1. What's the difference between Pet & Show?
There is no greater use then to be “just a much loved pet/companion.” Even the blue-blooded show animal is hopefully a much loved companion after his 1 or 2 yr. show career is over.
The differences between Pet & Show are usually minor, and the slight flaws in color, coat texture, size or ear carriage won’t effect the quality of the love, devotion and companionship of the dog.
2. I've seen puppies advertised in the paper for much less - what's the difference?
The price you pay for the pup divided over the life of the animal loses its significance. Buying from a reputable breeder who guarantees their puppies in a written contract and is willing to be there to answer your questions and give advice during your dog's lifetime is priceless. Puppies advertised in the local paper are often of poorer quality or have been irresponsibly bred. The "breeders" of these pups don't usually know of the health history of the dogs in previous generations - if their bitch is "healthy", then they say the pups will be "healthy" - unfortunately this isn't always the case. A responsible breeder will not allow their pet quality puppies to be bred from. Another poor source for purchasing your puppy is a Pet Store. Pet Stores often charge hundreds of dollars more for their puppies than a breeder will, and the puppies usually come from Puppy Mills and are often shipped to the stores long before the babies should even have been taken away from their mother. By purchasing from a Pet Store you are not "saving" a puppy - instead you are condemning thousand's of other puppies to the same uncertain future.
3. What else do I need?
A CRATE - Crates come in a wide variety of styles and materials. The most reasonably priced ones are made of steel wire but they also come in colored hard plastic models. The most important thing is to buy one that is going to be large enough for your adult dog. Crates are not just for puppies. The crate is a major expense but the cheapest house insurance you can buy. A crate pad of some sort of material that is hard to shred is a nice touch to the crate. Be aware that it should be checked often and due to chewing will could replacing during the first year.
COMB AND BRUSH - Buy a good quality steel comb (commonly called a greyhound) in a combo style.(coarse and fine teeth) They aren’t cheap but it will last the life of the dog unlike the cheaper ones that need replacing. The brush should be a natural bristle type and of good quality.
Nylon bristles are not necessary. A wire slicker brush is a good investment too. Good for getting the burrs and knots out.
KNITTING NEEDLE - This my sound strange but a knitting needle is the fastest way I have found of getting that back part in place. A steel one is my personal choice.
NAIL CLIPPERS and QUICK STOP - A heavy pair with replaceable blades is a good choice. Scissors types are on the market but they can’t be sharpened and need to be replaced at a higher cost then replacing just the blade portion. Steel yourself, you ARE going to cut the quick at some time in the dog’s life. It is not life threatening and if you have the Quick Stop, it is easy to stop the bleeding, easier then getting over the guilty feelings.
TOOTHBRUSH AND DOGGIE TOOTH PASTE - This like combing goes on the whole dog’s life so you might as well start young and let the pup get used to it while things are still fun. Several brush styles are on the market but they do need replacing every once in a while, so buy the one that appeals to you. The tooth paste however needs to be DOGGIE toothpaste, human types are poisonous to dogs. Baking soda is a better choice if you run out.
COLLAR AND LEAD - Collars and leads are the fun stuff. They come in a rainbow of colors, a
huge selection of materials and you can get most in matching sets. Relatively inexpensive but light
and colorful nylon will serve you as well as a leather set.
FOOD AND WATER DISHES - These are important purchases, so chose carefully. Plastic dishes can be chewed and thrown, which is annoying but they also can cause health problems. The plastic used in animal dishes, in most areas, does not need to be made of the same FOOD grade plastics as human food dishes do. Even the dye used to color them doesn’t need to be stable. Your dogs water is going to sit in the dish all day absorbing chemicals if any are in the plastic and YOUR
dog is going to drink the contaminated water. Cause for thought. Ceramic dishes are nice and heavy, hard to throw around but do break if you drop them or drop something on them. They should be checked to be sure they are glazed with a lead-free finish the way human food dishes need to be. Steel dishes are easy to throw around and noisy when thrown but they not only don't not break, but they are easy to disinfect, dishwasher safe, and are not likely to leach anything into your dog’s water or carefully chosen food.
FOOD - Buy and feed a premium dog food recommended by your breeder, Vet or another
knowledgeable dog person. Proper nutrition is important for the growth and health of your dog.
CHEW TOYS - If you have a puppy you need chew toys. The more the better. Soft plastic
toys don’t last long and need to be supervised. Toys that can be thrown in the air safely are a big plus with the pups.
SHAMPOO - A good brand regular, not flea, dog shampoo that is easy on both the dog’s eyes and yours is a good buy. Soap in the eyes hurts anyone and the first few baths could be a wresting match. Choose one that rinses out well.
CREME RINSE - A good creme rinse will help slow the tangles down and keep the fly-aways at bay between baths.
FLEXI - This is a retractable type lead that comes in several lengths and allows the dog up to 26 ft of freedom when walking in parks etc. Buy one that will stand up to your dogs weight as an adult.
TOWELS - This sounds silly but a dog towel in a dark color is a good investment as well. Puppy needs drying after bathes and needs wet feet dried on rainy days. Brown is a good color to hide any stains that may appear and are easy to tell from the ‘people’ towels.
While you are shopping, other things seem to jump in the cart. There is a huge variety of dog and dog related products on the market. The only limit seems to be the pocket book. Seatbelt harnesses, coats of all types, boots...the list goes on and on.
Have fun shopping and ENJOY that new puppy.