So you think you’d like a dog?
Owning and caring for a dog is a huge responsibility and needs to be carefully considered. A dog is not an impulse buy, so never give or receive a puppy as a gift. It is important to choose a dog that will suit your family and your lifestyle. Your local Animal Control Unit or vet will provide a wealth of information to help you make the best choices. Before getting a dog you need to consider:
You may find it easier to choose a new family-ready dog from the SPCA.
Dogs here are temperament tested, de-sexed and pre-loved.
What sort of dog?
The breed you choose will depend on what you want a dog for e.g. family pet, farm dog, hunting dog or guard dog. The type of property you live in will also determine what size of dog is more suitable. Pure breed or cross breed? Long hair or short hair? Male or female? Puppy or adult?
Can you afford a dog?
Can you afford food, housing, annual registration, vaccinations, neutering, vet bills, worming and flea treatments? Perhaps you should also consider the cost of puppy pre-school, dog obedience classes and holiday boarding kennels.
Do you have the time and energy?
Dogs need company. They need to be walked and played with every day. They need to be trained and they need leadership. If you don’t understand dog behaviour, will you realistically have the time to find out?
Being a responsible dog owner?
The law requires owners to register their dogs and to keep control of their dogs at all times. Many problems arise because people do not manage their dogs properly.
If at home the dog must be confined to your property. There are many reasons why this is important; your local Dog Control Unit will be able to tell you what they are. One of those reasons is territorial aggression. Dogs not confined to their property might think they ‘own’ the footpath in front of their house or the street they live in and will defend this area accordingly. This means that a child riding past a gateway or a person walking up the street could be rushed at by an aggressive dog; this is not safe. We know dogs naturally defend their territory so we need to make sure they know where their territory stops!
If you are out walking your dog it must be leashed in most public places. There are some areas designated for off lead exercise. In these areas you must still carry a leash and your dog must be under verbal control (comes when you call it). It must be well socialised and not dog/person aggressive.
Re-homing dogs: Giving Your Dog Away
The Animal Welfare Act requires you to be responsible for the physical health and behavioural needs of your animal. This is why it’s so important to think carefully before you get a dog. If for some reason your circumstances have changed so much that you are no longer able to care properly for your dog, it’s best to re-home it. It is cruel to keep a dog constantly tied up or locked in a kennel on its own. If you know your dog is aggressive, don’t re-home it! It could bite someone! Talk over your options with your local Animal Control Unit or a vet.