If you’re thinking of getting a new puppy make sure you’re well-informed throughout the entire process. Check out these 8 tips for adopting your new family member!
1. Really think about whether you’re ready
Getting a new puppy is exciting. But don’t let that puppy fever short-circuit your higher-reasoning abilities. Examine aspects of your life like how active you are, how often you’ll be at home each day, and how much attention you’ll be able to devote to the puppy. If you’re a coach potato who works long hours, maybe a puppy isn’t for you.
You should also consider your living situation. If you’re on a tenth-floor apartment, the elevator down to bottom can be a race against time when the puppy has to pee.
2. Choose the breed carefully
As tempting as it is, don’t choose a breed based on cuteness. Research the breed’s general health, energy level, and personality before committing.
Dogs bred to run long distances, like herding or sled dogs, will have high energy levels and need to run several miles each day. If they don’t get their proper exercise, they’ll get bored – and destructive.
Brachycephalic dogs, like french bulldogs, pugs, and chihuahuas are cute, but their pushed-in snoots obstruct their airways and cause difficulty breathing. This lowers their tolerance for vigorous exercise and increases their risk of heat stroke. It also makes them snore at night.
3. Consider rescuing
Stop by at your local dog shelter and see if you make a connection! Keep in mind that any puppies at the dog shelter will go quickly. That doesn’t mean that you should adopt impulsively, especially if you haven’t researched the dog’s breed.
In addition, dog shelters tend to have pit bull puppies, but some apartments and areas in the US have policies against them, so check with your landlord and local legislation before adopting!
4. Watch out for puppy mills
Do NOT get your puppy from a pet store. They are most likely sourced from a puppy mill, especially if the seller is willing to just give you the dog and doesn’t evaluate you as a potential owner.
Also be wary of backyard breeders. These folks aren’t necessarily treating their dogs inhumanely, but they don’t really know what they’re doing in terms of genetics. Buying from one of these sellers could mean serious health problems for dog farther down the line.
5. Puppy-proof your home
A good rule of thumb is don’t leave anything you care about on the floor. Get out of the habit of tossing clothes on the floor and put gates around your shoe rack. Any house plants (which may be poisonous to dogs), waste bins, or electrical cords should be moved out of reach.
Put away any nice rugs you have because your dog will pee on the floor. This is the first type of training that takes place when getting a new puppy.
Older generations of dog owners were taught to put the puppy’s snoot in their waste to teach them not to eliminate inside. This is not only a harsh treatment, but also teaches your dog to avoid you when it needs to go, leading to more accidents.
Instead, take your dog outside as soon as you wake up, before you leave the house, before bed, and after all the puppy’s meals. Watch for signals like whining, standing by the door, and attempts at telepathic communication like intently staring at you.
7. Get them spayed and neutered
Whether you’re getting a male or a female dog (I would recommend female, as to avoid awkward dog boners) it is critical to get them fixed. This not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but also lowers your dog’s risk for health issues like uterine infections and breast tumors in females and testicular cancer in males. Puppies are traditionally fixed at around six to nine months of age.
8. Don’t give them a stupid name
This is just my opinion, but too many dog owners give their pets terrible names. Every chocolate lab is named either “Mocha” or “Coco”. I’m not a huge fan of food names, but if you want to name your dog “Pickles” I guess I can’t stop you.