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I wrote a similar article many years ago that I had posted on my site, "What To Do First".The following new article, “What To Do Before I Buy?” is directly for those first time buyers looking for a new puppy. I do hope they stumble upon this forum and read the beneficial articles/archives before ever purchasing a dog.


1) What do I really want with a dog? A friendly companion to go camping, hunting, and fishing with, and sit near me by an open campfire? Someone you want to cuddle on the couch with while watching TV? A dog to stick out on a chain, tied to a tree in the backyard, to bark, protect, and scare off the neighbors? A famous super-star to show everyone how well behaved, obedient, and exquisite his/her body type is for the breed? Or heighten my own ego? A female you want to breed every heat cycle, to the dog down the block, to give away more unwanted puppies to friends or family, or to try to make a quick buck? Prove the dog worthy before breeding in several avenues of dog sports and ask breeders, judges, and handlers their professional opinions based on their life experiences, along with health testing for all known breed concerns, and purchasing sound reliable dogs from proven bloodlines to produce future dogs for the betterment of the breed? Ummm…. What do I want?

2) Why do I really want a dog? For me or for my family? To show the puppy off to my friends and after the initial “New” has worn off, stick them in a garage? A play toy for my kids or playmate for my other pets? A learning experience for the children to teach them responsibility and where puppies really do come from? Do I want a special companion to live in harmony with my family for the duration of its life? Where will the dog really stay in your home? Who’ll take care of it daily? What about when you’re away from home or on vacation? When you’ve passed away? What if I get a divorce or have a newborn child, what then? Will I take it for walks everyday, train it at a reliable training facility to have good dog manners and be socialized? Will I clean up after each and every mess and let it out during my favorite soap opera or when I’m very sick, to do its business? Will I feed quality food daily, provide the necessary insect/pest preventatives, go for annual check-ups, and give fresh clean water everyday? Will I take him/her to the vet when needed, have necessary procedures, blood work, and tests performed, and pay for all expenses? Will I take time off work to care for it when it’s too ill? Ummm…. Why do I really want one?

3) How long is the average life for this breed and bloodline? What are the normal health problems they face? Do I check for health-cleared dogs, ask for proof, contracts, registration papers, and guarantees, inspect the dogs and home where the dogs are raised? Do I visit several different breeders and litters to ensure in me what I really want and can tell the difference between breeder’s ethics and quality? Do I check to see if this “Rare” breed is really a scam or fall for their clever sales pitch? Should I ask the breeder many questions? Do I shy away, buy the dog sight on seen, live with a fear aggressive dog to later put the dog down or place in a shelter before he/she is two because I didn’t ask questions and didn’t find a good breeder? Ummm… I must do some research?

4) What size (tall, substance, weight) and grooming maintenance do I want in a dog to fit my home and lifestyle? Will the dog fit in my vehicle safely and comfortably, or will I need to purchase a new one, or a different sized dog? Will I do this grooming myself or train the dog to behave well enough for someone else to do it? Will I be able to control the dog for simple nail grooming and teeth cleaning? What if I visit the veterinary office and cannot hold him/her for a simple annual vaccination? Will the dog be too large and knock my children or visiting family members down? Will it be too energetic and high-spirited because it’s a type of dog that likes to work or have a task to not become bored? Will it chase after other animals, bikes, kids on skates, or joggers because it has a high prey drive or was never taught to be obedient to commands in these types of situations? Will routine visitors to my home be scared of this dog and not want to visit? Will they want to smell and see a “Doggie” home? Will a dog’s shedding or dander bother me to want to give the dog away due to mess and allergies? Do I need to supply the dog with his own items, crate train, and house train, so it will not be bored and destroy my home? Will he/she dig up and cause yellow marks on my precious lawn or garden? Will this usually nice dog one day become too aggressive and out of control for me, because I don’t know how to manage it, or fully understand dog behaviors? Will I find professional help for my dog and I, if this does happen, before it’s too late? Will I need a secure fence for the dog’s regular and normal daily exercise, without causing harm to the dog or someone else? Ummm… There’s more to this then I originally thought!

5) What type of breeder is really best for me? Will this person educate me? Will they supply me with contacts to someone that can help? Do they ask a great deal of questions, care greatly about their reputation, check on referrals, have you fill out questionnaires, compete in dog sports, care where and with whom their puppies go home to, and want constant contact with the owners? Will they work with my goals, ideas, and personality? Do they have the same “Type and Desires” that I want in my dog? Do they meet up with the breed’s standards? Do they want a whole litter of puppies back out of a first breeding to my female? Do they want a stud service out of my male, whenever they feel it’s necessary? Did they breed their nice pet, just to have another one like it? Did they have a plan and goal for this litter of puppies? Was this an accidental breeding? Did they breed to the closest local dog or cheapest stud service? Did they research the dogs within the pedigree and breed to the best compatible mate for a pairing? Do they take back unwanted puppies so they will not end up in shelters? Do they understand basic animal husbandry and are always willing to research for the correct answers? Ummm… There is good and bad breeders, after-all?

6) Will I have sound responsible dog sense to care for and purchase a dog? Have I done enough research, read books, articles, and magazines, visited with reputable breeders, gone to dog sports, and joined a breed club? Will I care enough to make a difference of what IÂ’m doing in this world, when that time counts the most? Will I have constant control and supervision of my dog, at all times, keeping it from harming others or myself? Will I have enough stamina in me to put a dog too sleep, if and when needed? What if my pet female does by some mere chance become accidentally pregnant, will I do the right things? Will I have her spayed and have the litter aborted at the earliest and safest time for her? Will I keep making the same mistakes, not have her spayed, and let her have more unwanted puppies when it happens, yet again?Will I spay her before she goes into her first heat cycle, stop her from having stray dogs visiting your yard, keep her from having false pregnancies, and from developing reproductive cancers? Will I let my male roam freely and have his way with any female? Will I have him neutered so he’ll not want to roam, get lost, stolen, killed, and not produce more mutts, or develop prostate cancer? Ummm… I have to be responsible for all my dog’s actions?

There is more to think about when purchasing a companion besides that old saying, “How much is that doggie in the window?” I could list more of what is important to think about, but this should give you much insight, before you buy.
 

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PART 2

A dog does depend totally on us to take care of them. So when you go to purchase one, you need to carefully think through all the details, as if you were deciding on having a baby. We all know that babies are well taken care of and nurtured for their entire lives, we never should stop loving or helping our children. Please do the same for this helpless puppy you’re about to purchase for a Christmas or birthday present. Don’t after a few days throw it out back and never pay any more attention to it. We truly believe people put more thought in purchasing an automobile than an animal. They always think of the color, size, shape, safeness, tires, brakes, power windows, stereo surround sound, etc. Why not the same for the puppy? Please understand that I’m talking about 12 or more good years with your dog. We all know you can trade-in your car when it gets rusted, or has a mechanical problem, but how could you possibly turn in a living creature to a shelter, a trash compactor, on the roadside, or even a death sentence. All I ask is that you think and rethink before opening that wallet!

There are local and national breed and all-breed clubs that you can attend. You can also join to get information about what is happening within the breed you’re interested in. They can give you a long list of reputable breeders within your area, and if you are willing to get a great dog, you may need to travel or the puppy will travel for you. Just don't settle on location as your guide to buying a dog. Some of the best dogs in the breed could and have come from other countries, or other states.

You’ve heard this one before! A friend of a friend had this cute litter of puppies. They need to get rid of them before they get too big or they’re sending them to the shelter today! They’re already eating everything in sight, and tearing up the place. BTW, there already six weeks old and do have AKC papers!

Don't even bother going there, let alone falling in love with one and buying it. Most of us are suckers for purchasing a cute little fuzzy puppy without thinking things through. You become the hero of the day, coming to the rescue of this poor sole that nobody wants! Sometimes you get lucky and they turn out, but often times, they do not. Most every reputable breeder has also been guilty, adopting a poor lost sole. We learn from our mistakes, than try to hopefully educatethe general public, so you will not have to go through what we already have. Unless,of course, that is what you really want in your dog for your family and home. Only you can make that decision!

If you do know someone that is a respected knowledgeable person in the breed, and are known for being mentors, please visit them often. They can share their experiences with you. Their information is priceless, and free of charge, but please be courteous to them. Their own time is just as precious to them, as it is too you!

Written by: Jo Ann Lewis – Von Stallog Rottweilers
 
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