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3 Things You Should Know Before You Get A Puppy

By Mikki Hogan, guest blogger

Everybody loves puppies. With those adorable faces and irresistible eyes it’s kind of hard not to. But loving a puppy and being ready to take on the responsibility of one are two very different things. The truth is very few of us look beyond those cute lovable eyes and imagine a world with an adult dog. Rather we happily picture a fun filled world with that puppy.


While spending quality time just enjoying your new pet is important there are three areas every new dog owner needs to consider before getting a new puppy. 

1: It’s A Lifetime Commitment
Your new puppy is only going to remain small and cuddly for a very short period of time. Soon after coming home he will start growing and exploring with a confidence you didn’t know existed. Sadly this is about the time many new puppy owners lose their enthusiasm for their new dog and start questioning if they had made the right decision.

When you are staring at that adorable puppy in the face it’s important to consider the following:
• The average life expectancy of large breed dogs is 15 years and small breed up to 20 years
• Even if you are diligent in your preventative care your dog will get sick at least once (likely more) unexpectedly and require a trip to the ER
• Annual vet care (more often during the first 6 months) is vital to a healthy pup
• Your new dog will need to be spayed or neutered
• Every good mannered dog has some level of training so you’re going to want to invest in training

When you think you are ready to bring home that new puppy it’s a good idea to sit down and really think through the lifetime commitment of 15+ years that will follow.

2: You Can Start Off Wrong
A common belief is that a puppy is just that, a puppy and should be protected, coddled and tolerated. But this mindset will cause more harm than good. Consider a puppy’s life before they are separated from mom. They look to mom for guidance, protection and expectations for life. Mom leads by example, protects only when her baby is in danger and corrects them for making mistakes.
Once that puppy leaves their mother they are seeking the next role model and you are the lucky winner. From your first encounter your new puppy is looking to you for that same guidance and discipline he received from mom. If you take advantage of this and put a few techniques in place you’ll be steps ahead in obedience and formal training.

The most important thing to remember is that every interaction is a training opportunity so plan them well. If you don’t want your dog to jump on you when you come in the room start now by preventing the habit from starting simply by placing your hand on his chest and gently applying pressure if he tries to jump. Coupled with a simple command of “no jump” your puppy will soon learn that behavior is not accepted.

You can find a variety of online dog training tips that will assist you with setting limits and enforcing rules from the very first day you bring your puppy home. Just remember that he expects you to set rules and will learn best if you follow through on a daily basis.

3: Rules and Expectations are Easiest Taught During the First Week
Truth be told most of us want nothing more than to dote on our new furry baby endlessly those first few days. But those first few days are perhaps the most crucial in setting limits and preventing unwanted behaviors in the long run.

During the first week your puppy is studying his surroundings and making mental notes on what he is and isn’t allowed to do. To make sure you get the most out of your first week consider the following tips:
• Before you bring your puppy home sit down as a family to discuss the rules. Decide which rooms your puppy will be allowed in, where he will sleep, rules about furniture and play and anything else you can think of.
• Set up a confined area using either a puppy fence or a crate that is centrally located to all the normal family activity.
• Decide on a schedule for meals, play, potty breaks and quiet time. Where possible delegate some of these routines to other family members to lighten the load on any one person.
• Prepare yourself and the rest of the family mentally to ignore all whining during those first few days. If you set up a routine and stick to it, your puppy’s needs of food, attention and potty breaks will be met.

During this first week all your efforts are in preparation for dog training your puppy after he reaches 12 weeks of age. If done properly you’ll set a foundation for fast obedience and a motivation to learn formal commands.

If you approach your decision of bringing home a new puppy with these three tips at the forefront of your decision you’ll never regret it and your puppy will grow to be a loyal and obedient companion.

Mikki Hogan lives in North Carolina with her family and dogs. Active in animal rescue she uses her talents as a dog trainer to prepare dogs for their forever homes and offers resources online for the everyday dog owner.

21 comments to 3 Things You Should Know Before You Get A Puppy

  • Geri

    We just got a puppy from our local rescue–a beagle. So thanks for these tips.

  • Debbie

    this is a great subject to discuss. Thanks for these helpful tips.

  • Rochelle

    Great advice Mikki! While I love puppies, I prefer adopting older dogs. They are much calmer.

  • Toby

    Thanks for stating that your new puppy will need to be spayed/neutered. That is essential.

  • Lisa

    I also like the part where you say you can start off wrong. You can show love and be a good trainer. The best trainers do.

  • Lori

    We just met with a dog trainer, and I’m so glad we did. He really set us on the right track. And we don’t have a dog yet. I’m new to dogs, and my child wants one. So we are reading a lot and hiring a trainer. This is helpful. Thanks.

  • Janice

    Good advice. Like Toby said, I prefer adopting older dogs.

  • Stephanie

    We are also going to use the summer to get a puppy and train him or her. We are going to our local shelter.

  • Naomi

    Good tips. thanks. I love your blog Michele & love how you cover both dogs, and cats, and sometimes other pets and wildlife. Thanks!

  • Jean

    Very helpful advice. And it is important, as you say, to delegate.

  • Karen

    hi… this post 3 Things You Should Know Before You Get A Puppy Pet News and Views was a good read.. really inspire me :).

  • […] that every interaction is a training opportunity so plan … … Read the original here: 3 Things You Should Know Before You Get A Puppy « Pet News … ← Innovative Dog Training – What Can I Educate My Puppy to Do […]

  • Rob

    Great post. Thanks for these tips. They are very helpful; I’m sharing with a friend who just got a new puppy.

  • Tracy

    My son keeps bugging me for a puppy. This is helpful. If we adopt, we will have to study first. It’s a lot of work.

  • Chloe

    Thanks I’m sharing on FB.

  • Ellen

    Puppies are the best. They are so full of energy. Great tips.

  • Andy

    I see a lot of people are thinking about adopting puppies this summer. So, the timing for this article is good. Thanks. When it’s time to adopt (we have 2 dogs that will hopefully be here a long long time), we will probably get an older dog.

  • Luca

    thanks a lot for sharing. We are also contemplating getting a puppy this summer. We will adopt, of course.

  • Charly

    This is excellent advice. I would add one small but significant warning – research the SOURCE of the training tips you employ, the credentials of the trainer giving the advice, especially if you have never trained a dog before. Don’t follow the idea that if it’s on the internet is must be legit. Same goes for popular TV shows. The most important thing to think about – I say this after 40+ years of training dogs and their owners – is “Can we do this at home?” Everything. Can the kids do most of these things, can every family member follow through with consistency? TV dog training is entertainment, no substitute for the real thing. At best it is enlightening and will encourage you to DO IT, but at worst, you can emulate some very dangerous ideas and actually hurt your relationship with your cute little puppy down the road.

  • Thanks for sharing Charly. If I were looking for a dog trainer, I would ask friends or neighbors with well trained dogs. And I would go and watch a group session (if possible) before I commit.–Best, Michele

  • Excellent tips Charly. I appreciate seeing this added on here. Researching your training source is a huge part of success. There are so many methods out there and not all of them are suitable to every family and their goals. The ultimate goal is a dog that will respect and listen to your family, not the trainer that stepped in. So be sure like Charly said that you can do the techniques at home and your children can as well. If that training approach doesn’t match don’t hesitate to research other options!