On the advent of Crufts it’s a real temptation to finally get that puppy. Seeing all the dogs on TV, guessing which one is going to win Best in Show.
It’s a talking point for a days after the event with everyone discussing the winner (surely you remember ‘Fabulous Willy?’). Are we really going to judge a pet on what it looks like, though? How do we get a GREAT puppy? One that we will always remember with joy rather than sadness? We talk about a new RSPCA initiative www.getpuppysmart.com to help you make the right choices along the way.
Listen to the WildPaw podcast, with dog expert Karen Wild and Jon Buscall, here:
Choose a great puppy
There are far, far more issues involved when you choose a pup. Let’s be honest, you are getting a dog, not a puppy. You will have a puppy for about – say – 6 months. After this they can sometimes transform into hulking adolescents. What used to be a peaceful haven becomes a non-stop hive of activity and constant supervision. With criticism of in-bred faults and exaggerated features added to this, with the dreadful health problems inherent in some breeds, we can all see that it is a delicate operation to get the ‘right’ dog.
In my work I see many dogs in the wrong households. Owners tearing their hair out about what to do next, whilst the dog is driving itself crackers on a diet of cheap food and not enough activity and stimulation. Big dogs in small homes, more than one dog, dog vs cat, unruly kids and nervous dog, there is no perfect scenario. I might be a good trainer, I might be a good behaviourist, but truly, you can’t train a dog to enjoy being left on its own for 10 hours a day. You can’t train a dog to not bark if you are not there to help relieve the boredom or stress felt by a social creature.
It is my firm belief that if more money was spent on teaching the realities of dog ownership there would be a lot less anguish.
I was very happy to talk to Claire Calder of the RSPCA on the podcast about Get Puppy Smart www.getpuppysmart.com – the one message that keeps coming across is this. If you do your research properly, and stop looking at appearances, you will be far more likely to get a dog that stays with your family for a long and happy life.