Choosing a Dog : When A Puppy Doesn’t Work

I try to write blog posts and articles which tell a story.  It’s much better than saying ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do that’.  That’s because you can put yourself in the story and feel how it might be if you were in the same position.

Today’s story is about when a puppy doesn’t work.  It’s easy to find a puppy.  But sometimes that’s just not a good choice. It doesn’t matter what puppy it is, whether its an adopted puppy, a rescued puppy, or one direct from a breeder.  In some circumstances there’s no point looking for a puppy because it won’t fit.

I know a couple with busy lives.  Last year they lost one of their dogs suddenly.  It was a great shock.  But instead of taking time to think, they immediately went out and bought a puppy to replace it.

This puppy is the same breed as the one they lost.  But it is a totally different personality.  It’s a “proper terrier“. 

This couple run two businesses and have a job.  Between those, and time spent with their grown up children, the dogs don’t get much exercise.  They were going to “do more things with her” (like taking her on local shoots) but it hasn’t worked out that way.  Their other dog is old and not particularly active, so small amounts of exercise are fine.  But for their youngster, it’s a disaster.

Terriers were bred as working dogs.  They clear farms of  vermin, and dig rabbits and foxes out of holes.  Terriers are bright, strong and active and can work for hours on end.  They often require significant exercise and need to ‘have things to do’.

But this young terrier isn’t getting either the right exercise, or enough training and ‘work’ to occupy her time.  And the couple haven’t invested in someone who can walk and spend time with her to make up for the gap.  This terrier has therefore turned into a nuisance and is driving the couple crazy.  She barks at every noise and gets into mischief because she’s bored! 

I bet a couple of days with me doing the exercise I do – 2 to 3 hours per day – and she’d be a lot happier.  And therefore a lot quieter! 

But the point to the story is that this couple didn’t have the time or real inclination for a puppy – any puppy.  It wouldn’t have mattered if they’d got a German Shepherd puppy, or a Cavalier King Charles puppy. They had forgotten just how much time, energy and enthusiasm a puppy takes.  And forgotten all about the trials of housetraining, chewing, general training and making enough exercise and play time for many years to come

Puppies need a lot of attention.  It’s like having a baby with fur.  Noisy, demanding and messy for quite a while.  In this case, the couple would have been much better off adopting an old dog of the same breed, to go with the old dog they already have.  That way they could still do all their work and have a dog that suits them.

So before you plump for a puppy, consider if you really have the time, energy, enthusiasm and commitment for one.

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