gorgeous dachshund puppy with dark tan fur and a cute face

Choosing a dog is never easy. 

Ask any of the Me & My Pets Team and you'll get an answer along the lines of ALL OF THEM! <3 

Unfortunately, when you have to whittle it down to just one, the decision is no mean feat. 

Plus, there might be a difference between the type that you love the look of, and the type that would be the best match for you, your personality and your lifestyle. 

Ultimately, you want a dog that you can take care of easily and can bond with 100%. And with so many registered breeds and crossbreeds out there (over 400), it's no wonder choosing a dog is such a tough decision! 

To help, we spoke to the owner of Wagtails (a dog walking and animal care business in Norfolk) and all-round dog expert Nicola Drew, who gave us some fantastic advice on what to do if you're thinking of getting a dog. 

"Firstly, do lots of research!" says Nicola. 

"Books and the internet are really helpful for giving you information about the different breeds and their specific behaviour and characteristics." 

Nicola goes onto explain the sorts of things you should be thinking about when considering getting a dog: 

  • What would best suit your lifestyle 
  • Your dog owning experience 
  • The size of your house and garden  
  • Whether you have any children or other pets  
  • How much exercise you will be able to provide 
  • Whether you would prefer a male or female dog 
  • Do you want to buy a dog, or adopt 
  • The cost (big dogs eat a lot more, can you afford unexpected vet bills, can you afford to pay a dog walker if you are out at work all day?) 
  • Should you go for a short-haired breed (short-haired breeds shed a lot) or a long-haired (long-haired breeds will get very muddy and wet on walks) Also, dogs that don’t shed their coats will need regular trips to the groomers for clipping  

"Every dog is different," explains Nicola. 

"I’ve had a Beagle before that was as calm and well behaved as anything, and they have a reputation for being hard to train. I’ve also had several Jack Russells which have all had completely different personalities. Some were well behaved 'easy' dogs and others not so much!" 

Rather than choosing a specific breed of dog, Nicola says people who are new to dog ownership may be best off going to a re-homing centre. That way, the staff there can help match you up to an older dog, who is perhaps a bit more calm and easier to look after than others. 

"If you have decided that you definitely want to buy a puppy, then I would probably advise a small or medium breed, maybe a 'companion' type dog," says Nicola. 

"I would usually advise against a high energy dog for a first time owner, as they will tend to dominate an inexperienced owner which may lead to behaviour issues. Often Spitz breeds can be high-energy, so maybe a husky or malamute isn't the best choice if you have never owned a dog before!" 

blue graphic with types of dogs indicated on

  

Things to do and buy before you bring your dog home with you: 

Ready to get a dog? Booking a few sessions with a professional dog trainer is always worth doing – especially if you're new to dogs.  

And to help, Nicola has kindly put together a little list of things to consider before you get a dog! 

  • A dog bed – make sure it's the right size! 
  • A crate can be very useful for putting a puppy in at night time or if you need to leave the house. Dogs tend to like going in their crates as it’s a place where they feel safe. Make sure you get one that’s big enough if you still want to use it when your dog is fully grown. (Note that dogs should not be left in a crate for more than a few hours at a time, and they should never be shut in there as a punishment) 
  • Make sure you have a bag of food (this should be the same as they are currently being fed, as you must make any changes in diet very gradually) 
  • Two bowls (one for food and one for water) 
  • Some toys for chewing on and playing with (particularly if you are getting a puppy) 
  • Puppy pads can be useful for keeping their crate (or your favourite rug!) protected from any little accidents 
  • Old towels for drying off after muddy walks (you can never have enough of these!) 
  • Doggy shampoo and a brush 
  • A toothbrush and special dog toothpaste. Yes, you can brush your dog’s teeth! If you do want to do this then you will need to do it right from the start and you can use your finger at first until your dog gets used to having you poke about in their mouth! 
  • A Kong is useful for keeping your dog amused. You can stuff it with treats or smear the inside with peanut butter and this will occupy your dog as they will have to work for their treat. (If you use peanut butter then make sure it does not contain Xylitol as this is harmful to dogs) 
  • You will need lots of poo bags. You can get bio-degradable ones, which are much better for the environment than plastic ones 
  • Buy a collar and lead and get a name tag made with your name (not your dog's) and phone number. If you are getting a puppy, then it’s important to remember to regularly check and adjust the collar as they grow so that it does not get too tight 
  • You might want to do a bit of “puppy proofing” in your home, for example putting anything of value that you don’t want chewed/peed on, high up! 
  • Make sure your home is safe. Puppies may chew through electric cables if they are left on the floor. Certain foods such as grapes and chocolate are poisonous to dogs, so make sure food is never left where your dog can get to it 
  • Make sure your garden is safe and secure, with no gaps in the fence that you dog could get through. Be aware that a dog might be able to jump over a low fence as well! Make sure there is no wire that your dog could injure themselves on. If you have a deep pond with steep sides you may need to block this off  

gorgeous happy chow chow dog with super fluffy fur and tongue out

Find out more about Nicola's business, Wagtails, here: http://wagtails.one/

And don't forget to find us on Instagram and Facebook @meandmypetsofficial for tips, competitions and lots of cute pics!

 

Disclaimer: This content in this article is intended for information or entertainment purposes only, it is not intended to replace the advice of a vet or animal health professional. Your use of the information is entirely at your own risk and Me & My Pets assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information found on this site. If you have any questions or concerns over your pet's wellbeing you should consult your vet immediately.