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Dog selection tips Part 1 - Buy or Adopt?

We would like to share some tips on Dog selection, the pros and cons of the decision you make and also what to expect, this serves to provide additional knowledge for those who have already owned a dog and those who are interested in getting one in future.

This guide will be broken down into 3 sections and is advisable to be read from Part 1 to Part 3, feel free to ask if there is anything unsure.

Usually when talking about getting a dog most people would put Dog Breed as their first step towards choosing a dog, however in this guide it will be different as we place Buy or Adopt first. Reason is because we feel that situations like birth environment and how a particular dog is brought up defines the dog's character, health and habit much more than the nature of the breed itself. Do note that we are talking about dogs in Singapore, breeds like pit bull terriers, wolf hybrid and other uncommon breeds that is rare or not available in this country should not be taken in consideration.

Below are the pros and cons based on our personal opinion.

Buying a dog/puppy
Most people would choose to get a puppy when talking about dog purchase, most of the time is because people want to experience puppyhood and nobody can deny the beautiful memories of watching a dog grow. Some also believe that puppies are the easiest to train and will love their owners more if they bond together during early stages. Of course there are some that do not mind buying a teenage or adult dog, mostly is because they simply cannot resist a particular dog's features or they may feel that the particular dog is the "right" one for them, some call it "love at first sight".

Buying a dog is pretty simple, the procedure is fast and in most cases you can bring the dog home on the day itself unless the puppy is under 3 months old. However simple and fast procedures can have very negative effect, if you do not know what to look out for things might become very complicated later on, we've heard countless horror stories about getting a sick dog, or even cases where the breed turns out to be not what the seller promised.

If you are the type that thinks that it is okay to buy a dog to "try out first" then you might not be ready to have dog, however as we understand that most cannot resist due to impulse, the next advise would be to try adopting or fostering - inform the shelter or the ex-owner that you are first time dog owner and need some time to try out, though there may also be unforeseen circumstances with this decision, it is much better than buying one on impulse.

If you have studied hard and have decided that a dog is right for you, then you will need to go on to the next step - training your dog, who to train and how to train. Nobody will say that they are very happy with their dog barking all day long and urinating all over the house for over 10 years, everyone have different definitions of a trained dog but nobody will say that they hate well behaved dogs.

Contrary to beliefs, puppies are NOT easy to train, they have very low attention span, most are hyperactive and their brain is constantly thinking of playing and eating, however we encourage training a dog in their puppy stage rather than waiting till it grows into an adult because puppies do not have habits, and habits are the hardest to eliminate, puppies have no knowledge and they need their mother to guide them through and build character in them. Yes like humans, there are good mothers and not-so-good mothers, when you buy a puppy you are simply taking over the mother position, in this case you need to learn to be a good dog mother, you might not want to treat a dog as a human baby, it's pretty cruel.

Pros of buying a dog
• get to experience puppyhood
• get to train the dog in its early stage, which is very helpful
• fast procedure to bring the dog home
• lots breeds to choose from

Cons of buying a dog
• chances of getting sick puppy/dog is quite high
• costly
• chances of being lied about the dog is very high (eg. Breed, Size, Characteristics, Bloodline)
• unknowingly support breeding

Adopting a dog/puppy 
Nobody can deny the number one advantage of adopting a dog - Saving a Life. Dogs that are placed in shelters are those that are abandoned, whether it's dogs that are too old, sick, owners get bored of them, moving houses, or even unwanted puppies, they are all abandoned. Everyone knows about the good side of adoption, but how many are actually willing to tell you the negative side of this act?

In our opinion, though people always encourage adopting (even we ourselves encourage this act), there are a lot of underlying problems that will only surface as time passes and most adopters or potential adopters do not consider this before bringing one home, and sadly most of them give the adopted dog away or back to shelters without giving any form of notice, which can actually put the dog in a very bad state. You need to understand that adopting a dog is totally different from buying one, the responsibility is different and most people are not suitable to own an adopted dog, as harsh as it may sound, this is the truth.

There are actually a lot of people that adopt dogs and the reasons vary - dog lovers that wants to give abandoned dogs another chance, people that want a dog but cannot afford one, breeding purpose, seeking for fame/attention. Not everyone adopt dogs for their well being, I have seen dogs being used for bad deeds and trust me, it is very dark indeed, just to let you know that there are even shelters that have ulterior motive in mind, just like how certain charity/donation drives work.

Though a lot of people say that you can still find certain breed or even puppies at shelters, it is very limited and the chances are low, popular breeds/puppies are usually reserved right away after they are put up, and to be honest the ones left are usually those that either is mixed breed, sick/injured, is old, has behavior issue or they simple don't look attractive enough. We are not discriminating less fortunate dogs but just want readers to know the truth and facts from our own experience, these are criteria for you to read and understand before adopting one on impulse, if these dogs that already has issues and adopters bring them home, then throw them back into shelters when they can't handle it, the dogs will most likely get traumatized, problems might even become worst than it already is for the dog as well as the shelter/ex-owner, the dog might even be put down. We are always helping owners to find potential adopters from time to time and some do not result in happy ending, there are cases where owners are not experienced enough to handle the adopted dog, resulting in sickness and anti social behaviors, some even throw the dog around, pushing responsibility when problems arise. Even when you have checked and talked to potential adopters, things can still go wrong at times, humans can act or change and there is no way to foolproof it.

Pros of adopting a dog
• save lives
• affordable (excludes medical bills)
• information of the dog given to you is usually true
• discourage puppy mills and breeding

Cons of adopting a dog
• chances of getting a dog with health/behavior issues is high
• limited choice of breed, features and age of dog
• procedure is tedious (checking of your home, reviewing process from shelters)
• training an adult or old dog requires a lot of work and time

In closing 
You might want to take some time to think through before deciding whether to Buy or Adopt a dog, share this information with your friends too, this decision can probably define the rest of you and your future dog's life. In the next article we will talk about Breed Selection, do remember to ask if you have any questions :)


  1. Yesterday, my son told me he wanted to have a dog and because this is our first time to have a pet at home, I want to make sure we can choose the right dog. I read your article and the information here really helped me. Now, I'm ready to buy a dog for my son because I know all the important things need to consider. Read more about Vets Weston, just visit here.


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