Thinking about getting a puppy? Make sure you are prepared for the commitment by asking yourself the following questions:
Have I Done My Homework?
Spend lots of time researching different breeds. Talk to dog owners and ask them the pros and cons of their breed. Most people will be perfectly happy to share information with you.
Consider how large the puppy will grow up to be and how big your house or apartment is. The most common reason dogs are surrendered to shelters is a mismatch between the owner’s lifestyle and the dog’s needs. Carefully select the puppy so that she is a good match for you and your family.
There are many benefits to Adopting A Dog From A Rescue
. Most importantly, you are giving a dog a second chance, something that all pets deserve. There are many wonderful dogs in need of a good home. Why not adopt a puppy, or even an older dog? Rescue groups and shelters also can assist you in finding the right kind of puppy for your family's lifestyle, matching dog personality, background and needs with your environment and lifestyle. When it comes to Choosing The Right Dog For Your Family
, adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group is often your best bet.
If you are going to show your dog in the ring or the field, and/or need a registered pure bred, make sure to investigate puppy breeders carefully. There are many unscrupulous “puppy mill” breeders out there. Puppy mills breed dogs solely for money. Often the dogs are kept in unsanitary, unhealthy conditions. The puppies may not be socialized properly and are often weaned from their mother much too soon. This can can create lifelong behavioral problems.
A good breeder will allow you to see where the puppies are raised, meet the dam and the sire and interact with the pups before you take one home. A good breeder will also take the puppy back for any reason whatsoever and should specify this in the contract.
Do I Have Enough Time To Raise A Puppy?
Puppies require an abundant amount of care and attention. They need to eat 3 or 4 times a day for the first 5 months. They must be taken out for potty breaks every two hours. They need to learn puppy manners like how to sit on cue and how to walk on a leash. Puppies also need lots and lots of exercise and playtime. And don’t forget, your puppy will need to visit the vet frequently for inoculations and check ups.
Make sure that you have the patience to handle the energy of a puppy, no matter how long it takes for the dog to mature. Many breeds, like sporting dogs, are slow to mature. This means that while their bodies are growing and they may look like an adult dog, their minds are still very puppy-like. A 10 month old Labrador Retriever may look all grown up at 95 pounds, but still has the energy and playfulness of a pup. Sadly, this is when many dogs are surrendered to shelters.
Do I Want The Responsibility?
Forget about vacations, long weekends away and late nights on the town! You can’t leave your puppy alone for longer than 3 or 4 hours at a time. And even when she’s an adult, a dog is a lifetime commitment. That means 12-15 years of care every single day.
Are You Still Interested?
Great! Puppies are wonderful and challenging and fun. Raising a puppy and creating a life-long bond is one of the best experiences you’ll ever know.
Before you bring your puppy home make sure you have all the puppy supplies you’ll need to get started. Be sure to puppy proof your home by putting away anything the pup might get into (shoes, kids toys, hairbrushes, food, electric cords, etc…)
Getting A Puppy Checklist
A Dog Crate
is a safe place to keep your pup when you’re away and it gives the puppy a place of her own. Dog gates are also good for keeping your pup confined to safe areas.
Above: A portable pet crate like the Petnation Port-A-Crate is a sound investment, as it can be used indoors or out. Plus, it folds up easily for travel.
You’ll need Puppy Pads
until your pup is old enough to “hold it” (generally puppies don’t have bladder and bowel muscle control until 5 months of age).
Dog Collar & Dog Leash
Of course, all dogs need a dependable Dog Collar
. As your puppy grows you’ll need to adjust her collar accordingly. Plan to go through several collars in the first year. A standard 6 foot long (3/4” wide) nylon leash should last a long time. Make sure the hardware on the leash is appropriate for the size of your dog. Don't forget to add a Dog I.D. Tag
for safety, just in case your pet ever gets lost.
Providing your puppy with appropriate Dog Toys
is a great way to exercise and entertain her. It also helps cut down on the puppy claiming your possessions as toys. If you do find your puppy with your good shoes in her mouth, grab a toy and make a trade. Then remind yourself to put your shoes out of the puppies reach. Never punish a dog for doing something that is natural to them.
You’ll need lots of Healthy Dog Treats
for training. Soft training treats that are easily broken into small pieces are a smart choice for puppies.
Above: Opting for Organic Dog Treats such as Full Moon's Natural Organics is a healthy way to reward your new best friend.
Dog Grooming Supplies
Every pup will need a bath, so Dog Grooming Supplies
are a must. Be sure to use a gentle Dog Shampoo
, preferably a puppy shampoo formula. You’ll also need nail clippers and a brush.
Feeding your puppy a high quality diet is the best way to keep her healthy. Choose a natural puppy food that suits your dog's needs. Today's designers offer a wide selection of Designer Dog Bowls
in a variety of styles for any interior decor.
Above: A basic dog bowl, like the Yeti Boomer Stainless Steel Dog Bowl is a great everyday choice.
Once you have decided to adopt a puppy, you may want to read our Tips For New Dog Owners
as well as the Top 3 Mistakes That New Dog Owners Make
. With some guidance and common sense, you will make a new dog feel welcome and loved in your home.