How to Succeed When Adding a Puppy to the Family
As we work our way through National Puppy Month, BPE is here to help you get off on the right foot with your fresh new puppins. Now, if you are just starting to consider adding a puppy to the family, we want you to know up front that this will change your life. Many of you may have even grown up with a dog and getting a dog for your own family may feel like a natural next step in your lives, but owning and caring for another living being is a responsibility that you want to walk into with both eyes open.
Ok! Disclaimer out of the way, you’re getting a new puppy (or you’re on the fence) so how does that differ from adopting an adult?
Puppies Are a Lot Like Adult Dogs
All dogs have to eat, and nutrition plays an enormous role in every dog’s life. We have some great articles on food, like do I need to go grain free?, why you should add mixers to your kibble, and choosing the right dog food. Besides nutrition, puppies need a place to sleep, they need some toys, a collar (or harness) and leash, and food/water dishes. In fact, we have a really great summary on adopting a new dog that covers all the bases. That said, there are some ways puppies are different than adults!
A Puppy is Different Than an Adult
Like human kids, puppies are a blank slate in almost all ways. You’re going to fill that blank slate with patience and love and support. When you do, the rewards are huge!
Also like human kids, puppies are constantly learning so every thing you do affects them. We strongly suggest reading up on canine behavior before you try to be the leader of the pack at home. And no, watching Ceasar Milan doesn’t count.
- Familiarize your puppy with crate training. This is a fantastic tool that really can simplify your life.
- Vaccinations. There are some truly terrible canine diseases out there that are easily spread at the dog park or walking through town. In fact, according to The Spruce Pets, not too long ago, 50% of dogs died from canine distemper or parvovirus before their 1st birthday. Please, talk to your vet and get those vaccinations.
- Socialize your pup. It really is the first step to ensuring a well-behaved adult dog. Socializing simply means meeting and interacting with a wider group of people, pets and environments outside your home.
- Get them used to grooming. Here in the dog wash we see the full gamut of dog personalities and it’s obvious which ones were introduced to grooming early on. However, we give our staff special training to handle dogs of almost any personality type and level of comfort.
- They will chew. Puppies get their adult teeth around the time they turn 6 months old so in reality the highly intense period of chewing isn’t that long, but you can lose a lot of shoes in 6 months. Do you and your pet a favor and provide chew toys to help relieve the pain. A frozen, banana stuffed Kong is an excellent (albeit messy) choice, but in general the colder the better.
Choose the Right Pup
For those of you that are considering a dog, choosing a breed that fits your lifestyle can make a huge difference. You’ll want to consider the full grown size of the breed, required activity level, time required to keep it groomed properly and even gender.
Large dogs need more space, they eat more, they poop more and it’s going to cost more to groom them. Some dogs need a lot more exercise than others and denying them that activity can manifest as destruction of your favorite pair of shoes or renovating the drywall in your hallway. It’s not the dog’s fault! They were born to run!
From personal experience, grooming can be a big one. Sure, that Goldendoodle is going to be the sweetest dog you’ve ever met, and it won’t shed a single hair, but that just means the hair stays on their body and will become matted if you don’t care for it. You’ve been warned!
Are you ready for the work involved in raising a puppy? It is a lot of work, but man, it is also super rewarding.