Should you get a Puppy?
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
So you want to add a furry baby to your family? Are you sure you’ve done your research? If you think you are ready to add a puppy to your life, make sure by asking yourself these questions.
Have you thoroughly researched the breed or breeds that your puppy is? Can you confirm that your lifestyle will support their natural inhibitions and tendencies?
Did you choose the puppy you chose because of their looks, or because they match your lifestyle?
Do you understand the financial commitment for this new family member? (i.e. food, vet bills, supplies, etc.)
Do you understand the time commitment that it takes for puppies? Not just to get them through the puppy stage, but also can you commit to them for up to 17 years?
Is your home puppy and dog proof? If the breed of your puppy needs lots of outdoor space for exercise, are you living in a place suitable for that or do you have an option for exercise?
Once you are able to confidently answer these questions, you should be ready to start thinking through the first few weeks of life with your new puppy.
When it comes to your new pup, it is important that they are developing good habits early on. By the time a puppy has hit 6 months of age, researchers believe puppies have developed fear, and after the 6 month point, it is very hard to train them to overcome that fear. That is why we believe socialization, handling, alone time, and exposure to new sights, sounds, and experiences early on is so important. A book that we have found very helpful for when you decide to get a new puppy is After You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar. The author is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and published writer!
Something great about getting a puppy is that it’s not just exciting for you, but friends and family often want in on the puppy cuddles. After your puppy has had a few days to adjust to their new home and new family, it can be very beneficial to gather friends and family to meet and handle your new baby! The more diverse of a crowd you can introduce, the better. This could mean people with hats, men with beards, small children, loud children, someone on crutches, etc. Exposing them to many different things positively, will only help benefit them in their adulthood to not be fearful of different people.
Once your puppy has had their first couple rounds of shots, it is very important to let them start to familiarize themselves with other dogs. Tall dogs, short dogs, old dogs, loud dogs, as many types and breeds of dogs as possible! Socializing them young is not hard to do, especially since they spent the first weeks of their lives with litter mates. This will help your puppy get used to being around new dogs, which will help if you add another dog to your family, decide to board them overnight or take them to doggie daycare, the park and much more. Dogs are pack creatures by nature, so they love spending time with their friends!
Part of getting your dog used to sensations is handling them frequently. You should be touching sensitive zones on their body to let them know it’s okay. Some of those zones are their feet, face, neck, tail, and ears. This will also help your vet and groomer in the future be able to properly assess these areas without your pup putting up fight or feeling afraid. If you have a puppy that you know will need regular grooming, handling the feet and the ears is so important! Another tip is to purchase an electronic toothbrush and gently brush their coat and feet with it, this will make your pup familiar with grooming so the first time they go to the groomer or get a nail trim, they won’t be frightened by the sound of the clippers or nail trimmer.
The final tip we have for your pup is learning that being alone is okay! It’s so easy early on to just want to constantly cuddle and spend time with your puppy, but they need to learn that they are still safe when they are alone. Whether or not you decide to crate train your new baby, in order to avoid problems down the road, practice leaving them in a safe area by themselves for even just 15 minutes. Eventually they will calm down and go to sleep, and then you can greet them again with a treat. Something to help with this alone time is a crate. A crate provides a consistent safe space that is all theirs. You can also add a stuffed toy or something to chew on, that way they can keep busy if they aren’t falling asleep right away.
Overall we think the experience of raising a puppy is really special! And it can be a very positive and rewarding experience if you have thoroughly researched and prepared for your new family member. These new family members also can be found in many places, and we suggest reaching out to your local rescues or humane societies to see if they have any puppies needing a home that meet your criteria.