Deciding on getting a puppy

What puppy to choose for children and busy lifestyleGetting a puppy can be a decision with life changing consequences. Before choosing a puppy you may have questions about whether getting a dog is right for you, or what breed would most suit your family, home, lifestyle and finding the right dog to match living with children. A dog can live for 15 years or more and so the decision to take on a dog is one that requires a lot of thought.

Having a sociable, well-mannered dog as a companion is a great joy. Although it is easy to underestimate how much time, energy, commitment and cost is involved. Puppies require constant supervision, lots of training and socialisation to integrate them into family living and for them to become sociable canine companions.

Other aspects to consider before getting a puppy are how long they may be regularly left alone, how much time you can give to exercising them on a daily basis, feeding and ongoing veterinary costs. Will you need someone to look after your dog occasionally whilst you are not around, such as a dog walker, or will your commitments mean that you require regular, long-term help such as doggy daycare? If so, here's a useful helpsheet from the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) with the things you need to consider before choosing such services.  

How to choose a breed

Once you have decided to get a puppy, now is the time to start doing your homework on choosing the right breed for you, your family and lifestyle. If this is your first dog, it may be even more difficult to decide as you may all have your own 'favourite breed'. Because characteristics vary, finding the right breed depends on what you are looking for in a dog:

  • Do you want a high energy, active dog that requires lots of exercise, or one that is okay with one walk a day?
  • Do you want a dog to go jogging with, or do you want a 'couch potato'? 
  • Do you want a dog that is eager to please, or one that is happily independent?
  • Do you want outgoing and friendly, or reserved and sensitive?

There are over 400 different breeds, not including the mixed and new 'cross-breeds' (hybrid dogs). Dogs are divided into seven breed categories: Gundog, Hound, Pastoral, Terrier, Toy, Utility or Working. Therefore it is important to take some considerations into account before deciding on a breed:

  • Temperament - some breeds are more sociable while others tend to be aloof with strangers
  • Exercise requirements - small size doesn't mean less exercise. Some larger breeds are less active while some small breeds are very energetic
  • Energy levels - yours and your dog's! If you are naturally less active, will you be able to keep up with your dog's exercise needs
  • Size - larger dogs may be more suitable for small children, as small dogs may be seen as 'toys' by young children  
  • Training - all dogs are trainable, but some require more training than others, especially if your dog is not biddable
  • Hypoallergenic - there is no scientific research supporting the claim that certain dog breeds are hypoallergenic. There are indeed low-shedding dogs, but puppies of cross-breeds will not have consistently predictable characteristics. Read more about allergy-friendly dogs

Due to dogs being bred for specific jobs, there will be distinct differences among breeds with certain dogs having a tendency towards certain behaviours. Behaviour is influenced by breed type with breed-typical behaviours such as barking, chasing, or guarding being more prevalent in some breeds compared to others.

Choose a breed for temperament and energy levels, not size or looks. While you can shape a puppy's behaviour from the start, remember a puppy is a lot of work! Take the time to understand what it is you want from a dog before deciding on the breed type that is right for you. Here's a leaflet from the Blue Cross that might help in your decision.  

If you need help with making your choice, please contact us. For recommended books and equipment for your puppy, visit our online shop.

Pre-Puppy Home Visit

Pre Puppy Visit PugOnce you have decided on your ‘make and model’ a Pre-Puppy Home Visit can help you prepare for your puppy's arrival and prevent you making expensive and unnecessary purchases. There is a deluge of puppy information available in books and on the internet and this can often cause confusion, especially for first time dog owners. 

Bringing your new puppy home often cannot come soon enough. For a smoother tranisition from the breeder it helps to be well-organised in advance for your puppy’s homecoming by providing them with their own area and being well prepared for their arrival. Understanding your puppy’s needs and how you will care for them is uncomplicated if you are suitably equipped.

If you are unsure whether to crate train or not, where your new puppy should sleep or are apprehensive about the first couple of days and want to get things right from the beginning, I offer an in-home visit to help you plan and prepare for your puppy's homecoming. I can also advise on introducing your new puppy to your existing dog, or if you have a cat. 

To help your puppy settle more easily into their new surroundings, why not book a Home Visit? Please contact us


020 8892 2435

07929 292909




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