Following on from my previous post about creating a Good Happy Dog I'm writing a brief idealistic guide to help out newbie and wannabe owners. To read the first in this series click here.
Step 1. Puppy planning
The best time to start creating a Good Happy Dog is when you start planning to get one! The following guidance doesn't mean that a rescue puppy, older dog or puppy farmed pup won't be Good and Happy. But if you're looking for the easiest beginning and the highest probability that your dog will cheerfully fit in to your life, take note.
Meet dog families
If you're getting a pup you can test that the genetics and early development are appropriate for your family by meeting various ambassadors of the breed. Speak to several breeders and be prepared to go on a waiting list for a puppy that will be just right for your home. Meet the parents and definitely see the puppy suckle from mum. If mum's lovely, dad's lovely and breeder is lovely (knowledgeable, clean home, experienced and dedicated) your pup will probably be lovely.
Find out what hereditary health problems occur in that breed. Make sure the breeder has tested their dogs and ask to see the veterinary documents. Don't just take the breeders word that their dogs are health tested and clear. There are no guarantees that your dog will have great health for life, but appropriate health testing goes a long way to reducing the misery of some genetic diseases.
If you want a dog to live in your home, buy a puppy that has been raised in a home around the sights and sounds of a home. If you're after a farm dog, buy a dog that's raised outdoors with sights and smells of farms. The rearing environment is very important in shaping the dog's mind including what's scary, how to play and where to wee and poo. A super breeder will have different surfaces, toys, sights and sounds in their puppy play space. Think children's day nursery- but with baby dogs. The place will be clean, not smelly. And you won't come away with flea bites.
Find a great trainer or behaviourist to advise you on setting up for your new arrival. You may need help choosing a breed and locating a great breeder. The number of puppy products on the market can be mind-boggling. The commonly available guidance on rearing dogs is even more difficult to navigate! An experienced owner will tell you one thing, a TV celebrity another, then you take a look on YouTube and receive different advice again. Your books, your vet/breeder/groomer/mum, your heart and even your own common sense will have conflicting opinions on what's best to raise your new dog. Save yourself difficulty by getting expert training advice from the outset so you know exactly what to buy and how to use it for house-training, walks, food, play, sleep, travel, etc.
I hope you enjoyed the post and please comment below to share your thoughts. Look out for Step 2. Socialization on next week's blog post. There's not a single formula for keeping a dog happy, healthy and a joy to live with, but there are ways to increase your chances.
Happy Training to you and your pups, Love from Lucy x