Buying a Puppy
At Notts And Yorkshire Boxer Rescue we realise that a rescue dog is not always the suitable choice for everyone and for some people, due to circumstances a puppy may be the right choice for them. If so, then we are happy to give advice on how to find a healthy puppy, the things to
look out for and points to consider before going ahead. Here are a few things to think about before getting a puppy...................
Can you afford it?
Apart from the initial cost of the puppy you should consider the cost of veterinary care. Regular costs include yearly vaccinations, monthly flea and tick treatment and worming and these can add up during the year. If you intend to neuter/spay your puppy you should also add this into
your veterinary care bill. You may look into insurance which is a good way of budgeting for any unexpected veterinary bills but during a dog’s lifetime the cost of this can run into many thousands of pounds and as the dog’s years advance the cost can because ever increasing. Although
boxers look to be tough dogs they do actually have very delicate digestive systems so need a good quality food. You should factor this into how much you will spend each month but also cost in things such as kennelling your dog whilst on holiday and doggie day care should you need it. A
boxer can live for 10 – 12 years so all these costs together certainly add up!
Do you have time?
This is one of the main reasons for dogs being surrendered to rescue. Over time your circumstances can change and you are committing to your dog for a lifetime so think very carefully about whether you not only have time for your dog now but also in years to come. It’s understandable
that people have to work but also consider how you’re working hours will affect your dog. If they are going to be left alone for the whole day is it really fair on them? Boxers are very social dogs and left alone for many hours they may become distressed and become destructive. They
also need a good exercise regime. Ideally they need two good walks per day to burn off energy. A quick walk round the block isn’t enough for a boxer so do you have time?
How much do you know about the breed?
Have you done your homework? They will not always be that tiny, cute puppy. They will grow into a strong, powerful dog weighing between 20kg – 40kg. They can be boisterous, bouncy, overwhelming but are very sociable and inquisitive so will want to be part of every activity you do. If
you are not familiar with the breed then please gather as much information as you can. The internet is a good source but also speaking to someone who has had experience with boxers or even try contacting us!
So if you have now decided a puppy is for you.............
Reputable breeders care very much for the breed and therefore breed in a responsible way. Although we cannot recommend specific breeders we can advise you on all the do’s and don’ts of buying a puppy.
Never buy a puppy from someone who advertises several breeds from the same premises as this is likely to be either a puppy farm or an “agent” who brings in puppies from puppy farms abroad. You may think you are saving that one dog but taking a puppy home from somewhere like this
enables them to continue their “business” and as long as they continue to sell puppies they will continue to breed and keep dogs in terrible conditions. These puppies are often poorly bred and sickly and sadly some may even die. Do not provide people like this with an
income........walk away and report your concerns to Trading Standards.
If anyone is advertising their family pet’s puppies then please check that they have done the necessary veterinary tests for hereditary conditions beforehand. Not having these tests may mean that your boxer could suffer from heart problems, kidney disease, hip problems, epilepsy or
allergies. Both Mum and Dad should have been heart tested and have a certificate with a grade 1 – 6 with a score of 0 being the best. You should be able to meet Mum but if they say she isn’t available for any reason (out for a walk, at the vets) arrange to come again when she will be
there. Unscrupulous people will try make excuses.....do not be swayed! If you do get to meet her, is she happy and healthy? Also can they give you any information on Dad? Ask to see where the puppies are kept. Puppy’s social skills begin developing in the first few weeks of life
so it is important that they have been kept in the right environment for them to develop and learn. A good breeder should provide you with a puppy pack. This will include information you need on looking after your new puppy including feeding and training. Some of the food they are
being fed should also be provided as by the time they leave Mum they should be fully weaned. A few things to look out for are:
- Is the puppy generally bright, alert, healthy looking and interacting with the rest of the litter as well as their Mother.
- Are the conditions they are kept in clean?
- Do they have regular human contact? If they are raised in a home environment rather than a kennel they will benefit from being already familiar with everyday sounds, smells and sights.
- Check their eyes and nose. There should be no discharge or sores and their skin should be free of bald patches or scabs.
- Have they had worming treatment, flea treatment and what vaccinations have they had (ideally they should have had their first vaccination before leaving Mum). Also find out when the next ones are due. Your puppy should also be microchipped.
- Ensure that all the relevant paperwork is available for you to look at. This should include a vaccination certificate, health check report from the vet, pedigree certificate.
PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Even if you use an accredited breeder from the Kennel Club scheme, this does not ensure that you will get a healthy puppy. Please still be wary and follow the guidelines above. A responsible breeder is not necessarily part of the scheme or part of a club.
What to look for if adopting from a rescue
So you’ve decided that a rescue dog is the right dog for you. As with puppies you should consider some basic rules. Can you afford it? Do you have the time? Most good rescues will ask you these and many other questions to ensure that you are suitable to adopt a dog. All rescues
operate in different ways and have differing rules and ways of operating.
Here are a few things you should be looking for in a good rescue.
- You should be interviewed and details taken such as where you live, your lifestyle, your family etc. to make sure you are the right person to adopt. You may be asked to provide references and some rescues limit ages for those who adopt e.g. no children under 6 years and no adoptees
over 65. Other rescue are more flexible and have no age barriers.
- They should do a home check to ensure that where you live is safe and appropriate for a dog. If they tell you that it is ok just to show them a picture then be wary. Any good rescue will not take a photo at face value, after all you could be showing them anyone’s home.
- You should be able to meet a dog on at least one occasion but ideally several should you or the rescue feel it necessary. Getting to know your new family member before they come home ensures that both you and they are more relaxed when the big day arrives for them to go home with
- Every dog should have had a behavioural assessment and this should be available for you to look at should you wish to. It may not be possible to test for everything but some basic things such as how they interact with people, other dogs etc. should have been done and they can make
you aware of any issues which you may need to work on.
- A rescue dog should NEVER go in one door and out the other. Even the most placid and well behaved of dogs should have spent some time being assessed by the rescue staff. If a rescue dog has come into the rescue and is going out quickly then this is a very
dangerous practise for both you and the dog. Leaving their former home can cause any dog distress, confusion and anxiety and to put that dog directly into a home with strangers can end in disaster.
- The rescue should be able to provide you with as much information on the dog as is possible. Sometimes this may be limited due to the dog being a stray or the limited amount of information that the previous owner has provided. If at all possible the rescue may get previous vet
records but again this cannot be guaranteed.
- Your dog should have been spayed / neutered (unless there is some medical reason not to or the dog is underage) and had their vaccinations. They should also be microchipped and many rescues will change the details on the chip on your behalf.
- Many rescues will give you a rehoming pack which will contain information and advice. Please read any advice information they give you as this can ensure you get off to the best start when you go home for the first time.
- A good rescue will do follow ups to ensure both you and your new addition are ok and many will also offer support and advice should you have any concerns once you get home as well as in the years that lay ahead.
Being a responsible owner
Owning a dog is a big responsibility and many people do not realise what a huge commitment it is.
Before having a dog you should consider many things beforehand.
Not just of food and treats but think about what veterinary care they will need. This will be yearly vaccinations and regular flea treatment and wormer. You should look into insurance to cover unexpected costs and will you need to use kennels or a sitter when you go on holiday or day
care should you be out for long periods.
You will need to exercise them twice a day no matter what the weather! Boxers are a high energy dog and can become frustrated and destructive if not given an outlet for that energy. This will also be for their lifetime as boxers do not grow old gracefully and will continue to be
active well into old age.
We have many boxers who come into rescue due to lack of socialisation with other dogs and people. Dog training classes are a great way of to both socialise and train your dog in a safe and controlled way. You should look for a class that is run by a qualified instructor or
behaviourist. They should use positive reinforcement methods and never encourage force or negative methods of training.
Boxers are generally very good with children if they live with them from an early age but just as you should teach your dog manners around children you should also teach your children to respect a dog. Dogs need their own space to take time out and children should not disturb them
when they are resting. Equally as important is teaching your children not to disturb them when they eat and you should supervise all interactions so insuring your dog is never teased or over excited. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE WITH CHILDREN.
Neutering / spaying:
Neutering (male) and spaying (female) is a responsible way to ensure that your dog does not reproduce but there are other reasons why this is a responsible thing to do.
- Neutering can help reduce aggressive and unwanted sexual behaviour including mounting, fighting and scent marking.
- Females can come into “season” (the time they will bleed) for 3 weeks at a time, twice a year. If you do not want to breed they will need to be kept away from males during this time. Also be prepared for some mess and inconvenience.
- Neutering can reduce the risk of testicular and prostate cancer in males and uterine, mammary and ovarian cancer in females and can also stop bitches from suffering from pyometra (womb infection) which can potentially be fatal.
It is a myth that bitches need to have a litter before being spayed. Pregnancy in itself carries its own risks and allowing them a litter is yet another responsibility, is very hard work and can be costly.
As from 6th April 2016 all dogs over 8 weeks of age must be microchipped.
If your dog is lost or stolen you stand a much greater chance of it being returned if it is microchipped. This is usually done by the breeder but you MUST keep the details up to date. If your address or phone number changes then please inform the microchip company. If they are
found and the details are out of date after 7 days they can be rehomed or worse they may be euthanized.
If your dog is from a rescue centre then it is your own details that should be registered on the database and NOT that of the rescue. YOU are the keeper of the dog and legally it is you who must be registered as the keeper.
The law states that:
- Puppies must be microchipped by 8 weeks
- Breeders are responsible for microchipping and must be recorded as the first keeper
- The recorded keepers (where the dog resides) MUST keep contact details up to date on a government compliant database
- All dogs must still wear an ID tag
Your boxer should be vaccinated yearly by your vet.
It is important to keep these updated as they prevent potentially serious canine diseases. If you let them over-run the due date then your dog will have to restart their vaccinations again, just like a puppy. This will cost more than just having their usual booster and will also be
Kennel cough is not included in the yearly vaccines and is given separately up the nasal passage once a year. Some people don’t give their dog the kennel cough vaccine believing that they only get the disease if they go into kennels but this is very wrong. It is the most contagious
disease in dogs and can be picked up wherever your dog goes where other dogs that carry the disease have been before them. It can also be carried on peoples clothing or footwear. Kennel cough can not only make your dog very poorly but if your dog has an underlying condition, is elderly
or very young, it can be fatal.
Health Issues in Boxers
Most pedigree dog breeds have their own health issues and boxers are no exception.
Illnesses can be serious and costly conditions which will not just effect your pocket but can also cause you heartbreak. Any concerns you have should be discussed with your vet who can advise you.
Boxers can suffer from a range of illnesses including:
- Heart problems
- Digestive, stomach and gastrointestinal issues
- Entropion (eyelids folding inwards)
- Hip dysplasia