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Comment: The do's and don'ts of getting a dog

Comment: The do's and don'ts of getting a dog

Friday 31 May 2019

Comment: The do's and don'ts of getting a dog

Anyone who thinks getting a dog isn't a big commitment is barking up the wrong tree, but if you're sure you're ready for the 'pupgrade' then what are the do's and don'ts of finding the best fit 'fur' your family?

Amid growing concerns about puppy farms where pups are mistreated and separated from their mum far too early, the Animal Shelter - who has to find new homes for the animals when owners can't cope with their new canine companion - is urging islanders to consider the decision to get a dog very carefully.

With just one week to go until their 'barking mad' fundraising challenge on 7 June, which will see 12 high-profile islanders - including Deputy Steve Luce and JFSC COO Mike Jeacock - being locked up in the dog house for a full working day, the JSPCA wanted to remind islanders of the consequences of getting a pet you're not ready for.


Pictured: The former Environment Minister is amongst those going into the dog house for the charity.

In-House Manager and Animal Behaviourist at the Animal Shelter Kari Lees put together a 'do's and don'ts guide' when it comes to deciding to get a dog for Express...

"Getting a dog is such an exciting time, but it’s a big decision. Dogs need a lot of time and care from their owners and they live on average for thirteen years so you need to be committed to providing for them.

Consider what breed suits your family, look at the Kennel Club website for listed breeds, their exercise requirements and other useful information. Consider also whether a rescue dog or a puppy is right for you, your lifestyle and your family.  

Reputable rescue centres will assess all dogs that come into their centre for suitability to their next home, they will provide any necessary medical treatment, neuter, microchip and vaccinate the dog and will offer rescue back-up for life which means that if you can no longer care for the dog, they will take them back.

Puppies from responsible breeders will have come from healthy parents with good temperaments and responsible breeders will also take the dog back if you are unable to care for him or her anymore. Be aware that there are many puppy dealers in the UK and Europe, the welfare of the dogs is not a priority for these breeders and they are kept in awful conditions. This can have lifelong effects on the health and temperament of the dogs bought from these places.  

A responsible breeder:

  • gives lots of information in their adverts about the puppies;
  • insists you meet your puppy before taking them home;
  • keeps the puppies and their mum in a clean and safe area in their home; 
  • will ask you lots of questions about why you want a puppy and this particular breed;
  • will expect you to ask lots of questions about the breeder and their puppies;
  • should be able to give you their vet’s details so you can ask the vet questions and you can check their worming and vaccination status as well as any health tests the parents have had;
  • will keep in touch after you’ve taken the puppy home – ask them if they are still in contact with previous litters;
  • understand the importance of a socialisation program and has started one.

You should meet the puppies and their mum to see that they are obviously happy in the environment they are kept in and so that you can be sure of the mother’s temperament.

Some signs that you are dealing with an unscrupulous breeder:  

  • there’s not much information given in the adverts;
  • they say that they can get you any breed of puppy you want;
  • they won’t let you meet the puppy at their home before you purchase him/her and won’t let you meet the mother or the other puppies - be wary of made up excuses;
  • they meet you in a public place or has the puppy dropped off at your house;
  • they don’t provide you with a vet’s contact details and hasn’t had the puppies wormed or vaccinated.

Take your time with this big decision - the right dog is worth waiting for. Trust me, it’s heart breaking to find yourself in a situation with a sick puppy or an adult dog that isn’t suitable for your family.  Make sure this is a joyous occasion and enjoy your new dog."

To support the JSPCA DogHouse Challenge 2019, you can donate to your favourite to become Jersey's 'Top Dog' here.

This column originally appeared in the May edition of Connect magazine. Click here to read it in full.

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