Bringing home a new Puppy

Impulse pet ownership rarely works out.
Because we are dog lovers, we totally understand that impulse buy of a cute little puppy that you just had to have in the pet store!  Sadly, many of these puppies wind up going from home to home, or worse yet, ending up at a city shelter by the time they are one or two because no one took the time to give them stability or proper training.   Primarily because the people who bought them did it on a whim and did not realize what a huge commitment and undertaking it was to bring a new puppy into your lifestyle.

Puppies are like babies.  Responsible pet ownership involves making a commitment for the life of your pet.  (you wouldn't give up your child if they became inconvenient, would you? or get rid of a child because you were moving?)

The first few weeks is about not sleeping through the night.  Puppies have teeny tiny bladders and can not hold it through the night.  Puppies will need to go out to potty every hour (during the day) and if you pull their water bowl four hours before bedtime, they will still need to go potty several times during the night. 

The first few months is about establishing a consistant housetraining program and feeding times, nap times, poop times, etc . . .  They are teething and needing a lot of exercise, playtime & interaction with humans.  You must be prepared to be home with your new puppy - or have someone there when you can't be.  If you have a job - a puppy is not a wise choice for you unless you can afford to hire a dog trainer or dog walker to handle all of these responsibilities.  Leaving a small puppy home for any longer than two hours is laying the groundwork for other emotional and behavioral problems.  Like children, puppies need boundaries and limits - allowing a puppy to have free roam of your residence is a mistake that you will be blaming the puppy for later (when you should be blaming yourself).

By six months, a puppy should already be well housetrained and on a regular routine.  There are obedience classes you can take to learn the basics of sit, stay, heel and come.  Very important that your dog learns these - this could save your dog's life someday.  They will still need a lot of attention and a lot of playtime and exercise.  You will be able to walk them now that they've had all of their vaccines, so long walks, hikes, as much outdoor time as you can spend with them, the better behaved they will be at home (because they will have had somewhere to place all of their puppy energy).

By one to two years old, depending on the breed, you should see some of that puppy energy begin to disipate.  Some breeds, such as Labradors, seem to have puppy energy for life!  (that is why it is very important to research the breed you are interested in, so you can make the right choice for your lifestyle)

The best plan is to have a plan!
If you want to have a successful experience bringing a new puppy into your lifestyle - the best advice is to plan, plan, plan!

First, research the type of breed that would be best suited for your lifestyle.  Check out this great advice from dog trainer Steven Haynes about  Puppies & Children

Secondly, make a plan for housetraining.  You should have all of the tools set up before the puppy even arrives, and everyone in the household should be on the same page as far as the housetraining routine.  It is a great idea to get the advice of a dog trainer BEFORE you bring your puppy home!  They can walk through your residence, point out where you should set up your crate & potty place, help you decide the plan for when you are gone, and go over a schedule for feeding times, potty times, and also help point out things you will need to do to puppy proof. 

Rarely do dog owners do this and then they find themselves in a situation where the puppy is home, running around the entire residence and peeing everywhere, chewing up laundry, upturning garbage cans and generally on their way to becoming a nightmare for the pet owner.  Again, don't blame your puppy, blame yourself for not having a plan in place. 

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