Before you start looking
Consider your situation
Firstly, it’s important to assess whether you will make a good dog owner. It sounds harsh, but some situations aren’t ideal for owning a puppy, and perhaps you don’t have the necessary time to devote to training and caring for a pet right now. It’s worth using online resources to figure out if your home, work situation, holiday plans and more will make you a suitable dog owner.
To decide whether you can afford the lifelong commitment of owning a dog, we’ve taken a look at all of the costs of owning a dog.
Ask your nearest and dearest about their experiences with dog-owning and whether they think you’d be good with a dog. You may even find they raise important points about aspects of dog ownership you’ve never considered before.
Find your fit
Before you begin your search, research what kind of breeds might suit you. It’s easy to fall for just about any breed thanks to all those cute pictures, but you don’t want to buy a dog that’s the wrong size for your home or perhaps needs more exercise than you thought. Take online quizzes, read up on different breeds, talk to neighbours and friends who own dogs – all of these will help you get to know the different breeds and their personalities.
Practice makes perfect
It’s also a great idea to dog-sit or walk someone else’s dog multiple times before you consider buying a puppy or dog online.
While you’re looking
Ask for more information
If you’re buying a puppy or dog online and you’ve found a potential seller, check all the available information in depth. Then, ask for more information from the breeder. Can they send you videos or photos? Are they available to talk on the phone? Can they give you extra information about the dog’s parents? Anything you can think of asking will help you not only learn more about the dog, but understand how serious and professional the seller is too.
Do seller research
You’ll need to really look into the person or institution you’re buying your dog from. Check all their credentials, look for reviews or people’s experience online and get to know them a little bit too.
Meet your pup
It’s essential to meet your pup and their family before buying a dog online. Of course, you should take all the usual precautions before meeting anyone you don’t know, but it’s an indispensable part of getting to know your potential pet. You need to know if your personalities mesh.
Before you make the final decision
Remember, dogs are for life. Hopefully, your new puppy or dog will be with you, bringing joy to your life, for years to come. With that in mind, don’t rush into a decision. Whether you’re rescuing, taking on a dog from someone who can’t care for them anymore, or buying a puppy, getting a canine companion should never be an impulse decision.
Double-check the paperwork
All paperwork from sellers should be immaculate and you’ll need to really check it. If you’re not sure what you should be looking at, you can ask a friend with relevant experience or your local vet for advice on what to look out for.
Get a second opinion
Finally, and especially if you’re considering buying a dog on your own, take someone you trust with you to meet your potential puppy again. A second pair of eyes is always useful.
If you’ve never owned a dog before, be sure to check out our guide to the best dogs for first time owners.
If you’ve got your heart set on a dog and have a loving home to offer, you can find puppies and dogs for sale on Gumtree. Be sure to take your time and do your research – you could find a furry friend for life.