IS A PUPPY RIGHT FOR ME?
Many people ask me, when is the best time to get a puppy? That is a really tough question to answer. There is so much to consider. Here are a few questions I ask: Have you ever had a puppy before? Do you have the time to commit to a puppy? Who will care for the puppy? Are you aware of the costs associated with a puppy? Seems like a lot to answer, but let’s give it a try.
Have you ever had a puppy before? If you have not had a puppy before, it’s best to do a few things first, before you go and see or hold a puppy. Trust me, it gets a bit more difficult to be rational once you have that puppy in your arms. Here are a few things I would recommend doing first: Read books about raising a puppy. Some of my favorite are by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) and Debbie Martin, RVT, Behavior and Kenneth M. Martin, DVM. There are so many books out there about puppies, but its best to read those by experts in the field like McConnell, Martin and Veterinarian, Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS CAAB. Links to find each of their books on puppies are provided below. The next step is to set up an appointment with a Veterinarian that has been recommended to you by a friend or family member. He or She will be happy to have you visit the office, meet the staff, and will make time to speak with you about health exams and vaccinations that puppies need.
Do you have the time to commit to a puppy? Puppies require a great deal of attention. They need to be housetrained and socialized. When a puppy first gets to their new home, they will be curious. It’s important that in those first weeks that your puppy is in your sight at all times so you can make sure they are safe. You will want to set up a schedule for housetraining, another for socializing and still another for crate-training. In the early stages, your puppy should be taken outside on leash to potty at least once an hour. It’s important to keep a routine. This means someone needs to be at home with the puppy or a pet-sitter will need to make frequent visits. It’s important that your puppy get daily exercise and play time. The first few nights in your home may be difficult for your puppy and you. Don’t be surprised if you lose some sleep that first week or so. But it will get better. Everyone, including your puppy will soon adjust.
Who will care for the puppy? It takes a village to raise a puppy, or at least at times it may feel that way. Here is where your pre-planning is needed the most. Do you have support from other family members at home? Do you already have a reputable pet-sitter that can come and meet your puppy and fill in for you when you cannot be at home? Have you gotten references from family, friends or Veterinarian for a qualified pet-sitter? Are you able to use some vacation time to spend that first week at home with your puppy? Pre-planning for a puppy is important.
Are you aware of the costs associated with a puppy? Depending on whether you have gotten your puppy through a rescue group or a reputable breeder, there will be costs involved prior to bringing your new puppy home. There is also the cost of a crate, food and feeding/water bowls, and toys, toys, toys! All are important for your puppy. Vaccinations and health exam costs should be a considered as well.
The critical time for socialization of your puppy is between week 8 and week 16. Socialization is the number 1 necessity for your puppy. Puppy Kindergarten will provide an opportunity for appropriate play with other puppies. Your puppy will also be introduced to other friendly people and experience new environments. And for new puppy parents, it is fun and a time to discuss any issues you may be struggling with at home.
I hope this information is helpful and does not prevent you from experiencing the joy of having a puppy to raise and love. The hard work in year one is worth it. You will have a well-socialized dog that you can take for walks in the park and a best buddy to greet you each and every day with unconditional love. And one last thing, have fun with your puppy!!
Please reach out to me if I can help you. I offer Best Beginnings Puppy Kindergarten on Saturday mornings from 8:00 – 9:00 AM at KIVS in Red Hill. Puppies between the ages of 8 weeks and 19 weeks are invited to join in the fun.
McConnell, Patricia & Scidmore, Brenda – The Puppy Primer (ISBN #1-891767-13-5) can be purchased at: www.patriciamcconnell.com
Yin, Sophia – Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy off Right
(ISBN #978-0-9641518-6-4) www.sophiayin.com
Martin, Debbie & Kenneth – Puppy Start Right – Foundation Training for the Companion Dog
(ISBN-10 #1-890948-44-6) can be purchased at: www.clickertraining.com
Your Best Buddy Dog Training, 267-221-6532, firstname.lastname@example.org