If there’s one thing that can bring delight, fun, focus, family togetherness, and a feeling of purpose, it’s bringing a puppy into the family.
People sought out puppies to adopt during the height of the pandemic as a way to make it through quarantine and shut downs with a little spark in their lives. And many more get puppies as holiday gifts for the kids. And it CAN be wonderful!
But for many, once reality sets in, many families realize they weren’t truly prepared and turn those pups in to shelters.
One of our missions at Sit n’ Stay is to help families cope with all the good…and the challenging aspects of owning a puppy.
With a little training and guidance, so many of those pups could have stayed in their new homes.
With support, so many families could have kept their new how-cute!-oh-my-drop-that-sock bundle of joy. They would have discovered the joys of raising a goofy pup to be a well-mannered, loving, valued member of the family.
If thoughts of puppies are dancing in your head, here are a few tips to get your pup off on the right paw.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Puppy
Before you head off to the shelter, the rescue, or the breeder, there are a few things you should consider:
Are you really ready?
Oh the excitement in just thinking about a puppy! You’re a responsible, caring, intelligent adult. And puppies will challenge all of that!
But if you…
Realize that having a puppy is a lot like having a baby (time, attention, effort, joy, frustration…you name it!)
Can feed your young pup 3-4 times a day
Can let the puppy outside immediately after drinking or eating so they can learn to potty outside
Understand that your puppy is a life-long commitment (10-15 YEARS!)
Are prepared to be awakened several times during the night…for a while…
Realize that puppies explore their worlds through their mouths resulting in the mangling of objects in the house
Don’t think of using a crate as “being mean” but rather as a safe place, just like a baby’s crib
Are prepared to teach your children as well as the puppy
Spur of the moment road trips are a thing of the past, that all time away needs to be planned and prepared for
Have the budget needed to keep them healthy and happy (food, vet bills, toys, gear, spaying or neutering costs, training)
Up for the daily exercise having a dog requires
Have introduced your children to dogs and have discussed and outlined ground rules for your children for life with a dog?
Are willing to puppy-proof your home, putting breakables away from tails and paws, locking up toxic foods and chemicals, removing toxic plants, protecting furniture, having appropriate chew toys available when inappropriate ones are tempting
Understand that training isn’t a luxury but a necessity for creating a harmonious, loving relationship
Are ready to be forever changed by the amazing relationship you’re about to create
…then by all means, let’s think about what kind of puppy to get!!
What kind of puppy is best for you and your family?
There are several things to think about before you begin your search for The One.
Adopt or Shop?
There are so many dogs waiting to be adopted by loving families. Puppies are born everyday without anyone to care for them except for rescue fosters or shelter staff. You can make a difference by choosing to adopt rather than to shop at a breeder or pet store.
If you do have your heart set on a particular breed, be sure to investigate the breeder thoroughly. Ask questions, examine the conditions, do your research.
And NEVER buy from a pet store, classified ad, backyard breeder, or flea market. It may be VERY tempting to "rescue" that dog from the situation, but by buying a dog from those unreputable sources you are supporting those methods. It’s a bad idea all the way around.
Match Breed Characteristics with Your Lifestyle
It’s tempting to fall in love with an adorable puppy face, but like Mama always told you, looks aren’t everything.
Are you planning to be an active family or are you homebodies? Do you have the space for a big dog or would a little dog be best? Are you the type that would be annoyed by a “Velcro dog” or do you welcome the opportunity to pet on demand?
A sedentary person who lives in a small apartment would be driven crazy by choosing a high-energy Border Collie! Do your research. Even if you are considering a mixed breed dog, it’s a good idea to research the characteristics of the breeds you’re considering. And don’t just do a Google search. Look for online groups who love their breed and ask questions. Better safe than sorry!
To Shed or Not to Shed?
The Labrador is consistently the most popular breed of dog. But if you cringe at the thought of having a dog and hair bunnies rolling across your floor, think long and hard.
Some breeds require more grooming than others, some create more allergens than others. Beware of claims of some breeds being “hypoallergenic.” All dogs have saliva, and that’s where allergens come from. There are no hypoallergenic dogs.
Being properly prepared for the arrival of your new puppy can be overwhelming! Just like preparing for a baby, there’s a lot to think about. If you’d like to bounce ideas or have questions or concerns, we encourage you to consult a professional. They can allay your fears, give you tips to uplevel your preparedness, and can be a great support system. At Sit n’ Stay, we offer Pre-Puppy Planning with our certified experts. They know dogs but they also know families and they’ll make sure you’re feeling confident. Contact us [HERE] for more information!
Puppy Training Perks
Once you’ve done your homework and are ready to welcome a bouncing bundle of feet and teeth into your home, it’s time to consider getting training.
Just like it is with all relationships, it takes an investment of love, time, energy, and effort to make it a healthy one. You want all important relationships to start off on the right foot, or paw, in order to learn, grow, and understand one another.
Training classes for puppy owners should be much more than “down” and “leave it.” They should help you understand the needs of your puppy, support you as you welcome your new family member, and be customized to meet your unique needs.
And the type of trainer you choose is important. Be sure to always opt for a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. These are experts in the field who are prepared to offer the advice and guidance you need.
Sit n’ Stay has many options for helping people with their puppies. You’ll find a solution for every need. We offer Pre-Puppy Planning, group classes, and private training. Be sure to check out our special Puppy Prep Dog School program where you drop the pup off to us to handle socialization, training, crate and house training, and more! Your pup goes to school while you go to work!
Click below to learn more about Sit n’ Stay’s puppy options.
Happiness is a Warm Puppy
Charles Schultz knew what he was talking about! Yes, it’s a commitment. Yes, it can be challenging. But with the right preparation and support, it can also be one of the greatest joys of your life!