Question of the Day: Should I Get a Puppy?
Whew, this one is a doozy. And honestly, the answer could be no. Here’s our mini blog on deciding if you should get a puppy or not, or if you should get a puppy for someone else (child, parent, friend) or not!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Can you afford the to add a puppy and all that comes with it to your budget? This includes a high-quality diet that will keep them healthy. It includes regular vaccines and vet visits, and an emergency fund for sudden illnesses and injuries. It also includes a budget for training. Plan to attend a small group puppy socialization class of some kind in your area before your puppy reaches 6 months, and more formal obedience training once they reach 6 months. If you travel, boarding or alternate care while you’re gone is a consideration!
- Can you handle the potty-training and crate-training phase? Read the books before you decide to get a puppy, so you have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into! Will you be able to get up every couple of hours through the night for the first few weeks? Will you be willing to keep getting up once or twice per night for up to a couple months? Are you up for cleaning up accidents when you miss the puppy’s signals? When the puppy first comes home, will you be able to set a routine of them sleeping in the crate and stick to that, even though they’ll give you every sad puppy face in the book to try to get out of it? Even if they cry, whine or bark?
- Are you willing to commit to socializing your puppy, and do you know what that means? Socializing a puppy is actually a big undertaking and shouldn’t be taken lightly – it’s literally the foundation of every experience and interaction your puppy will have as an adult. Puppies that aren’t properly socialized turn into dogs that are fearful, anxious, fear aggressive, unpredictable, uncontrollable and potentially dangerous. The article “What Do We Mean When We Say Socialize Your Puppy?” is definitely a good reference, but the question for you is, can you provide opportunities for your puppy to meet 100 new people in their first 100 days with you? Can you provide opportunities for them to meet other dogs and puppies that are well socialized, healthy and vaccinated as soon as your puppy is fully vaccinated? Can you get them into new environments every day or every couple days?
- Are you committed to 8-15 years with a dog, depending on the breed you choose? Extra-large breeds have a shorter life span, while smaller dogs have a longer one, but either way, are you committed to having a companion for the next decade? Every dog I’ve ever fostered from a rescue or shelter, or helped train after someone else rescued them, has some kind of emotional trauma to work through. EVERY. ONE. It’s hard for dogs to lose the family that they knew, experience the uncertainty and stress of a shelter or foster home, and maybe meet more than one family before they find someone that understands them (if they ever do). Some dogs don’t recover from that. If you’re not in a place that you can make a 10-year commitment to a dog, there are other options to explore instead of getting a puppy. Become a foster family or become a dog sitter for other families, or volunteer at a shelter walking the dogs.
If you can’t answer a resounding yes to all of these questions, please, please don’t get the puppy. If you can answer yes, and aren’t sure what type of puppy to get, well, that’s a question for another day!
Do you already have the puppy? Contact Us, we can get you headed in the right direction if you’re not already!