There are more dogs in dog rescue centers than there are people and families who are willing to adopt them. Many people who want a dog and have the time, space and energy to devote to caring for one choose to buy a dog rather than adopt one from a dog rescue charity like the RSPCA.
Many people prefer to buy a dog rather than adopt, because they feel that if they can meet the parents of their new puppy they will be able to tell that it will have a good temperament. It is true that temperament is usually inherited, and a calm, friendly mother is likely to have calm, friendly pups. But how the puppies are treated and how well they are socialized in those early weeks also has a massive impact in how they will behave later in life.
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In short, you can never be 100% certain of how a dog will behave, but if you care for it well and choose the right dog for you then you have a very good chance of having a happy dog and a happy family.
If you are going to adopt or if you are going to buy a dog then there are some questions you should ask of the buyer or staff at the shelter before you commit to your adoption or purchase.
1. Is my dog healthy?
Adoption: Dogs adopted from a rescue center are usually neutered or spayed and will have been vaccinated and treated for parasites before they are adopted. They may also be fitted with a microchip. An adopted dog’s family history of disease may not be known, but you will know whether your dog is in good health when you take him home.
Buying: Purebred dogs often suffer hereditary conditions. Ask the breeder whether there is any family history of illness or disease.
2. Is my dog good with children?
Adoption: All dogs received into dog rescue centers are assessed by expert staff who check for temperament and known skills. They will know whether it is house trained or not, and whether it has been trained not to bark; whether it is nervous or secure.
Buying: A good breeder will know whether the parents were good with children, and will know whether the puppies are from good, early socialization sessions. A bad breeder will tell you whatever you want to hear.
3. What care does my dog need?
Adoption: Your dog might need extra care, attention and training because of its difficult background. It will certainly need a lot of security and love. You can discuss which breed would suit you best in terms of the time you have available for grooming and exercise etc.
Buying: The breeder will be able to tell you how much grooming, exercise and feeding your dog will need. But by then you will have met and fallen in love with the puppy, so this information is something you should really read up on before making up your mind about the breed and visiting the breeder.
Do your research, ask plenty of questions and then decide whether the dog you have chosen is the right one for you.
Author: Guest Contributor and fellow mother Kira Browdy.
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