dog and young children. Your dog should always have a ‘safe space’ where they can take themselves away for quiet time and space, away from the bustle of family life.

If you have any questions or want to book a consultation, please head to my bloss profile!