A dog is forever, not for Christmas… P.S. dogs love Christmas

So you want your first dog…

Taking on a dog for the first time is a serious matter. There’s a vast choice. Do you want a designer dog like a Labradoodle or another breed treated as a fashion accessory? If your thinking is along those lines, here’s my advice: Get a new handbag/manbag or a smart new phone.


When you take a dog into your home, you’ve got a major responsibility to give that dog the best life you can. It is not a child substitute, it is a sentient being, an entirely different species.

We should not treat dogs as accessories to our lives or as a replacement for children.

Cesar Milan (the Dog Whisperer) described the dog in simple terms: animal > dog > breed. Research the type of dog carefully. You won’t necessarily want to go for an established breed. Find one that suits the way you live, your family, your work and your environs.

Too many people, fail to understand dog development stages. That’s vital to having a well-balanced, happy dog.

The critical period — 3 weeks to 14 weeks of age for the development of a puppy’s temperament and social development, is poorly understood by many ‘breeders’. That results in dogs that go on to develop various behavioural issues as they get older.

Unfortunately, many owners do not understand what to do when their dogs develop problems; a situation compounded by receiving poor advice from so-called dog trainers. There are many good ones out there and, unfortunately many bad ones. When looking for a trainer, tread carefully.

Do not forget the many dogs in rescue centres. They need a caring and understanding person to give them a good home. Many people assume that rescued dogs will be difficult to take into a home with children or other animals.

This is, more often, not the case — a rescued dog can prove a fantastic addition to any home. However, take advice from the rehoming centre and a good dog behaviourist who can assess and help you with what to expect and give you guidance on how to introduce a dog to your home.

Dogs of any type, be they puppies or rescued, need a great deal of time and effort to help them learn to live with another species (us). Think carefully and take a dog into your home, only after serious consideration.

My final thought: A dog is for life — it is your responsibility to get it right.