PAWS Talk: Holiday Puppy

The Holiday Puppy

‘Tis the season and we all what season that is. No it’s not just the holidays. It is the time of year where we see puppy overload. Many families will bring a new puppy home for the holidays in the hopes to bring love, happiness, and joy to their family. As we move into this special time of year, we want to help guide you when making this decision. As you consider bringing home a new puppy consider these four key items :

1.       DO YOUR RESEARCH

When clients approach us that may be looking to add or already have added a new puppy to their family, we always ask the same three questions: Why did you get this breed? What do you know and understand about the breed? Why do you feel this breed is the best fit for your family and lifestyle? Bringing a new companion home is a family decision, as will training, housebreaking, socializing, and yes even picking up the poop! So, then comes the question(s) of how to make the right decision and what research needs to be done. We have compiled our top five questions that should be answered when making this decision:

-          What is your current lifestyle like? How long the puppy will be crated, do you plan to commit to basic foundation training, do you travel a lot

-          What is your energy level? Coach potato, Workaholic, outdoors man, retired?

-          What is the main purpose for making the addition to the family? Family companion, hiking companion, competitive companion,  working companion

-          Are you prepared for the long term commitment? 6 years, 10 years, 15 years.

-          Have you owned a dog before? (this means you as an individual, the family dog you grew up with does not count!)

2.       KNOW YOUR CURRENT LIFESTYLE

It’s time to get real, and get to know yourself inside and out! Bringing a new puppy home is not a decision that can be made on impulse, no sir, it is a decision that some families spend months determining, while others do this on impulse (more likely than not this sets up for frustration). This means being real with yourself and not this, well I do work 10 hour work days, but I will make it work (make it work AKA- I am not ready for a puppy) or the, a dog will make me become more active (highly unlikely) and then the best ( our kids need a puppy to grow up with (unless your kid is 15+ or truly devoted to being a part of the puppy’s life, they truly do not NEED a puppy, get a rabbit or goldfish instead). As we stated, this is a family decision, a decision that you and all those living with you must agree to and be on board with. Kiddos are great to raise a puppy with, but as we will touch on in our next post, the kiddos are seen as a litter mate and chew toy in 99% of cases. Be prepared to pick up the poop, teach kids boundaries, teach the puppy boundaries, and yes, this means you will be the primary caretaker, pooper scooper, mid night potty break walker, and exercise guru.     

3.       KNOW THE BREED

Once you have determined the best breed, learn all that you can about the breed. We advise reaching out to friends and the community that own this particular breed. Although each puppy has it’s own personality, some behaviors can be breed specific and even breeder/genetic specific. This means conducting interviews to potential breeders you have started to scope out. If you are planning to adopt, this still applies. All too many times, we question why families choose the breed they do. All too many times we see frustration and yes, even anger, because a dog is simply acting as their, well true self- a field lab needs to be hiked and worked, a husky needs constant exercise, an aussie needs a job---we can do this all day. LOL When selecting the proper breed, it must fit your lifestyle, not because it is “cute”. Consider all avenues of the breed or mix you are looking to bring home. The right dog with the right family is a formula for happiness, fulfillment, and success across the board.

4.       SCOPE OUT TRAINING

We have heard many excuses over the years as to why many families wait or sometimes never do foundational training. “I have raised puppies before, they had some behaviors we didn’t like as an adult, but we dealt with it.” “ He/she is just a puppy, they don’t mean to jump or nip.” “I just spent the money to bring the companion home, training is too expensive to start.” Or the best one, “We will wait to see if a behavior happens.” 9 times out of 10 a behavior(s) does happen and by the time it is noticed, it becomes much harder to curb and work with. All of the above are sadly the wrong mindset. Puppies, just as our children, need proper, POSITIVE socialization with great foundations. Our puppies thrive to learn and grow their relationship, be taught basic manners. Do this as they are young puppies will change the lifetime of you and your puppy. So, consider this as you bring your new puppy home, do you not want them to be civil, under control, and essentially a well-mannered companion; we believe that is the goal for everyone! Get out there and scope out some training facilities in your area. Ask to visit the facility, sit in on a class, and do a consult, and yes we can guarantee this means homework…for the ENTIRE family to do to be the most successful. All of these items allow you to determine the best training facility for you and your pup. Many puppies will need at least 12 weeks of training to be on the right track for a strong foundation. This takes us back to the questions on your time, personality, and lifestyle.

So…Did you do your research? Do you know your lifestyle? Have you researched the breed you are considering? Have you thought about training?

At PAWS, we offer assistance when choosing a new companion whether it be a rescue or a puppy. We want you and your family to be set up for the most success, happiest relationship, and most fulfilling experience.

Our next PAWS talk will be  part two of this blog, this will be released early January. Check back soon!