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.