to buy a puppy? Very carefully and with much
forethought, the experts all agree. After all, youíre
considering the purchase of a living being, an animal
that will need feeding, training, grooming, medical care
and, perhaps most of all, love and attention from you
and your family.
honest with yourself, the experts say, and really
consider if you can do it. And, if yes, think hard on
what kind of dog is best for you.
need to find a dog that fits your lifestyle," says
Bruce Haas, co-owner of Tails in the City, the Chicago
dog boutique. "If you arenít an active person and
you get an active dog, thatís a problem. The dog needs
to fit into your lifestyle. Itís up to everyone to do
is key, agreed Gina DiNardo, vice president of the New
York-based American Kennel Club.
much time and money do you have for grooming?" she
asks. "How much time do you have for exercising the
breed? Some dogs are more content being a couch potato.
Others will go crazy if they are left in the house
without stimulation and exercise."
can also be "a big drain on time," DiNardo
added, and if you donít devote the necessary time for
training and socializing, "your puppy may not grow
up to be the best canine citizen."
you decide to buy a purebred puppy or dog, DiNardo said,
you need to look for a responsible breeder. A good
breeder will want you to visit the property, meet the
mother and puppies, and will be happy to educate you on
the breed and help you find the right puppy, she said,
noting that some breeders will even pick out the puppy
they think has the best temperament for you. Expect,
too, to be ready to answer many questions from a breeder
looking to gauge your willingness and ability to provide
for the dog. Such auditions, DiNardo noted, are a good
will thoroughly vet you," she said. "They will
ask as many questions as you do."
rescue organizations, like PAWS Chicago, are also ready
to help you find the right puppy or dog. (There are
rescue groups for particular dog breeds, as well.) And
they will likely ask questions similar to those posed by
breeders to determine which animal is best for you.
recommend families visit a shelter," says Sarah
McDonald, PAWS associate director of media and community
relations. "They can find a variety of wonderful
animals, all shapes and sizes and energy level."
along any dogs you might have and tell the adoption
counselors about any other pets; they can help you
pinpoint a dog that will do better with such company.
you choose a puppy, McDonald says, you should make sure
you "puppy proof" your home to eliminate
possible dangers (donít leave things out that might
get chewed or broken, lock up poisons, watch electrical
cords). Figure out who is going to walk the puppy; can
you get home from work easily to do it, or can you
afford a walker to do it for you.
how a pet will fit in with you and your family? Consider
fostering an animal.
you do, make acquiring a puppy or dog a fun event for
the whole family, McDonald says, and go in with an open
yourself meet a variety of animals," she said.
"Fall in love together."
WILL YOU NEED FOR YOUR PUPPY OR DOG?
Leash and collar
Chew toys, especially for a puppy
Bed and a place to put it
Travel bag (small breeds)