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Adding a dog to your family……..

My children have been clamoring for a dog for a very long time now, well almost for the last two years now….and each time I would tactfully divert the topic to something else….it was not that I don’t like dogs….in fact I love them but then keeping a dog in the house is a big responsibility and I was sure that my children were too young to understand this. It is just like having another child in the family and at the age of 44 years becoming a father again is not something which I relished. But some time back I promised them that depending on the positive outcome of a work discussion I would get them a dog. Now it was time for me to live up that promise and even though I was still skeptical about my kids understanding my concerns, a promise is a promise. So, last week our house had a new member, Hobbit a 6 month old Labrador. The following is my experience of getting a dog in New Delhi…….

There is a lot of research to be done in terms of which kind of dog that one can and should keep, the identification of good breeders in your city, ensuring that the dog gets its vaccination time to time and then the potty cleaning in the house till he gets trained. It’s a fair bit of work and I do not mean to discourage anyone who is intending to keep a dog but all I am trying to say that it’s not a simple decision that is taken overnight. The more you think about it and research the topic the better the decision making process….after all the dog is going to be a part of your life for the next 10-12 years.

My research began on the net as to the different kinds of breeds and their respective natures. I am well aware of this subject (kept 2 dogs before, a pure bred Doberman and a mix Lab) but then it always helps to refresh oneself and learn new things. Since I live in an apartment there was no way that I could afford to keep huge dogs (they need space) and I personally don’t like the smaller breeds such as Dachshund or a Beagle (the latter is by nature pretty possessive and naughty). The choice was between a Golden Retriever, Labrador or a German Shepherd. Given the fact that I needed more of a family dog than a guard dog the choice narrowed down to either a Labrador or a Golden Retriever.

Both the breeds are quite similar to each other in nature and are great family dogs….they are very child friendly, docile and highly intelligent which makes their training a lot easier. On the down part the Labradors tend to gain weight over the years and some of them gain so much that they seem to struggle climbing stairs while the golden retriever demands regular grooming on account of its thick coat and if ignored the hair can turn into ugly knots.

There are a lot of dog breeders in Delhi and it is quite impossible to verify their background over a telephonic conversation…some of them sound like rip offs whilst some seemed to be more of agents who probably don’t do the breeding themselves but will ‘arrange’ a pup for you. I guess it’s something that one has to find out by making ample calls and a few visits and using a kind of self judgment to understand the genuineness of the breeder. An important suggestion here, don’t take the kids with you when visiting a breeder as they have a tendency to get sold over the very first dog that they see and you may not get a fair chance to visit other breeders or to negotiate the price.

Pups are not to be given or sold out till they are at least 45 days old but there are those breeders who don’t adhere to these norms…..don’t fall in for them as the pup needs the mother’s milk for that period before they are weaned off. I decided to go in for a pup which was about 6 months old from a breeder called Deepak (+91 9250 393 698) which gave me the comfort of not only knowing how the pup has developed but also  more importantly I could insist for the KCI registration papers of the pup. This is an important document that one should insist upon (and normally it takes about 2-3 months for the processing).

The KCI (Kennel Club of India) has a strong set of rules and regulations for the breeders to follow which somewhat provide a framework to encourage the breeding of healthy, well-adjusted puppies. It lays down a series of requirements that breeders must follow in order to participate in the scheme. Hence pup buyers from such accredited breeders of the KCI will gain the assurance that the breeder has undertaken to follow basic good practice as laid out by the scheme. Check out this link for more details

Also, the added benefit of the registration is that the KCI provides a microchip which is to be fitted onto the dog by a vet which would apparently help locate him if he / she is dog napped. I am not sure of how it works as my pup just came in a few days back and I need to take him to the vet to get the microchip fitted.

So, now that we have a dog in our house my kids are overjoyed and I have kept my promise……in a matter of about a week he has learned some basic commands and of course, I have a new responsibility….clean the potty till he is trained.

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