There is just something about a puppy that makes our hearts melt. Even people who don’t like dogs will generally stop and smile when they see a puppy. But getting a puppy should be something you do with your head and not your melting heart.
Often the purchase or adoption of a puppy is a snap decision based on falling in love with that cute tiny dog face. You pick up the puppy, it licks your ear or face, and that’s it: you fall in love and take it home. Then you discover you got something with extremely sharp teeth that has no regard for where it goes to the bathroom and what it chews up. Knowing what you are getting into and thinking it through will ensure that you get a puppy that is right for your life.
Besides impulse, there are various other reasons people choose puppies. Some people get a puppy because they want to do something specific with it, such as a sport or therapy work. Many parents get puppies because their kids just have to have one. Make sure you are getting your puppy for the right reasons, and that you have the time to devote to it. Remember, the puppy will be with you for years—often remaining long after the children who begged for it have left for college.
Quick Tip: Make sure your house, home, and family are ready for a pup
When you are looking at litters of puppies, it’s very easy to want them all. However, it’s better to get only one puppy at a time. Some puppies that grow up with littermates will bond with the littermates more than with their humans. And if you get two puppies at the same time, it can be difficult to devote enough time to both of them. Two puppies are twice the work. If you want a second dog, wait three to five months before you decide to add that next canine family member.
Are You Ready for a New Family Member?
Before you get a puppy, make sure you really want a dog for the long term. Many dogs, including purebreds, end up in animal shelters or on classified lists once they hit 6 to 8 months old. It’s no longer the cute, fluffy thing you fell in love with but is instead an adolescent with adolescent issues. No matter what your children promise you, most parents end up being the ones who care for the puppy
Kids and Puppies
If you have children under the age of 10, you must be prepared to always supervise interactions between the child and puppy. Many dog bites to children happen when the child and puppy are left unsupervised. Children may trap a puppy in a corner or pull its tail. This could cause the puppy to be afraid of children, or worse, to become aggressive or start growling at children. Don’t allow young children to pick puppies up and carry them around.
Keep Your Puppy Indoors
Dogs are social creatures. They need a lot of time with family members. Do not get a puppy if she can’t be a part of your family. Dogs left outside all of the time, especially dogs that are tied up, may have more behavioral issues and be more likely to bite than dogs that live with their humans. Most outdoor dogs spend their time at the back door wanting in. Or they become bored and dig up the yard or become escape artists. Your dog needs to be primarily a house pet.
Size and Breed Don’t choose a dog based on size alone
Many people who have apartments or small homes choose a small breed, thinking it won’t need much space. But many terrier breeds need room to run, as they were originally bred to hunt. Some of the giant breeds such as the Irish Wolfhound don’t require a lot of exercise, especially once they’re past the puppy stage.
Consider the Cost Think about what it will cost
to take care of your pet. At the bare minimum, your dog will require a yearly visit to the veterinarian. Your puppy will need food, a collar and leash, bedding, a crate, toys, and things to chew on. Some breeds such as English Bulldogs are also prone to serious health issues. Even a mixed-breed dog could have health issues that may not show up until the dog is older. The bottom line is your pet will cost money, and nothing is more devastating than to have to relinquish a beloved companion due to the inability to pay for treatment for a serious medical issue.