Picking the Perfect Puppy

Picking the Perfect Puppy

Choosing a pet should be a decision made by the entire family, since the entire family will have a role in the commitment and care of the animal.  Have a cat or dog is a life-long obligation that should not be taken likely.  There are financial, medical, and daily responsibilities that are required for owning a pet.   The first year of your pet’s life can be expensive but it is an investment that can allow you to enjoy your new best friend for years to come.  The first year of owning a dog will cost almost $3,000.00 where as the first year of owning a cat will cost you almost $2,000.00.  Maintaining a healthy pet may cost dog owners $2,200 annually or $1,600 annually for cats.  Once you and your family have determined that you are ready for the commitment, you will experience the eternal and loyal companionship that having an animal brings.

The first step is to determine which type of animal would best suit your family’s lifestyle, whether it’s a cat, dog, guinea pig, gerbil, rabbit, lizard or turtle.  In the next two blogs, we will help you determine if a cat or a dog would best suit your lifestyle.  Whether choosing a feline or canine companion, you should not purchase one on impulse or as a gift for someone.  Each individual (or family) should determine what pet is best for them and their situation.

To determine if a dog or a cat would be a better match for your way of life, we need to examine the benefits and drawbacks of each.  Today we will discuss the benefits of owning a dog.   Next week we will discuss the pros and cons of owning a cat.

Dogs provide us with a loyal and devoted companion.  They enjoy spending time with their owners whether it is participating in activities outside or cuddling on the couch to watch a movie.  The downside is a dog requires A LOT of attention and may be conceived as high maintenance to some individuals.  Both cats and dogs require daily meals with fresh water, but dogs also require daily exercise and interaction with their owner.  If your lifestyle requires frequent travelling (which would cause you to be away from your dog often or for long periods of time) then a dog may not be your best companion.  If you are thinking of acquiring a puppy then you must consider the additional time that training a new puppy will require.  The average puppy class last one hour per week for eight weeks, but what is often forgotten is the 20-30 minutes of daily practice that is required in between each weekly class.  The first year of your puppy’s life will require extra time to teach him/her to become well trained and properly socialized.  Dogs also require regular grooming which is different for each breed of dog.  It may be daily brushing or grooming at a professional dog spa every 4 to 6 weeks.  Dogs also require more living space than a cat.  Dogs thrive in households where they have access to a large living area and a fenced in back yard.

Once you have determined that a dog is the best companion to fit your routine, the next step is to choose a breed that is right for you.   There are many things to consider when choosing a breed of dog:

  • The size of dog that you would like and can accommodate.
  • The energy level you can handle.
  • The amount of time per day you can dedicate to your furry friend.
  • How affectionate you want your pet to be.
  • Other pets that are in the household.
  • How easy it is to train that breed of dog.
  • How protective you would like your dog to be.
  • How much maintenance (grooming) you are willing to put into your dog.

To help determine which breed of dog is best for you, check out Animal Planet’s Dogs Breed Questionnaire.


Now that you have determined which breed of dog is best for you there are different places you can obtain you new family member.  If you have a specific, purebred breed then a reputable breeder is your best solution.  You should establish a relationship with your breeder before financially committing to that breeder.  Personally inspect their facilities, breeding animals and ask for references from previous owners.  A good breeder will not have any objections to the above requests.  Be leery of breeders who object to your requests or if their adult dogs have any undesirable traits or tendencies as they may be passed down to your puppy.  For a list of breeders check out the link to the Dogs in Canada website:


If you are not set on a purebred dog than your local animal shelter would be your ideal starting point.  They have a wide variety of breeds to choose from and will come vaccinated, identified by a microchip or tattoo, and possibly neutered.  Many dogs end up in shelters because of extenuating circumstances beyond anyone’s control and there is no reason that they will not make wonderful pets.   For adoptable pets available in Essex County check out the link to the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society.


There are some things you can do when choosing a puppy to see if he/she has the temperament you are looking for.  Take the puppy you are considering away from its littermates, place him/her on the ground and step away.  Clap your hands and call the puppy towards you.  A puppy that comes to you will be easier to train.  A puppy who hides and cowards because of the noise may have a more timid personality.  A puppy that walks over and bites your hand may have a more aggressive personality.  Another test is to pet the puppy all over and test their reaction.  Touch their head, back, belly, press on their paws and look in their ears.   An aggressive puppy may bite or growl.  A submissive may roll onto their back and possibly urinate.  An ideal puppy will lick at your hands and enjoy the attention.  A final test would be to place the puppy on his/her back.  Aggressive puppies will growl and bite.  Submissive puppies will not fight and possible turn to hide their face.  The ideal puppy will struggle some and then calm down.

Now that you have chosen your canine companion you will have a best friend to enjoy for all of his/her life.   The staff at Town and Country Animal Clinic are dedicated to help you maintain a happy, healthy dog and ensure that you can enjoy a lifetime of enjoyment together.


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