On The Ball - Dog Behaviour and Training
Advice and Tips Before Buying a Puppy

Advice and Tips Before Buying a Puppy

As we write this we are in lockdown 3.0 and the popularity for buying dogs has never been bigger! Prices for puppies have soared to an astronomical level, but on the flip side of this rescues have seen their demands increase as people have realised that they don’t have the ‘lifestyle’ to be able to take on the demands of a dog.

So we’ve put together what we think is a great list of things to consider before, and while looking for, a puppy.


Okay so you may have considered the costs of the puppy (which at the moment are upwards of £1000!) but have you considered all of the other financial costs? Here is a list of the things that we spend on our dogs:

  • Insurance

Vet bills are expensive. Insurance varies so make sure you check out the cover. The cheaper packages only cover conditions for one year, whereas the slightly more expensive ones provide ongoing yearly cover for the same condition.

  • Food

We recommend buying only the best for your dog when it comes to food.

The choice now is huge when it comes to food – we are no longer restricted to food from a tin –  and providing the best you can afford now will pay off in the long term. You might even want to consider getting your own doggie freezer!

It’s important to know that what we feed our dogs can have a direct correlation on their behaviour.  Just as you wouldn’t feed your child three MacDonald’s a day without it having an impact on their health and wellbeing – the same can be said for our dogs. So really consider the ingredients that are going into their daily food.

We can supply and recommend quality food with a high meat content so just get in touch – we use a salmon and sweet potato recipe which is popular with all of our dogs and they look amazing on it too!

Raw marrow bones and chicken wings are also a great addition as long lasting treats and chews!

  • Bedding and Accessories

Your dog is probably going to change in size for about 12 months before they reach their final size, some breeds longer. In this time you are going to go through a few harnesses and collars. You may go through a few beds too  (TIP – We use vet bedding as dogs are far less likely to chew them up!) You may go through crate sizes – although you can buy crates with dividers now for the transition from a pup to a dog. Consider other things like poop bags and long lines for training recall. The sky is the limit when it comes to accessories so make sure you have a monthly budget for this.

Get in touch if you need some help or advice.

  • Toys

All dogs need toys! Tug toys are the best for relationship building, teaching vital skills to prevent resource guarding and self control. Always be careful to avoid the really cheap toys and check for safety labels. Always buy from a reputable pet shop and keep an eye on your dog with toys. Ideally you don’t want them dismembering their toys as it’s not a great habit to get into. Remember, it’s a fun time not a long time!

We find that leaving toys down all the time actually reduces the value that your dog puts into them and you. So maybe keep them back as a training reward and you’ll start to see that value increase and transfer to you.

  • Treats and Chews

Treats do help when it comes to training. Cheese and sausages might not be the healthiest choice for your dogs when you can buy things like dried venison and lamb! Chews are a necessity – dogs need to spend a HUGE amount of their waking time chewing, it’s calming and it relieves boredom. Chews vary from frozen bones to antlers and dried animal parts! Some pet shops have huge ‘pick and mixes’ of various animal pieces that will keep your dog entertained for hours. Another monthly must have expense.

  • Worming and fleaing

We would recommend contacting your vet for flea and worming treatments as there are so many on the market these days, often the ones you buy over the counter are not as good as the ones that you require a prescription for from the vets.

  • Supplements

You may want to compliment your dog’s diet with supplements. From calming remedies to joint supplements. Lots of supplements you can start as a puppy to give your dog the best possible chance of healthy joints as they age.

AOK9 have a huge range of supplements and as an affiliate and user we are happy to recommend them. All new customers can also get 10% off with our discount code! Just click here for more info.

Now we’ve covered some of the financial aspects of owning a dog. Lets delve into the searching for a puppy.


Breeding is an important thing to consider. There are lots of factors to look at  – how your choose your puppy is personal to you. However these are some points to bear in mind.

Is your dog KC registered? Can you trace back the ancestral line?

Breeding from unknown lines ‘can’ mean that unknown behavioural traits are carried forward.

Can you see the mum with her puppies?

The puppies shouldn’t leave their mum for 8 weeks so beware of anyone that wont let you see her, or of anyone that offers to give you the dog sooner. The first 8 weeks are known to be a crucial time for a puppy. If there is a lot of stress involved this can have an effect on their developing systems and may make them more anxious or unconfident.

Are the puppies in a house with normal ‘household’ stuff going on?

A responsible breeder will be ‘carefully’ allowing the puppies to experience being handled and getting used to the usual comings and goings of a normal house. There is so much that can be done by the breeder, even at this young age, to begin confidence building.

Will the breeder be contactable after the handover?

A good breeder will always be on call to help with any potential issues and offer advice.  They may also ask you to sign a contract to say that if you change your mind or have any problems you agree to give the puppy back to them to re-home. The contact with the breeder should NOT end on the day they hand over the puppy. They should be fully invested in the welfare of the puppy.

Start training right away.

You don’t need to wait till your puppy has had it’s vaccinations to get training. Training starts the moment the puppy is in your arms! Investing in your puppy’s training from day 1, and throughout it’s life, will give it THE best chance of being the happiest dog it can be, as well as coping with anything that life brings.

To enroll on our next puppy course just click here and fill out the online form and we will contact you with our next start date.

And if you have any questions about getting a new puppy, just ask!

We are always here to offer advice and support.

Have you tried a free virtual class yet?

We know that for some people, jumping straight into a dog training session for the first time can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we always offer a free first class to spectate, so you can sit back, relax and watch the session with zero pressure.

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