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Choosing a pup

Have you heard the quote? "No Bad Dogs Only Bad Owners" Coined by the late Barbara Woodhouse.

This is, in fact, a very inaccurate statement about dogs and their owners. I see many good owners with bad dogs and bad owners with good dogs.

There are numerous reasons why we end up with dogs with behavioural, aggression and health issues. The biggest culprits of all are Breeders. That includes crossbreeds and pedigrees.

There are many things to consider when purchasing a dog. Let me list a few.


What breed suits me and my situation? Consider:


Home environment indoor/outdoor or both? Do you have secure fences? Do you have a designated toilet area, are there any hazards, is your home and yard puppy proof! Consider also poisonous material and plants!

Exercise needs. Are you getting a lap dog? Will your dog need daily exercise, so they won’t be destructive? Do you have items of stimulation prepared for when you are not at home? Will you need a dog walker?

Grooming needs,  does your chosen pup need regular grooming? Are you prepared to trim nails, brush hair, wipe eyes or take pup to the groomer?

Health issues with the breed, is your pup a snub nose? Will it have breathing issues? Do you need to watch out for hip issues? Are you aware that over exercising pup when younger can cause bad bone or joint formation?

Male or Female? There are a lot of misconceptions around this choice. Many believe that a male dog will lift his leg and mark his territory, well yes he will! If you DO NOT DESEX but so will a female. The idea of marking a territory is to tell other dogs this is my domain and I own this area. But all dogs will do this it is a sign of coming of age and letting potential mates know that they will find them here.

Desex prior to sexual maturity to avoid this.

Another one, male dogs wonder, again yes they do if they are intact! They will smell a female on heat and take off to mate with her,  do you think a female is different? No! they will get the urge to mate twice a year if not desexed and they will try to get out to a male even back up to the fence.

Desex your pet if you do not plan to breed and avoid all this and enjoy a pet of either sex. 

Access to a vet. Do you have access to a vet? Do you have recommendations for the vet? Does your dog like your vet? Do you feel the information you get from your vet is in your best interest and not in their businesses interests?

Children. Have you discussed your new pet with your child? Have you talked about appropriate contact between pup and children? Are you able to supervise this interaction in the first few months to make sure it is a positive interaction for both child and pup?

Allergies. Do you need to consider a breed with a hypoallergenic coat? Do you need to consider what to do if your dog is allergic to a product or item around the home?

Intelligence trainability. Are you looking for a highly intelligent breed or moderately intelligent? Have you considered the pros and cons? Can you provide socialization and stimulation to your dog? Have you looked into learning simple coaching/training online? Will you take the pup to puppy school or obedience classes? Do you have the time to train pup?

Time. Do you have the time required to make the relationship between you and pup a happy and beneficial one?


The breeder

Do they have a guarantee policy?

Do they have a sales agreement?

Do they consider their dogs welfare?

Do they provide you with information and support?

Do they have any qualifications or Education?

Do they seem knowledgeable about breeding and their breeds?

Do they offer after sale support?

What else is important to you?

Can you contact them and talk to them?

Do they have references?


These are just some of the things you need to consider when choosing a dog. It is your responsibility to consider that this pup you are getting will be around for 13-16+years and you will be responsible for their health and welfare are you ready?

Adopt don’t shop?

Easier said then done. The problem with adopting dogs from shelters and rescues is you have no idea what you are going to get.

If you consider just 2 factors:

  1. Inherited disease 2. Inherited traits.

Did you know that a lot of your dogs’ behaviour is in response to what goes on in the womb of a mother dog and the inherited genes from both parents? Not to mention the few short weeks pup stays with mum and experiences possible fear response, reaction and stimuli or lack thereof.

What is it you are getting from a rescue? I dog that has been brought up where? Did their parents have behavioural issues? Will the dog have anxiety, aggression or reactive behavioural problems? What is it you are getting, an educated guess of the breed and it's possible behaviour.

I highly recommend getting a rescue dog if you are after a challenge! This is not a bad thing. Most dogs have wonderful natures. But I recommend doing this only if you are ready to go above and beyond to help a dog that may have lifelong issues.

There are many happy stories related to rescue dogs:

A dog is rescued and is in the backyard with child and seen throwing bub across the yard. Parents rush out to find the dog is protecting bub from a snake.

Not so happy outcomes:

Grandmother adopts a dog from rescue, the dog is completely unsuited as is reactive to cats and pulls grandmother over during walk breaking her hip.

I have had many rescue dogs over the years as a teenage girl who had undying attention to my best friend and training him.

Consider the pros and cons carefully. Unfortunately doing the “right’ thing isn’t always right for everyone. Rescues were right for me when I was young and single and rescues will be right for me when I retire to a life on the farm. Every situation has a purpose. Currently, I do take an odd rescue here and there but will only work with small dogs to rehome.

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