Guide for Buying a Dog

By Susan de Castella


My personal story


I would like to share with you how I decided to choose both Goldie and Jett putting together a guide for buying a dog that most suited us and vice versa…


When Nicholas and I chose Goldie, we were living in a single fronted house in the inner suburb with two small boys 6 months and 18 months old. So we decided on a Golden Retriever, ex breeder 6 year old, not a mean cell in her body, quiet and yet loved to go for walks. Goldie came from a Golden Retriever recovery service. The lady from the Golden Retriever recovery service kept the rescue dogs for a period of time at her place until she worked out their temperament. When she thought one might suit us she would ring us and off we’d go to see the dog. We went several times though the dogs were all gorgeous Golden retrievers some were either too big, still in puppy stage, (too much for us, especially me. I was just coping at 44 years of age being a mum, wife, running a home business…).

Goldie was also small, hardly barked and she was a homebody, she did not roam. While we lived in the city her coat was not a problem but we eventually moved to the bush and her coat was a magnet to mud and the bush! Her ‘homebodiness’ was fantastic as we had no fencing on our 7 acre property.

One thing the boys would have loved her to do was ‘fetch’ Goldie did not fetch.

I notice when I picked up something in the courtyard, a toy or broom, Goldie would flitch, and put her tail between her back legs. After being with us for a while, I was happy to say, she stop doing this. The only thing Goldie hated and never really got over, was if I had her on the lead and started to walk with her she would baulk, so I had to remember to face her and say excitedly ‘Come on Goldie’ and then she knew she was okay, I wasn’t going to hurt her.


So time moved on and we were up in the beautiful Dandenongs in Victoria Australia on a 7 acre bush property backing onto the National Park. The boys are now grown somewhat and when Goldie was 14 years of age and we had her euthanize (see my article Deciding) I could not bring myself to getting another dog until 2 years later.


So I started searching on the net for another dog.

Because our circumstances had changed from inner city living to bush haven with now two grown up boys we knew that maybe a different breed would suit us better due to, Nicholas my husband and our boys liked cross country running and wanted a dog to run with.

So on this we wanted a short hair dog, definitely a low level barker, easy to train, needed exercise, friendly, and healthy.

We decided on Jett a Kelpie cross possibly with a Labrador.



Photo –‘Jett’ Farmdogz Rescue March 2013


He definitely came up well in the photo on the internet, the photographer got him on an angle to show his wonderful handsome face. When he got out of the car he was so overweight. I said to the rescue service lady, ‘You definitely got him on a good angle’. He was 32kg when she picked him up as he was left on the property for days so I guess lots of food to keep him fed while the owner was away. She reassured me that he is a really good dog, can be active but inside will lay about.

So we agreed to take him on.

He was not bonded with humans and commands were totally ignored. We arranged for a Dog Trainer to come and work with Jett and us as a whole family so we could be on the same page with the same set of commands, we were so glad we did it. To his favour his was highly intelligent, friendly, loving and ready to please, thanks goodness as he was 14 months old going into adolescence!

One thing that frustrated me to no end was Jett was not a home body and would run off for ages, his recall non existence tried lots of things food rewards, etc nothing seemed to work, though he has got better over the years.

The reason I think he improved, a couple of years ago, he was in our house for 7 weeks recovering from an eye injury (see Chapter … Caring for and coping with sick or injured pets) which seemed to really change him being with us, somehow being inside the house was better than outside, off in the bush and the other incident was when he got picked up by a passerby and taken to a dog pound. When I picked him up the next day from the pound, he came inside the house and slept all day I don’t think he ever really forgot the dog pound experience, ‘No place better than home’!


It is really a personal choice when deciding to choose a pet at anytime.

The timing really depends on the individual and you are the best one to know.


Particular after the loss of a pet, I needed time to grieve so I could move forward in my life to welcome a new pet into our lives. I was grateful to have clarity and breathwork sessions, helping me enormously in this area.


I am a definite believer a dog is for life and not a throw away item. There are really good reasons when owners no longer can keep their pet for example, illness, death, going into a nursing home, etc

I find most things in life are truly a very personal journey for me and the pet I choose.

When we decided to get Goldie we had a check list we needed to tick off the box to make sure we came as close as possible that our new pet would fit into our lives and vice versa.



Prepare beforehand when deciding on a Pet


For me, basically these are aspects I used when deciding on a buying a dog:-

Does it feel the right time?

What breed would most suit my circumstances?

Are we going to buy a dog from an animal rescue service?

Have I got my checklist ready to tick off and keep me on track with the dog that most suits me, my family, and circumstances?





Check List to Help Decide on a Dog.

I would like to share a checklist I made up that I used for you to look over and help prompt ideas for you to search more about the dog that would best suit your needs.


This checklist I used to help me decide on the dog.


What dog would suit me/us/family.



For example (Goldie)



Court yard

Inner City




2 young children toddler age


Hours spent at Home

24/7 days a week – Home base business


Dog Breed

Small – Medium


Age of Dog

Around 5 to 6 years of age





People and Kid Friendly




Occasional Barking

Over chewing up toys, shoes etc

Digging not a problem (didn’t have a backyard with a garden)

No Jumping up

Definitely no biting

Okay to be left no Separation Anxiety



Toilet trained

Basic commands sit, drop, stay

No mouthing or pulling of sleeves or clothing items

Does not pull clothes off line


Other Considerations when buying a Dog



Size, weight, coat, colour



Miniature, Small, Medium, Large



Light, Middle, Heavy



Smooth coat short or long (Bull Terrier, Daschund)

Double coat short or long Rottweiler, Chow, Husky and Collie)

Wire coat (Irish Wolfhound)

Curly coat (Poodle)

Long coat (Maltese)

Hairless coat (Mexican Hairless)



Black dog – white carpet, couch

White dog – black carpet, couch



Occasional barker, constant barker or a howler



Friendly – kid, dog, people (including strangers), affectionate, high or low energy, or a combination.

Protective – Family and property

Guard Dog – Trained to protect persons or property

Drooling – breed related, for example, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Bloodhound…

Wanderlust – prone to wander, tend to follow their nose, for example, hounds and huskies

Seperation Anxiety – require someone or another dog to be home all day.

Aggression – This for me is one to seriously consider when choosing a dog.

Signs can be fear and/or nervousness around other dogs, people, around food.

Play behavior mouthing, nipping, pawing, wrestling, chasing, which is considered normal canine behavior but is over the top, being excessive/extreme in a young dog and as they grow older becomes aggression.



Over 16 years


Recommended for:

Families – young, older or combination, single, couples, elderly



Prone to hip dysplasia, cataracts, obesity……



Easy to groom, brushing, bathing


Training your dog:

Toilet training, socializing, level of obedience training, agility trials


Space & exercise:

Walking on a daily basis, need a small, medium, large depending on backyard.


Where to buy:

Reputable rescue organization or animal welfare

A reputable breeder


Costs to consider

Veterinarian Check Ups

Medications: worming, vaccinations etc





Lead and collar


Grooming equipment

Council Registration

Obedience Cub Fees

Professional grooming

Pet Insurance


Other resources

Search on google for more information, contact Dog Clubs, Obedience Clubs, Veterinarians, Rescue services.



Some questions to meditate on to get clearer on
choosing your new dog:


Read each question and the suggestions.

Close your eyes and breathe into your heart.

Ask yourself the question

Keep Breathing into your heart and allow an answer to come to you

Write down your answer on a piece of paper.

Then move onto the next question


  1. What dog do you see?

A friend wanting lots of cuddles and laying around all day

A dog/cat that loves to run, jump having lots of energy

Just a friendly family dog

A loyal friend that loves your company

A very agile dog/cat

All of the above


  1. What size is your dog?




Any of the above


  1. What is your favourite way to spend time with your dog?

Tossing a Frisbee or ball at the beach

Playing fetch with your dog in the park, beach

Meeting up with others in a dog park

Going to the park to socialize with other owners and dogs

Sitting with your dog at a café with friends

Just taking a walk together in your favourite park, bush

Spending time together laying around in the lounge room


  1. How intelligent is your dog?

Low to Medium


Mediun to High


Any of the above


  1. How much do you want to exercise your dog?






  1. What kind of home does your dog need?

Small or medium apartment with no yard

Small or medium apartment with a yard

Single frontage house with a yard

Suburban house with yard

Home with a large property


  1. Does the breed of dog need to be allergenic free for anyone in the household?



I don’t know


  1. You have planned a daily routine for your dog to get sufficient mental stimulus and physical exercise being essential for their health and well being.

Can you see yourself and/or someone else walking/playing with him everyday.


  1. Can you see your self:

Grooming your dog

Brushing him daily

Bathing him regularly or when required or it does not matter


  1. You can see and feel the dogs’ coat

Smooth coat short or long (Bull Terrier, Daschund)

Double coat short or long Rottweiler, Chow, Husky and Collie)

Wire coat (Airedales, Irish Wolfhound)

Curly coat (Poodle)

Long coat (Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese)

Hairless coat (Mexican Hairless)


  1. Does your dog have an odour






  1. How much would you like to train your dog.

Only teach your dog the basics

Get involved with ongoing training

Compete in Agility Trails


  1. When out and about is your dog

Off the leash

On the leash

Or both


  1. Can you see your dog drooling