Puppies. They’re so adorable you can hardly resist them. You envision yourself snuggling with them and playing happily, but the reality of puppy ownership extends far beyond that. Puppies are work, and it isn’t all pleasant. You really need to consider about how to prepare for a puppy before you even think about going to that pet adoption event.
If you’ve raised a puppy before, you probably have it down, but could use a refresher. And if you’ve never had sole responsibility for a puppy, know that you’re in for the rollercoaster ride of your life.
One of the most vital things for a good relationship with your dog is ensuring they are trained right from puppyhood; read more about puppy training here.
But know that before you pick out your adorable little fur muffin, you have some homework to do. Check out the following steps on how to prepare for a puppy, and make sure you check all the boxes. We promise this will make your new best friend experience infinitely more satisfying.
How to Prepare for a Puppy — 5 Steps You Must Take
1. Do your research
Never believe anyone who tells you a puppy is a puppy is a puppy. All breeds are not created equally, and there are hundreds of different breeds to chose from. Each different breed will have different traits, needs, and training requirements. Some puppies are highly recommended for families, while others are something people with small children should avoid.
You should take the time to look at your lifestyle realistically. When are you home? Are there visitors often? What kind of space do you have for the puppy as it grows? Do you have outdoor space for the puppy, or a good place to walk him/her nearby?
Although looking at the puppy version is fun, look at the dog’s size when it is fully grown. Take a measuring tape, and put it to the average height of the breed you want. Move around the house so you can get a better idea of the minimum space your furry friend is going to need.
Almost all breeds of dogs will have some specific needs. Larger dogs tend to have joint issues in their older years, and dogs like a Shar Pei that have lots of cute skin rolls can be prone to troublesome skin conditions, and Pugs and other flat-nosed dogs often present with breathing problems.
Plenty of research is always the way to go when it comes to adding a pet to your home.
2. Make sure everyone is on the same page
Pets are a big responsibility, and they do become part of the family. And if there are multiple family members, everyone will be around the dog for years to come. Feeding, taking the dog for walks, grooming, cleaning up after them. It impacts everyone.
If you live with roommates, a partner, or any type of setup that isn’t just you – everyone needs to be prepared for what having a dog entails (pun intended).
When it comes to everyone taking some amount of responsibility, it should be equal to their age. Young children shouldn’t walk a dog alone, but teens are usually responsible enough to do so. Younger children might like to do things like fill up the water bowl and groom them.
Adults need to be responsible house training and all the pet visits.
3. See that you have the budget for a puppy
The cost of the puppy isn’t the only thing that you will be paying for. Before you even bring your pup home, you’ll need to make sure that you have somewhere for them to sleep, training pads, a crate if you will be using one, food, and toys.
Pet health insurance is a must, and so is money set aside for vaccinations and general care. Your dog may be young and healthy when you bring it home, but something always comes up, and you will be glad your pet is insured.
Plan to keep your dog active
Even the laziest of dog breeds is going to need regular exercise. If you’re more of a long hike, running, and very active person, there are dog breeds that would love to join you on your adventures—and some that won’t.
While they are little, it’s easier to burn the energy off in the house, but as they grow, they’ll need more outside time.
Even on the days when it is cold and you want to stay under the covers, you have to be prepared to get your dog out of the house and go for a walk. Be sure you know which breed will suit your own activity levels best.
It’s not just physical activity that benefits the dogs, though. They need intellectual stimulation as well. Many of them love to solve dog puzzles—and there are many other toys that will help along those lines as well.
Prepare for training
An untrained puppy can cause havoc in the home, and as they grow bigger and don’t have any level of recall or follow commands, it can get worse. Training your puppy means that you help to guide them to follow the right behaviors in the home and outside of it.
With the proper training, you will have safe socialization with both animals and humans—it’s essential for the safety of your dog and others around them. A potty-trained dog is a must, because this ensures you won’t be coming home to a mess.
Another critical point of training is specifying where they can sleep and what is and is not a toy they can play with.
Sometimes dogs might take to chewing shoes and other things because they’re just bored or lack training.
Training should be consistent and enforced daily; puppy school is often a great idea, as long as you maintain the teachings after class too.
If you aren’t consistent with training, puppies tend to try and push boundaries more often, and they will be confused about what is and isn’t good for them.
For more information on how to prepare for a puppy see Cesar Millan Reveals 5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy at Home.
Thinking about bringing an adorable fur baby home? Consider these five vital tips on how to prepare for a puppy before you go any farther.