Maybe your kids begged you incessantly. Maybe you were doing some afternoon shopping and walked past the pet store window and couldn’t resist. Whatever your motive, you have just made an important decision.
You’ve just purchased a new puppy! Congratulations! Becoming a dog owner is one of the most rewarding pleasures in life. Their cute furry faces and wet little noses are most notably melt-worthy. However, each year, thousands upon thousands of pets are abandoned or left at shelters because their owners were not prepared to take on the challenges of pet ownership. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, I have outlined some important steps you can take as a new dog owner to make the transition smooth for both you and Fido.
Research, research, research- Before even considering bringing a new puppy home, it is wise to reasearch different dog breeds. Different breeds have different temperaments. Some are more noisy than others. Can this particular breed fit your lifestyle?
If you are adopting from a shelter, ask plenty of questions about the dog’s past. Get as much information as you can on the pup’s temperment. You don’t want to bring home a cute, furry friend only to find out later that Biscuit is aggressive with your children.
If you are going to go through a breeder, research the breeder! There are a lot of bad breeders out there. (i.e. puppy mills) These breeders back breed their dogs and doing such can cause health problems and developmental issues in growing puppies.
Consider the cost of owning a dog – Vet bills are not cheap! Make sure you can afford bringing your dog to the vet regularly. To ensure your puppy is healthy and gets the most out of life, it is very important they see the vet!
Puppy proof your home – I can’t stress this enough! As having brought home 3 puppies in the last 3 years, I know very well from experience that puppies get into EVERYTHING. Many chair legs have fallen victim to my pooches’ gnawing. When puppies are teething, they will chew on anything in sight. Make sure electrical wires and chords are out of reach. Keep puppies away from shoes and expensive furniture. Close doors to rooms you do not want your pooch going into. Keep an eye on the dog at all times.
Try different training techniques – What works for some may not work for all. Once you’ve found a training ritual that works for both you and your new dog, stick with it! If you bring your dog outside to do business, do it at the same time everyday. If you are crate training, bring the puppy out every 3-4 hours. Puppies will not mess in a place where they are comfortable. However, they can only hold movements for up to 4 hours. When they are older, they can go for longer periods of time. I find using housebreaking pads are very useful and easy in the potty training process.
I strongly advise not purchasing a puppy from a pet store. These puppies are taken away from their litter much sooner than they should be. They do not develop a lot of cognitive behavior, such as bite inhibition. They almost always do not come home with a clean bill of health. If you go this route, make an appointment with a vet to get the pooch checked out.
Breeders are the way to go, but you have to research breeders. Find out if any complaints have been filed. Try to find others who have purchased from that breeder. There are many good breeders out there, but there are also many bad ones.
Another option is adoption. Petfinder.com has plenty of furry friends that need loving homes.
Congratulations and good luck with your new puppy!