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Choosing the Right Pet

Bringing a pet into your life is not to be rushed and a commitment made for the life of the pet. It is important to search with your eyes wide open weighing the many factors involved. These decisions can become somewhat overwhelming, and it can be tempting to just roll the dice, pick the most adorable pooch at first glance and hope for the best.

If this temptation grows strong, STOP…take a deep breath… slow down. Don’t worry. You can still have fun while also weighing the options for the type of Pet that is right for you and also completing the preparations needed before welcoming your new friend home.

The answer as to which breed or mixed breed dog is best for you is not an easy one. Most important in your search is to:

  • Know your needs and your family’s and consider future needs.
  • Be familiar with & take seriously the behavioral propensities of breeds you consider.
  • Be as objective as possible when you meet those adorable furry faces in person.

Whether you choose to work with a rescue, shelter or breeder to find your new Pet, working with a professional trainer whose experience with Dogs and Cats of all types is broad and deep will go far to help you in your research phase.  A well developed interview conducted with you by a pet care professional and a behavioral assessment of the animal will help make a more informed selection of Pet – see Assessments.  Too many animals are purchased or adopted then surrendered because they weren’t a good “fit” for their humans.

A Solid Behavioral Assessment Can Tell You This:

  • If the Pet has been well socialized by past experiences/breeder which will in turn prevent related behavioral issues.
  • If the Pet will do better in a calm home with no other Pets or if they will fit right into a busy household.
  • If the animal is a good choice for a home with children or a home that is planning to have children during the Pet’s lifetime.
  • If this Pet will require an experienced owner or if a first time owner be well equipped to handle their needs.
  • If the breed’s propensity for certain behaviors (barking, herding, running, following scent, etc.) is strong in this specific animal and if those characteristics are compatible with your needs and current or future lifestyle.
  • If the Dog or Cat may be easy or difficult to train generally or for certain behaviors and skills?
  • If there are any immediate behavioral issues in need of attention and how mild or severe they may be.

 

Be sure to realistically consider what is truly best for you and the animal. For instance, Puppies and Kittens are cute, but they are a lot of work and often times an adult Dog or Cat may be a better choice for a home with children, older folks or a very busy lifestyle. For this reason, adoption might be a worthy consideration for some.

Working with a Breeder? Ask Many Questions.

  • What steps do you take to socialize the Puppy/Kitten before they go to their new home?
    The correct answer is that the youngsters have been raised in the home and been exposed safely to common noises and humans of all sizes, ages, genders, shapes and colors and had plenty of play time with their litter to begin learning proper play and bite inhibition.
  • What congenital defects is this breed known for and which have presented themselves in your line(s)?
  • Which steps have you taken including screenings, tests, and certifications to decrease defects in your Dogs/Cats?
  • Will your Puppy/Kitten come with a PennHIP or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals certification?
    The correct answer is “Yes.”  These are expert, impartial evaluators who screen for hip dysplasia. Insist on documentation on both parents and their parents too.
  • May I/we meet both parents of the Puppy/Kitten to witness their temperament?
    Only the mother will likely be on hand, which is legitimate since often the male is sent to the bitch’s breeder to mate. Meet her away from the pups first if possible so she is relaxed to see if she is a well-socialized and well mannered.
  • May I see the paperwork on the  Puppy/Kitten’s lineage?
    Be sure the bloodlines are not related in any way.
  • What guarantees does the contract have should the  Puppy/Kitten develop a congenital ailment?
     A replacement  Puppy/Kitten or refund should be clearly stated.

 

With any new Pet there will be many matters needing your attention upon bringing your new friend home. The good news is the adjustment period can go smoothly and be very rewarding for all involved. SouthPaw sees this as an amazing time in you and your Pet’s lives.  You’ve done your homework, prepared the house and your knowledge base. Now you can get to know one another. There is always responsibility and work with any Pet. As with all rewarding relationships, it is part of the trade off to all the joy you receive in turn. Much like the rest of life, there is a balance. Having fostered many pets for rescue groups and adopting our own over the years, SouthPaw can help you through this exciting time with grace, understanding and fun.

Testimonials

  • C.C. was very thorough in understanding Remy’s schedule, feeding and preferred play routines. She kept detailed notes so thorough that I learned a bit more about his needs. “Aunt C.C.” was always a great sounding board about his training and development with helpful techniques for curbing his barking, walking properly on his leash and house training.

    —Lacey Davidson, Annapolis, MD

  • Months after adopting our dog, my confidence evaporated as she continued to make every walk a struggle. After working with C.C. on recognizing and rewarding positive behavior we are now able to navigate most situations without combat. C.C.’s training also allowed us to finally trim Midna’s nails with a minimum of fuss. Thanks for everything!

    —Ingrid Jansen, Annapolis, MD

  • C.C. Casale is the very best as a professional and trainer. Katie is doing better walking on lead, getting in and out of the car and we can now manage her reactive tendencies better too. The many print-out guides were a great help! We used them after our Private Consult sessions and Day Training.

    —Mickey Cook, the parent, and Katie, a grateful well behaved doggie, Roland Park, MD

  • SouthPaw changed our entire perspective helping us understand our dog was acting out for attention and not out of aggression and to reinforce for good behaviors rather than only scolding for the bad. We can finally assert more control at the dog park and other distracting places. It was the best decision to use SouthPaw!

    —Karen and Andy Mohl, Crofton, MD

  • I wanted to personally thank SouthPaw! Ben has certainly come a long way and we now know how to deal with him. He has been neutered and is making social visits to the vet. Huge improvement! SouthPaw really did help us out more than they know. They really are great at what they do.

    —Nancy Miller, Gambrills, MD

  • I would highly recommend SouthPaw. Our Rottweiler puppy had issues with resource guarding and going to the vet. C.C. helped us understand what goes through a puppy’s mind. If it were not for her very helpful advice and time spent with us, I think Ben would not be with us now.

    —Craig Miller, Gambrills, MD

  • I take referrals very seriously. My clients deserve the best and I refuse to subject them to subpar services. I am more than confident in SouthPaw. I have referred many clients and each one has been very pleased with not only the outcome of the training but also with SouthPaw’s professional nature.

    —Scott K. Andersen, DVM