Dogs are truly special. There are no other animals on earth like them. They are loving, loyal, and just plain happy pretty much all the time.
If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, there are 10 things you should know to help you prepare for the challenges and demands ahead.
This article will help you wrap your head around the full scope of what raising a puppy takes. Do you have the time, commitment, and love to add a puppy to your life? Read on to find out!
1) CRATE TRAINING IS A MUST (AND CHALLENGING)
Prior to having a permanent home, puppies spend their days snuggling with their moms and littermates, which provides them with warmth and comfort. When a puppy goes home with his new pet parent, however, he’ll need to adjust to being alone at times. This is where crate training comes in. By training a puppy to spend time in his crate, it will be easier for him to accept trips to the vet. Not to mention that if a disaster strikes, such as a fire or hurricane, you won’t want to waste time wrestling your dog into a crate he’s unfamiliar with.
Tip → At first, a new puppy will whine when he is left alone in his crate to sleep at night. But there are many things you can do to help him feel cozy. Drape a blanket over the crate to create a “den” environment, feed the puppy meals or treats in the crate, and place a worn tee-shirt with your scent on it inside the crate.
2) PUPPIES FREQUENTLY PEE AT NIGHT
Generally, puppies need to relieve themselves every two to three hours. But some puppies feel the urge to pee every 15 minutes! And the urgency tends to strike them at night, which is why you need to know about, and be prepared for, taking multiple middle-of-the-night “bathroom” trips outside. But don’t worry. This is only a phase. Eventually, your puppy will gain full control over his bladder and be able to go for long stretches without feeling the urge to pee.
3) PUPPIES SLEEP A LOT
Puppies sleep roughly 18 – 20 hours a day! Emphasis on day. Wouldn’t it be great if your puppy could sleep soundlessly throughout the night instead of waking you up to go pee every fifteen minutes? Ah, sweet irony. The fact of the matter is that the younger the puppy, the more sleep he’ll need, so don’t be alarmed if your brand-new pup passes out after an energetic play session. This is completely normal, and before long you’ll start to really enjoy the moments of peace.
4) STAY CONSISTENT TO HOUSEBREAK A PUPPY
Keeping a puppy on a consistent schedule is the key to successful housebreaking. Plus, in the long run, dogs love routine. If you’re considering getting a puppy, you’ll need to ask yourself if you can commit to remaining consistent with your daily schedule and keeping diligent when potty training your puppy. New puppy parents who stay regimented with their puppies in this regard end up enjoying the company of obedient, well-trained dogs for life. On the other hand, those who don’t, but rather skimp on consistency often wind up with puppy pee in the house and puppies that turn into unruly dogs.
Tip → Don’t wait for your puppy to show signs that he’s literally about to pee on the floor before hustling him outside. Instead, get in the habit of taking him outside every few hours and stating a command like “do your business” or “go pee.” Even if your puppy doesn’t pee at that moment, he will start to trust that there are frequent opportunities to pee in the right place, i.e. outside, and he’ll learn to “hold it.” Remember to praise your puppy when he pees during those outside trips!
5) PUPPY TEETHING IS REAL & PAINFUL
If you’ve never heard of puppy teething, you’re in for a real surprise. Just like humans, puppies have baby teeth that must fall out to make room for their stable, adult teeth. As the puppy’s baby teeth fall out and adult teeth grow in, the puppy could experience a fair amount of pain. Usually, teething is only “uncomfortable” for the puppy, but it will cause him to gnaw on everything in sight, including your fingers. Puppy-proofing your home and stowing away your shoes, bags, and anything else you don’t want your puppy to shred will save you time and aggravation in the long run.
6) SCOLDING DOESN’T WORK WITH PUPPIES
During the learning and training process, it’s important to use positive reinforcement and never scold your puppy. This means rewarding your puppy when he does the right thing, obeys a command, and otherwise exhibits good behavior. If your puppy misbehaves in some way, a simple and stern “no” will do. You want your puppy to associate their bad behavior with the word “no,” but leave it at that. Never yell at your puppy or intimidate him, because this will cause long-term damage, and more bad behavior.
7) MAKE PLENTY OF TIME FOR TLC
They don’t call ‘em “fur babies” fur nothing! Puppies require a great deal of care just like human babies do. The top of the TLC list includes bathing your pup, brushing your pup’s teeth with doggie toothpaste, brushing his fur, cleaning the ears, trimming the nails, and checking his paws to make sure no debris is stuck between the pads. Tender loving care starts with at-home grooming, includes tons of snuggles, and really never ends, but that’s the good news! Your puppy will love bonding with you as you tend to his every need.
8) PUPPIES NEED PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS
Have you ever heard the expression, it’s hot enough to fry an egg? Sometimes, the summertime temperatures get so high that a raw egg will literally cook on asphalt. On days like this, your puppy’s paws could get scorched during a simple walk around the block! Dogs need the appropriate gear and accessories to protect them from the outdoor elements and inclement weather. Puppy and doggy booties are the answer to hot asphalt, and come wintertime, your precious pooch may need a sweater, raincoat, or other insulating coat.
9) MENTAL STIMULATION IS A MUST
It might come as a surprise to you, but puppies need mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise! You might be even more surprised to learn that there are a wide variety of puppy puzzles on the market today! Puppy puzzles make a challenging “game” out of finding a treat, such as Kongs. These rubbery toys have a compartment inside that hides a treat. Your puppy will have to figure out how to pinch the toy open with his teeth in order for the treat to shake loose for him to eat.
10) PUPPYHOOD ONLY LASTS 8 MONTHS
Trust us, the time you have with your new puppy is going to fly by. Before you know it, your fur baby will be adult-sized, so enjoy every moment while it lasts. Prepare to remain consistent with the schedule and steadfast with training for the full 8 months, and the results will speak for themselves. You and your dog will have a deep bond, mutual trust, and excellent communication that you both will be able to count on!
New Puppy Checklist:
- A crate and / or bed
- Food and water bowls
- Special, full-spectrum, nutrient-rich puppy food
- Collar and tag
- Leash or Lead (and harness)
- Car restraint
- Lots of toys
- Puppy pads for toilet training
- Poo bags
- A brush or comb for grooming
- Toothpaste (made for dogs!) and toothbrush
- Dog shampoo
Now that you know what to expect when getting a puppy and what bringing a new puppy home will be like, are you ready to meet the Petland puppies of Kansas City? Cherish every moment and milestone with a puppy breed that’s right for you. By visiting our FAQ, you can learn more about our puppies and the puppy breeders we work with who uphold the highest standards.