15 Questions How To Choose A Dog

A movie featuring a dog is bound to be a box office hit.

“Lassie” did it for Rough Collies; “Marley” even outshined her in his campaign for the Labrador Retriever breed.

 To be fair to the original “Lassie”, Marley had social media, blueray DVD and Jennifer in his campaign. The original Lassie series dates back to the 1950’s but even  today  many people will refer to Rough Collies as  a “Lassie-dog”.

An increase in the popularity of the breed follows suit after  the appearance of another Hollywood dog. Unfortunately the strong characteristics of the breed are often projected in the film and not their most common trades. An exception was the way the St Bernard was presented  in “Beethoven”. Any person that went out  to buy a St. Bernard after seeing Beethoven  slobbering all over the screen and taking up most of the bed was a sucker for punishment.

Movies featuring Huskies are another favourite. What a beautiful picture it is to see a pack of Huskies running through an artic landscape. They boundless energy, boisterous frolicking in the snow and happy howling paints and picture of camaraderie and loyalty. A far cry from the bored, frustrated howling Husky bundled up in a small suburban back yard.

But once the sound track of the movie has faded away, the popcorn turned cold and Marley is long forgotten the dog you have chosen as the cute, fluffy puppy will still be your commitment.

When selecting your next breed of dog, never be influenced by the “popular” breeds. You do not have the arctic planes to play in and Jennifer is not going to clean-up after Marley.

Ask yourself the following questions before you make a 15 year commitment:

  1. Have you had a dog before? Do you still have that dog and if not what happened to your dog?
  2. Will the dog be interacting with children and other animals. Some breeds are better than others with children. Others do not get along with children or can easily be injured if handled rough by a child.
  3. How much space will this dog need, and how much can you provide?
  4. How vocal is this breed? And will your neighbours tolerate the noise?
  5. How much grooming will this dog need. The silky shinning coat of the Yorkie on the photo does not happen by itself, many hours of grooming and care results in a perfect coat, which will be spoiled in seconds when she jumps into the  next muddy puddle.
  6. Do you do daily exercise? Energetic breeds like Border Collies, Weimaraners and Boxers will need daily jogging to satisfy their exercise needs. Working dogs like Huskies will need daily structured exercise  and  not just a stroll around the block.
  7. Are you willing to volunteer your Saturday mornings for puppy classes and obedience training. This is a crucial question for prospective owners of  dogs such as Akitas, Rottweilers, Boxers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, etc. An untrained guard dog can easily become a domineering pet with severe behavioural  problems.
  8. Can you financially take care of veterinary cost? Do you know what sterilisation, vaccination and  parasite control cost? Will you have the funds in case of an emergency or accident?
  9. What pet medical insurance is available? What will be covered?
  10. Do you know what the cost of a good quality dog food is per month? Can you afford it for the next 15 years?
  11. Do you know the breed specific conditions that may affect this breed? Were the parents of the puppy checked for these conditions?
  12. Do you know at what age a puppy needs to be vaccinated and sterilised? A puppy “ante-natal” class will prevent a lot of the“I did not know so I did not do” moments.
  13. If  you are working long hours is there a puppy daycare you can take the pup to for socialization?
  14. Who will be cleaning up after the pup, making sure his environment is hygienic and safe?
  15. Will I still love this pup once he is not cute and cuddly anymore? Will my lifestyle still have space for this dog in 5 … 10 … 15 years’ time?

Once you have answered these questions, read up about the breed, spoken to somebody who owns one of these dogs and chatted to your vet and you are still convinced that you are ready to commit for life then it is the time to open your heart and experience unconditional love.

Article by: Dr Adel Ferreira


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