Think You Are Ready For A New Puppy? Think Again

Everyone loves puppies. They are cute, bouncy, playful and lots of fun! And did I mention that they’re soooo cuuuute? I have yet to meet a puppy who wasn’t just the most adorable thing ever.  But before you make that commitment based on a hormonal reaction to cuteness, ask yourself if you have what it takes. Are you really ready for a new puppy?

Factors to consider before buying a new puppy

Children in the Family

No matter what breed of puppy you end up deciding on, if you have children – you need to think about the interaction between the child and the puppy. Especially if you have young kids! you will need to keep an eye on them to prevent both, child and puppy, from hurting each other.

You wan to watch out for roughhousing, pulling, biting, and any other potential injuries.

For this reason, many trainers and other dog experts recommend that you avoid toy breeds if you have toddlers at home. This will avoid the risk of the tiny puppy being squeezed, dropped, or stepped on.

Time and Attention

Puppies require a great deal of supervision, interaction, and regular training. These things are important if you want to have a wedl-socialized puppy who will grow up to be a well-behaved dog.

Keep in mind: although it will be a bit easier when they grow up, even adult dogs need love and attention.

Training

Puppies will need to be trained in different areas as they get older. One of the first things will be house training. However, it is highly recommended that you at least provide some sort of basic obedience training for your puppy.

If you have children, it is also a good idea to them participate in training sessions. This will teach them the proper way to interact with the puppy.

Cost

Although you will need to buy certain new puppy supplies, spending does not end when you buy a new puppy. In fact, even if you try to calculate all the costs of raising a puppy there will be unexpected expenses throughout her life.

Some of the expenses include:

  • Food
  • Toys
  • Vet visits
  • Vaccinations
  • Dog training

Be prepared to spend a lot of money over the lifetime of your dog because the costs can really add up.

Size

You need to think about how big your puppy will get when she grows up. To state the obvious, if you get a puppy from a large dog breed, she will grow up to be a large dog.

If you have small children a large dog can be quite intimidating.

To avoid this, be sure to do proper research about different dog breeds before deciding on a particular breed.

Living arrangements

Your puppy may only require a small living area right now. However, there needs may change depending on how large they grow. If you have plans to get a large dog then make sure you will be able to provide a large area for them to live in.

Be sure to consider your available space when deciding to buy a new puppy.

Exercise

Another consideration is that your dog will need exercise. Some dogs require more exercise than others. So consider your activity level when thinking about getting a new puppy.

The important thing is to be honest with yourself and get a dog that suits your lifestyle.

Do a research

Although these may seem like a lot of things to consider when you buy a new puppy, owning a dog can be incredibly rewarding. This is especially true if this is going to be your first puppy. Just make sure to think about it carefully and choose a family dog based on research and careful consideration. Doing so will mean a lifetime of love and joy for both you and your dog.

Bad combination: puppies and small children

What child doesn’t want a puppy? Puppies are cute for a reason – their infant-like features invoke caretaking instincts in all of us. 

However, the reality of raising a puppy with small children is never the idyllic scenario… That kids and their parents imagine. Puppies will nip and bite, there is no way around it. The behavior will decrease as the puppy matures, but only if it is not reinforced. And children who run and scream and cry when puppies nip are lots of fun to playful puppies! Puppies soon learn that nipping makes kids run. And running kids are fun to chase!

Puppies also don’t “know” which toys are theirs and which belong to the children. So if your young children have trouble keeping their toys picked up, then you may be facing a lot of tears. The favorite teddy bears are happily eviscerated.

Puppies do not mature until they are 2 years old. This means that for two years, you will have the equivalent of an additional child in the house. One who doesn’t speak nor doesn’t understand English, and needs significant guidance from you to learn human rules. On the upside, unlike children, you can teach your puppy to enjoy their crate when you go out to dinner at night – no sitter needed! 

Parents should understand that the goal of teaching dogs to “obey” younger children is difficult to achieve, even for the most committed owner. Younger children under the age of 10 can have trouble with the motor skills necessary to teach dogs and puppies new behaviors, not to mention the consistency necessary to prevent or solve problem behaviors. 

If you’re unsure of whether or not your child is ready to take on the role of dog trainer and caretaker, ask yourself if your child is capable of doing the dishes after dinner without assistance. If your answer is “no,” then your child is likely not ready for a significant role in raising your puppy. 

How much work could it really be?

Once the puppy is in your home, they have multiple needs that must be met in the first month, including:

Housetraining/crate training

Responsible breeders start this process, as well.

Management

When you were a baby, your parents did not leave forks lying next to the light sockets and then reprimand you when you electrocuted yourself. Your parents kept you safe by managing your environment. Cribs, playpens, swings, baby gates, and socket covers. All prevented you from experimenting with metal and electricity until you learned not to. 

Managing your puppy’s environment requires the same amount of supervision and prevention. But, here’s the good news: puppies are full-grown at 2-3 years, whereas human babies aren’t fully grown until 18 (at least legally). 

Managing your dog’s environment also requires you to be physically and mentally present. When your dog has access to things that you don’t want chewed up, urinated on or buried. Your dog can do a lot of damage in the same room as you if you aren’t paying attention. If you cannot be both physically and mentally present with your puppy, confine him with a crate, ex-pen or baby gate.

With this being just a general overview of the factors involved in raising a safe, friendly, well-behaved dog, what could possibly go wrong? Considering most of the dogs relinquished to shelters are between 6-18 months of age. It is clear that plenty of things can go wrong when a puppy owner is unprepared. 

Safe socialization

Don’t forget about the adolescent stage

There is a reason that the average age of dogs relinquished to shelters and rescues is between 6 and 18 months of age. A time when the cute, roly-poly puppy has been replaced with a lanky, teenage jumping and chewing machine with 50x the energy level of the average Border Collie. 

Even if you have never had teenage children, you were a teenager at one time. If you don’t remember what you were like back then, ask your parents. That should give you just some idea of what’s in store when your puppy hits adolescence. 

Independence, failure to obey commands that he previously excelled at…and then there’s the chewing. Oh, the chewing. Chewing on furniture, trees, shoes, underwear, your hands and toes, remote controls and anything else within reach. After puppies lose their puppy teeth, all those big, beautiful adult teeth are still settling into the puppy’s jaws, causing teething pain. But now, instead of those cute little needle-like 12 week-old puppy teeth, your adolescent has big dog teeth. The kind that can really do some damage to your antique dresser. 

When frustrated, owners of adolescent puppies are advised to repeat the following, “When you’re 3 years old, you’re going to be a great dog.” Repeat it until your blood pressure drops and you no longer have the urge to become a cat person. 

Conclusion

Raising a puppy is not a beginner’s task. Sure, many people manage to do just fine and raise happy, healthy, well-mannered pets. But the shelters are full of puppies who did not meet the Disney-induced image their new family had in mind. 

If this sounds like more time than you’re ready for, an adult dog (over 3 years) from the local shelter may very well require less training and time and can still give you 10-15 years of companionship. 

In case you really want a wonderful companion who enjoys spending quiet time with you and your family, consider adopting a senior dog!  If your goal is to teach children responsibility through pet ownership, there’s no better lesson than teaching them that adopting a senior dog is far more responsible than giving into the impulse of cute puppy-ness.  

Still want to raise a puppy? Congratulations! You are embarking on a 10-15 year journey that I hope will provide more joy than frustration. Be sure to do your research to avoid common mistakes new puppy adopters/buyers make when choosing their new companion. 

Never buy puppies online or from pet stores… Unless you are prepared to set aside extra time and money for the multitude of health and behavior problems that accompany them.

And please, learn about puppy training from before your puppy comes home. 

Next, you may want to check on how to make a wise decision when choosing a family dog. Or, if the puppy is the dream come true for your child, then read on best dogs for kids.

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