Who can resist a puppy? Puppies are adorable! Just looking at their smiling faces and wagging tails can uplift your spirits! Bringing a new puppy home is one of the greatest joys in life!
Raising a puppy, however, comes with its ups and downs. And caring for a dog long-term is a substantial commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Many people who are considering getting their first puppy become fixated on the delightful cuteness of having a puppy, and they forget to consider all the hard work that comes with taking care of a dog.
A dog will live between 8 and 12 years, which means that it’s no exaggeration to say that your puppy will be your new baby and a new member of your family if you have one. Similar to having a child, your puppy will place demands on your life that can’t be ignored.
Are you ready to become a pet parent?
There are 3 major signs you’re ready for a new puppy. Let’s dive in!
YOU HAVE THE TIME, ENERGY, AND DEDICATION TO TRAIN YOUR PUPPY
In the same way that children aren’t “little adults,” puppies are not dogs…yet. A lot of development occurs within the first 8 weeks of weaning when a puppy is with its mother and litter of siblings, but this is only the beginning.
Generally, puppies of 8 weeks old are delivered to the pet store with their siblings where more development occurs, including mental, physical, and social growth. By the time a puppy arrives at his forever home, he has formed basic awarenesses, but has virtually zero communication skills. He doesn’t know how to get what he wants, and he won’t immediately understand his new pet parent.
Between 1 and 3 months old, the puppy’s quickly developing mental abilities will enable him to be able to grasp the concept of going to the bathroom in one particular spot, but it will be up to his patient and persistent parent to teach him that the one spot he should do his business is outside. In the mind of a puppy, your bedroom closet is as good a place as any.
Puppies are eager to please and smart enough to learn quickly, but you still need to be prepared to be patient, persistent, consistent, and dedicated during the housebreaking and potty training phase. It could be months before your puppy is trustworthy in this sense, and you can’t give up along the way.
Also, there could be additional challenges if, for example, you live alone but don’t work from home. If you’re typically gone for longer than 8 consecutive hours per day, you’re going to need a trusted friend, family member, or professional dog sitter or dog walker to lend you a hand with tending to and training your puppy while you’re not at home. The consequence of leaving your puppy completely unattended day after day is that you will end up with an unruly, disobedient dog who’s hard to live with.
YOU ARE PREPARED TO BE ACTIVE AND PROVIDE YOUR PUPPY WITH EXERCISE
Growing puppies need a substantial amount of exercise. During the first months at your home especially, your new puppy’s development will blossom into full-blown puppyhood. This comes with being energetic and curious about everything. And we mean everything. But this is a good thing!
During this period, a puppy is learning about the world while also learning how to behave. Puppies need to interact with other humans and other dogs, and even other animals, in order to correctly develop. This is referred to as socialization, and taking your new puppy out for regular walks is a huge part of socialization.
Providing your puppy with positive social experiences is critical. By guiding and overseeing your puppy’s interactions, and clearly communicating with your puppy when his behavior is good and also when his behavior is unacceptable, you will shape your puppy into a happy, well-behaved dog.
The socialization period doesn’t last forever. In fact, it more or less “closes” when your puppy reaches 16 weeks. If by that point your puppy has not had much interaction with others or has only had negative experiences, this could psychologically damage him, which will be hard for him to overcome.
For this reason, it’s so important that you are prepared to be active with your puppy. Take him out for walks. Don’t avoid other leashed dogs during the walks. Instead, greet the other dog owner and orchestrate a positive experience between your puppy and the older dog. Even when you go out to exercise with your new puppy as he grows into an adult-age dog, keep the socialization going by allowing your dog to meet, greet, and play with others.
EVERYONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD CAN COMMIT TO YOUR PUPPY
If you live with other people, whether you have a big family, are married without children, live with a significant other, or have roommates, your new puppy will affect everyone in your home. And even more to the point, everyone in your household will affect your puppy.
Unless you live all by yourself, you’ll need to make certain that everyone you live with is on board with you bringing a new puppy home. Frankly, it stands to reason that even if you live alone, you should still reach out to local friends and family to gauge their willingness to help you with your new puppy and be a long term resource in the event that you need a dog sitter.
If you have a family, then it’s a good idea to sit down together to discuss the realities of caring for a dog. Ask your family questions like, which family member will take on what responsibility when it comes to raising the puppy and caring for the dog in the long run? It’s a good idea to work these details out and to be realistic about what everyone is capable of. For example, if your sixteen year old son is the one pushing to get a puppy, have you considered who will primarily care for the dog when your son is attending college on the other side of the country in two years? The more long term planning you can consider, the better.
Even more to the point, it’s a good idea to establish the “house rules” so that everyone is communicating the same, clear message to the puppy when the little fur ball comes home. If you don’t want your dog to spend the next 12 years sitting on the couch, then everyone in your household is going to have to commit to not letting your new puppy hop up there whenever he wants.
The key to properly training a puppy is being consistent, so take the time now to plan out the household “dos and don’ts” in order to ensure your puppy will learn the rules quickly and without confusion.
If all of the above criteria describes you, then the entire team at Petland Parma has great news. Congratulations! You’re ready for a new puppy!
The only question left is where will you get your first puppy? You may opt to adopt a dog from an animal shelter, but it could be challenging to find a puppy since shelter dogs tend to be older. If you’ve set your heart on buying a puppy, you’ll want to go to a reputable pet store who’s known for working with ethical dog breeders.
This is where we come in. Petland Parma has set the bar in quality pet care by working with responsible pet providers and requiring them to uphold the highest standards in their practices.
As part of our dedication to improving pet care standards, we maintain strong relationships with each breeder we work with and take periodic trips to their kennels to ensure that they meet our high standards in caring for puppies. You can learn more about the puppy breeders we work with by checking out Petland cares and visiting the virtual kennels.
If you’re in the Parma OH area, we welcome you to stop by to speak with our staff about which breed would best suit your lifestyle and household. Our mission as an ethical, reputable name within the pet industry is to provide families and people like you with an exciting, hands-on experience that educates you about puppy-rearing.
We care about the long-term health and happiness of our puppies, which is why we go to great lengths to match them with pet parents who are prepared to commit. Book an appointment to speak with our staff, and check out our breeds and available puppies in the meantime.