Before You Buy Your First Puppy

Your kids want a puppy. All your neighbours have dogs. It’s the great “American Dream” (for children, anyway) to have a dog like Lassie. However, if this is your first puppy, there are some things you need to know before you commit to buying a dog.

1. Dogs take time. Puppies take more time

Having a puppy is like having a two-year-old. Until they are trained (see item 2), they require pretty much constant supervision. After they are trained, they still require supervision until they are older. Much older. If you can’t entertain them all day, you may want to consider two dogs, or a cat. Or puppy day care!

2. Puppies need training and so do your children

When I was growing up, we had a dog – for a while. It didn’t work out because my parents didn’t realize that puppies need training. We were a cat family – and you can pretty much ignore cats. Not so with dogs.

You will need several puppy classes and possibly more classes when your puppy is grown. Dogs are not independent, and you need to teach them proper behaviour.

If you have children, they need to take the classes with their puppies so they can learn how to interact with your new pet.

3. Puppies cost money

Ok, this isn’t unreasonable, but you need to be prepared to add your puppy into your budget. You will have many expenses, especially when you first get your new puppy. They need toys, bones, shots, registrations with the state, and don’t forget the food, dog houses, collars, clothes (no really – it’s a big business – you’ll be tempted!) vet bills, and training (see item 2).

Dogs are one of the most expensive pets around. Most puppies are part of the family – and will cost you like part of the family. Don’t go into this venture thinking they’re cheap

4. Puppies grow into dogs

I know that’s obvious – but you need to be sure you know how big your dog will be. If you have young children, your puppy may outweigh them within a year. Do the research so you know how big your cute little puppy will be when he’s a dog.

If your pet is a mixed breed dog, look at the paws. Usually, a puppy will grow into their paws.

5. Dogs need exercise

And people need exercise – so this can actually be an advantage if handled properly. Puppies need room to run and play. They need people to play with, and they need toys to play with. If you lead a very sedentary lifestyle, be sure you pick a dog breed that is low activity.

The larger the dog, the more room and exercise they need. You will probably need to walk your dog several times a week. Be sure and plan that into your schedule now – or you may find your puppy running around the house all day without you.

Owning a dog can be a very rewarding experience – even if this is your first puppy. Your dog will become one of the family and be a faithful companion for life. Be prepared for your new puppy, and it will be a great adventure for both of you.

Norm - 13 Days Old