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8 Things to Consider Before Getting a Puppy

The decision to get a puppy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Caring for a young, curious, and energetic puppy is a huge responsibility. Feeding, sheltering, and potty training your new pooch is really just the beginning.  New puppy parents quickly learn that training, socializing, and entertaining their fur babies is a highly demanding and never-ending process. […]

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The decision to get a puppy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Caring for a young, curious, and energetic puppy is a huge responsibility. Feeding, sheltering, and potty training your new pooch is really just the beginning. 


New puppy parents quickly learn that training, socializing, and entertaining their fur babies is a highly demanding and never-ending process. Even though puppyhood is generally 8 months long. You will have to continue training and socializing your growing dog into their first birthday and beyond. 


In order to help you make an informed decision about whether or not you’re ready to get a puppy. Here are 8 things to consider before you take your first puppy home. 


1) DOES YOUR LEASE ALLOW YOU TO HAVE A DOG? 


You would be surprised with the number of people who accidentally overlook the practical aspects of having a dog. The more fundamental of which is, are you even allowed to have one where you’re living? 


Many rental agreements and tenant leases prohibit dogs. So, if you rent your home, you might want to double check the lease. If your lease prohibits dogs, it might not be the end-all be-all. Ask your landlord if there can be any special exceptions. 


For other leases, you might have to give your landlord a “pet deposit.” And / or prove your puppy is vaccinated. Also, check the fine print on the lease. There could be a fine associated with noise complaints from neighbors about dog barking. It’s best to read everything, understand the pros and cons, and proceed with eyes wide open. 


2) DO YOU REALLY WANT A PUPPY? 


Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, having and caring for a puppy is a huge, time-consuming responsibility. Have you taken a moment to really consider what it will take to raise a puppy? Ask yourself, how will having a new puppy affect or fully change your lifestyle? If you lead a busy social life outside of your home and assume you won’t have to significantly alter your schedule, think again. 


It can be easy to see a puppy, fall in love, and take the little guy home. But we recommend thinking through all the requirements. Sadly, people who have been impulsive like this have ended up having to re-home their puppies. This can be devastating for both of them. Before you get a puppy, assess your lifestyle and commitment. You must be sure that you can care for a dog.


3) DO YOU HAVE THE TIME AND AVAILABILITY FOR A PUPPY? 


When considering if you really want a puppy, we recommend that you be honest with yourself. Will your personal schedule allow for raising a puppy? And how much energy do you really have to dedicate to a puppy? If you’re not prepared to spend all of your free time with your new puppy for about 1 year. Or until your puppy has matured and can be alone for longer periods. Then you should probably hold off on getting a puppy. 


To give you an idea of the time commitment that comes with raising a puppy. Here’s a typical day in the life of a new puppy parent:


  1. Wake up at 5am or 6am to feed your puppy. Take him out to potty and also for a walk. And possibly clean up any messes that he may have made in his crate. Every feeding will need to be followed by brushing your pup’s teeth. 
  2. In the hours between waking up and going to work, you’ll need to get ready while training your puppy to behave. Your puppy will beg for your food. Try to steal something. Pee on at least 2 things of value. Discharge energy by sprinting around, and will begin crying when it’s time for you to leave home. 
  3. While you’re away, you’ll need to keep in touch with whatever friend or family member, or professional dog walker or sitter, has agreed to check in on your puppy. You might have a doggy camera going, which you can monitor throughout the day.
  4. Upon getting home, you’ll need to take your puppy out for a longer walk. He’ll need to go to the bathroom. Play with him. And train him all the while. You’ll have to socialize and train him whenever you both encounter a neighbor, other dogs, and children, etc. 
  5. Feed your puppy again at home, brush his teeth, and deal with the resulting bathroom trips. 
  6. In the evening, spend time training your puppy in basic commands. Teach him the house rules, and somehow manage to cook, and eat your own dinner.
  7. The process of putting your puppy in bed, otherwise known as crate training, can be taxing. This is a full-blown bedtime routine. During crate training your puppy could cry, whine, and otherwise keep you up all night!
  8. Then the next morning, you get to get up at the crack of dawn and do it all over again!

4) DO YOU TRAVEL TOO MUCH TO CARE FOR A DOG? 


This is a critical consideration to make. If you travel quite a bit, then it’s probably best that you don’t get a puppy. We’re not saying that commercial airline pilots shouldn’t have dogs. We’re just saying that it’s important to be realistic with yourself. If your career requires nearly constant travel, then raising a puppy might not be possible. 


But let’s say you travel here and there. How would you know if you travel “too much” to raise a puppy? How do you know that you can care for a puppy when he grows into an adult dog? These aren’t questions we can answer for you. But you should ask yourself if you have friends and family who can help you. Are there highly reliable people in your life who can either stay with your puppy? Or stop by multiple times a day? If not, do you have the financial means to hire a professional dog walker and dog sitter? 


By sitting down and thinking these questions through, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you travel too much to care for a dog.


5) IS YOUR HOME PUPPY-PROOFABLE?


This is sort of a trick question, because every home is puppy proofable. The question is really, are you willing to take the time to puppy proof your home? And if you live with family, children, or roommates, will everyone be onboard in terms of puppy proofing and keeping the home puppy proof until your puppy is fully trained?


Puppy proofing is a lot like baby proofing, except that puppies are capable of getting into way more stuff than babies are. This means that the process of puppy proofing is much more involved than the process of baby proofing. For an in-depth look at what it takes to fully puppy proof your home, check out our article 5 Ways to Puppy Proof Your House & Backyard.  


6) ARE YOU ALLERGIC TO DOGS? 


If you’re allergic to dogs or have children who are, you may have heard the term “hypoallergenic dog breeds” and jumped for joy. But hang on a second, not so fast. The truth of the matter is that there’s no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic breed, which means that if you’re allergic to dogs, you should carefully consider whether or not this will prevent you from having a dog long-term. 


Don’t get us wrong, you could totally get a hypoallergenic breed and be fine. All we’re saying is that you do your research and if possible spend some time with hypoallergenic dog breeds to see if you react. If you’re in the Petland Kansas City area, you’re welcome to come to our location and spend time with our hypoallergenic breeds to see if you feel fine or if you start reacting. 


7) DO THE PEOPLE YOU LIVE WITH ALSO WANT A DOG? 


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. 


8) ARE YOU WILLING TO RESEARCH TO FIND AN ETHICAL BREEDER OR PET STORE? 


Only about 2 – 4% of puppy owners get their puppies from pet stores. This means that most breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores. In fact, pet stores in general are fairly regulated, depending on the state where the pet store is located. More often than not, a pet store will work with specific breeders on a contract basis, which enables the pet store to oversee and monitor the quality of care that the breeder is providing its litters. Pet stores have a vested interest in making sure the litters are being well cared for at the breeders because the pet stores are the ones that “take the heat” and could be sued if they sell sick, diseased puppies.


The tricky thing about the pet industry is that despite the state-issued government regulations that have been passed for the purposes of ensuring animal welfare for puppies, the mistreatment of puppies is still possible, and legal. This is due to more reasons than we can cover in this article, but the main reason is that in the eyes of the law puppies are considered property, commodities, and “goods.” 


All that being said, it’s still your responsibility to make sure that the pet store you end up working with is ethical and only works with responsible, ethical dog breeders. Are you willing to take the time to do this kind of research? 


Here is a list of things the pet store should be transparent about:

  1. An ethical pet store will tell you the dog breeders they work with, providing those breeders’ names and contact information
  2. Ethical pet stores will show you pedigree paperwork that includes the parent dogs’ information, up to the 3rd generation, i.e. the puppy’s great grandparents
  3. An ethical puppy seller will have at least one veterinarian and will be willing to let you know who that vet is and that vet’s veterinary business info
  4. An ethical pet store will provide paperwork showing the vaccinations that the puppy has had, and records of any prior illnesses and treatments that the puppy may have had at the pet store or prior while at the breeding kennels


If you speak with a pet store that will not provide the information above or seems shady about their answers, giving only vague responses that you can’t verify, then it could be a red flag that they work with puppy mills.


Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of this article. We hope that the information has helped you wrap your head around the magnitude of responsibility that’s required to raise and care for a puppy. 

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