A few thoughts about having a puppy
Having a puppy in the family is very exciting time. Deciding on the breed, whether to have a boy or a girl. Then the hunt for an appropriately reared puppy from health tested parents with a good temperament. Then choosing a pup from a litter, waiting for the puppy to come home… then finally your little puppy comes home.
This sweet little bundle of fluff becomes your precious charge. You want to get everything right for this little pupster. You are at home with your pup – alone! Awwww and all of a sudden a cute little ball of fluff turns into a demon who is weeing on your expensive carpet and chewing your new shoes.
The first question you need to consider is…are you ready for your life to be turned upside down? Until some sense of order is maintained with a pup it is very like having a baby in the house whereby everyone has to adjust to the needs of the newest member of the family.
The second question you have to ask yourself is are you committed? Will you give what your pup needs and deserves?
Puppies are hard work and will need toilet training, socialising and also behaviour/obedience training. The importance of all of these elements is to ensure you enjoy having a dog and your dog is a happy one.
Puppies do chew and can seem destructive – it is actually normal behaviour for them to need to chew whilst they are teething. The expectation from a new owner is often too high and this is why young dogs are often in dogs homes at the age of 6mths or so. (6mths being a rather magical age for a pup when it starts to find its feet!).
There is a wealth of information out there for you, which will help you through the chewing stage, training your dog to behave appropriately not just on a walk but in the home too. So much is available, see which method suits you, your family and your dog. It is important to have an understanding of how dogs behave in effort to understand why certain behaviours result. The majority of problems in a dog are as a direct result from how the owner behaves with the dog. Advice can be given from your breeder, or you can seek advice from your vet, other dog owners, dog trainers, books or the internet – the information IS out there for you to make use of.
Being a dog owner is fulfilling if you are prepared for some hard work (continuity being key) a well behaved dog is a pleasure to have, something to be proud of. Having a dog with the appropriate support will enable you to discover the joys of dog ownership – your life will be turned around.
At Marchstone our puppies are raised as part of the family which means we play a key role in their development. They are well socialised as they are such a big part of our life during their short stay with us. Our puppies will have been used to being well handled, used to a lot of activity and noise. They are socialised with our family pets – in addition to our dogs we also have cats and a rabbit. The rabbit occasionally comes into the house to see what is going on!
The puppies are born in the living room, this is where they stay until they go to their new homes. A very important member of my family, “Assistant Puppy Carer” Katherine has responsibility in ensuring they have plenty of love and cuddles. Katherine has shown huge maturity in keeping the pups clean by removing soiled newspaper from the puppy pen. Katherine’s role is also to help me with weighing the pups, assist with worming and helping at the puppies mealtimes. (as it is a case of all hands on deck when you have many hungry labs to feed!)
To make life easier for everyone we start toilet training the pups from roughly 3 weeks of age. It is surprising to see such good results so early on. We believe the fact our pups are used to always having a clean pen and being put into the garden many times a day paves the way to making your life easier when it concerns toilet training. We are laying the foundation for a good start in their toilet training. A puppies bladder is regarded as immature which is why they will have little accidents here and there. They have to be given the opportunity to be clean but what is important to us is that our puppies do not sit in a soiled pen and therefore our puppies are not “used to it” and therefore they don’t have some sort of belief that a soiled pen is how they should continue.
So having mentioned earlier the key elements to ensure you enjoy owning a dog and that your dog is a happy one, we will have already made a good start on some of the elements with regard to the socialisation and toilet training.
Things to look for when finding a pup.
I think the most important thing in looking for the ideal pup – is the entire package that surrounds the pup, along with health tests and pedigrees, the bits of information that help fill the gaps for you as the new owner.
The initial basics you need to think about:
How has the pup been raised – in the house or outside? Are you able to see the mum? Do all the pups look healthy? The puppy area, is it clean? How do you feel about the breeder? These are all fairly normal things to consider when buying a puppy.
The information your breeder provides you for your pup will help give you an idea of what to expect when you take your pup home. This support should enable you to feel confident with having “an idea” of how you would like to raise your pup.
It is key for the parents to have good temperaments. It is usual to only see the Mum, sometimes the breeder will have other members of the family too. Do not ever buy a pup without seeing the Mum, as potentially this pup will have come from a puppy farmer who have put no thought or care into the welfare of any of their puppies.
It is ideal for the pups to come from health tested parents, although this does not guarantee your dog will not suffer from things like hip dysplasia it can give you a good idea of your dogs future. You can find more information on this in the Health section under health testing click here. You can also confirm the results of the parents, are correct by going on to the Kennel Club website “health tests” and entering the full pedigree names of the parents.