You want to buy a dog. Your decision is good and deserves respect. But are you sure you thought it through properly? A dog is not a mere purchase you can make at a store and give it back in several days if it doesn't fits. A dog is not a toy, and you should clearly realize that the happiness of the sensitive and loving creature will totally depend on you, your habits and moods. A dog needs you constant concern. Are you ready to be an owner and to take a luggage of responsibilities to carry? In brief, before you buy a dog, think twice: if you have the right to do this.
THINGS TO KNOW WHILE CHOOSING A DOG
Before you opt for some breed, think once again about the changes that will come into your life and about the problems you will face as a new living creature will enter your house.
What way of life do you live? Who will look after your dog when you are away? Do you have somebody to whom you can give the dog when go on vocations? Remember that you should feed the dog in determined one the same hours and when you live in the town walk with it four to five times a day (especially in the first months of life) despite the weather.
Is your house ample enough? This dictates the breed you are able to own. For instance, if you live on the 4th flour and your apartments are small, it is better to put aside Saint Bernard, German Shepherd or Setter and buy a Poodle, Dachshund or Fox Terrier. This is not only you who gains but the dog as well. Large dogs need mush space to move. Even if you have a small garden or a house in the country, you will anyway go easier with a small or a middle-sized dog.
There is a notion that a dog in the flat is unhappy. This is relative. Of course, if a dog is large and a house is too small, the animal will, no doubt, feel discomfort. But at the same time a dog feels happy when spends more time with the owner. The dog needs the man who talks with it, who pays attention and gives to understand the animal is the full member of the family despite any circumstances. German Shepherd that lives in the house with the owner and spends most time nearby him is much happier than the same dog fastened with a long chain in a garden, because the latter one, though it has more freedom, almost doesn't communicate with its owner and virtually the owner doesn't care for it.
A dog in the family is usually a big goy for children, who, as a rule, reach for every creature. A dog, in his turn, displays a surprising kindness and patience towards a kid. But in order to save piece in the family, it is necessary to agree on some rules from the very beginning:
- a baby should never punch the dog or treat it bad;
- he/she should not treat the dog like a toy;
- the child should not approach to the dog when the latter eats;
- he shouldn't disturb the dog when it sleeps;
- don't allow the dog to leak the child's face and arms;
- the child shouldn't cram the dog with the sweets;
- try to avoid situations when the child may feel jealous towards the dog.
It's difficult to recommend some definite breed for the family with children. A dog of any breed can be very tender with the household, in exchange for their love and care.
The next step is estimation of the family budget. For a family with a small income sums spent on keeping a dog will be, to put it mildly, appreciable. Of course, these expenses are no infinite but should be, nonetheless, considered.
The time when the dog could be satisfied with a plate of soup or porridge mixed with meat waste - some scraps from the owner's table - become the thing of the past. Both the man's and the dog's diets have changed.
More about the dog's feeding you can read in other chapters of my book. Here it must be noted that the base of the full ration for a dog consists of fresh meat or substitutes that are special high-quality canned products. As you know, these foodstuffs are rather dear, and the most large-sized dogs need more than 1.5 kg of meat daily.
Add to the food cost the expenses for veterinary care which is in special demand with the dogs under one year, plus grooming tools, the groomer service and other needs and you will see if you are equal to such charges. Perhaps, after you count everything perhaps you will conclude that the purchase should be put aside till the better time.
What dog to buy then? There's no such question for serious breeders, who are the members of special clubs and visit dog shows with their pets. But if you have never had a dog you must decide whether the pedigree certificate and a right to take part in shows are important for you. Probably, you'll be happy living with a pooch which in its own way is unique for you. However when you bring yourself to buy a no-pedigree puppy, you can't tell how the dog will look like later, therefore it is better to get a junior puppy or a juvenile dog. At least you'll know how tall your pet will be. When you pick the puppy up on the street, first of all, show it to a vet. At the same time you should realize that the lost dog might have owners, who may be feeling a big sorrow for the lost pet, and who might be looking for it. Therefore after you shelter the dog, give an ad. Anyway, try to find its owners to keep your conscience clear.
Be careful with the puppy you were presented. May be at first this charming creature will seem touching. But after several months as the puppy will grow he will change and may become a burden on you. Keep the gifted puppy only if you are sure it will be a big joy for each member of your family, and hardships of care will be a pleasant duty rather than a grave obligation. A dog that feels unwanted, may grow malicious and aggressive, can damage things and give a lot of trouble. A dog brings joy only when it is really needed.
If you want to buy an expensive pedigree dog, you must find out what were raising conditions for the pups, if their pedigree certificates are original, what is about the dam, if she is healthy? It is not improbable that you'll meet unfair breeders, and hence, never buy a puppy on occasion to avoid disappointment in future.
It's a good idea to consult to a breed specialist, who is neutral to both sides. However don't be under delusion and remember that a well raised puppy with a perfect pedigree is just a pure-bred dog which might not pass the necessary tests or win the championship.
When you buy a puppy, make sure it is healthy. His body temperature should not exceed 39'C (the norm is 38.2 - 38.6 'C). Find out about the vaccinations that have been done and that should yet be done. As a rule, breeders who keep several dogs and professionally raise puppies for sale, save money on the dog food. Beside this, the congestion predisposes different infections to be easily spread around. Therefore professionalism with respect to dogs doesn't always guarantee high-quality puppies. The same thing concerns foreign kennels that breed dogs for sale.
from "Le Livre Des Chiens" ["The Book About Dogs"] by Georges W. Roucayrol,
Translated by Tatiana Karpova (Moscow)
(MSU, Biology faculture, Dep. zoology and ecology).