There are usually two ways of bringing a dog home – Adopting and Buying. This is your decision, and here is some information that can help you make an informed one.
Adopting a Dog
There are many puppies and dogs in shelters who need homes. Dogs are rehomed and abandoned at all ages for a range of reasons, some understandable and some selfish. Given the sheer number of mixed and pure breed dogs of all ages up for adoption, adopting seems to be not only moral, but also the practical thing to do.
A major benefit of adoption is you can find the dog exactly suited to your lifestyle. Don’t want to deal with toileting and mouthing? Get an older dog! Have a baby at home? We can find a dog who loves children and does not jump! Want a running partner? We’ll pair you with a super active dog who loves to run! Are you a working couple? We can find an older dog who is used to being alone for several hours.
As with any dog, there will be an adjustment period. But, adopting from a responsible and ethical NGO will not leave you disappointed!
Of course, some rescue dogs have very severe fear and anxiety issues. A responsible NGO will be upfront about these issues, have already been working on these behaviours, and will prepare/support you. If you are willing to put in some time, these issues can also be worked on to various degrees.
If you choose to adopt, spend as much time with the dog before making a decision. Visit the dog in the shelter/foster home, get a vet’s AND a behaviourist’s opinion. Interact, observe and allow the both of you to get comfortable with one another. Maybe go on a walk! Shelters and organizations usually have a rigorous adoption policy and can help you find a dog most suited to you. I don’t think you will be left disappointed.
Buying a Dog
If you want a specific breed, either for looks, known history/temperament, or to show the dog at a local Kennel Club, you might want to consider going the breeder route. Buying a dog from breeders usually assures you a standardized height, weight and appearance (important for showing your dog), but only the best breeders can assure you a good temperament. Unfortunately, breeding is a completely unregulated industry. Here are some tips to ensure you find a good breeder:
~ Ask them if they have registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India
~ Run away from that breeder who wants to sell you puppies under 50-60 days old. Puppies HAVE to be with their mother for at least 7-8 weeks!
~ They must be transparent and allow you to visit both the parents of the puppy, and be satisfied with their good health and temperament (friendliness, fears are passed down too!).
~ You must be satisfied with the good temperament (sweet, friendly, and not at all aggressive) of both the parents. Aggression can be passed down to the litter. Do not assume a show dog will be smart, or sweet-tempered.
~ You must be allowed to see where the puppy has been brought up. It should a resource-rich environment with toys/stimulation, a variety of food, exercise and play space, and at least two kinds of surfaces. Toilet training starts they are born. Mothers teach the pups the surface they can sleep on, and the surface they can defecate on. Puppies kept on newspaper or confined to a kennel do not learn the difference, and may be harder to toilet train. Any good breeder will raise his dogs in a physically and mentally healthy environment.
~ Ask the breeder questions about the breed. Good breeders are experts in their field, and are extremely knowledgeable about he breed – height, weight, breed history, breed characteristics etc
~ Avoid breeders who refuse to cooperate with you. Buying dogs is an expensive affair, and you need to be absolutely certain that you are getting your money’s worth.
There are pros and cons to adopting and buying a dog. Whichever way you choose, give your complete 100% to your new furry friend. You are also responsible for raising a happy, confident and healthy dog.