Ah! A new year is upon us! Everyone is cheerful and bright this time of year. We are ready to leap forward into the new year full of promise and adventure.
Maybe you are considering jumping into that new year by getting a puppy for the holidays? Perhaps you saw a cute pup that needed a home for the holidays on a rescue group Facebook page or you have been surfing the internet for breeders of your favorite breed.
But I have some advice for you today – Stop!
Think about how this puppy will change your life! Puppies are not for the faint of heart. Here is my list of five things to think about before adopting or purchasing a puppy:
Puppies should never be given as unexpected gifts.
As cute as it is, giving children (yes, even teenagers) a puppy as a gift and expecting them to care completely for the puppy, is not a good idea. Children cannot professionally train a puppy and all puppies will need training. Do not get a puppy unless the whole family can agree to help care for it.
If someone is on the fence about getting a new puppy, do not do it.
Everyone in the household should agree this is a good idea. Puppies whine, pee, teethe, and destroy things. No one in your household will be immune to puppy mischief and if someone in the family didn’t want the puppy to begin with, this could cause many household arguments. It isn’t worth it.
Puppies don’t just require food, vetting, and toys.
They also need training. No matter how great you think your new puppy will behave, training isn’t optional. Every puppy will require some training. Can you do this yourself at home or do you need to set aside a budget for professional help?
You can find a certified professional dog trainer through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers to help you and even talk to you about whether or not a puppy is right for your family. Training is a lifetime process and you will need the time and energy to practice at home. Sending your puppy away for a few weeks to be trained by someone else doesn’t mean you are off the hook on practicing.
If you just had a major life event occur, you should wait five to six months before bringing a new addition into your home.
Give yourself time to process the event before bringing in a new puppy. Major life events would include loss of a pet, loss of a family member, just moved, just married, having or just had a baby, caring for a ill or disabled loved one, and many, many more. If any of this has happened to you in the past five or six months, you should really consider if a puppy is the right choice right now.
Remember, it is a puppy!
Bringing a puppy into your home can be life changing. Puppies will teethe on you, have potty mistakes, need training, and chew up personal items. There is no getting around this. You can hire the best trainer in the world and your puppy will still be and act like a puppy. There will be mistakes as your puppy matures and you get used to a new addition in your household.
Despite the challenge puppies can be, they can be amazing additions to your family when placed there thoughtfully! Keep these suggestions in mind as you look for your new puppy and don’t rush the process. Good luck!
Lauren Parks, CPDT-KA
Lauren Parks is originally from Nashville, TN and currently lives in Jackson, MS with her Novice Trick Dog Australian Kelpie, Beretta and her retired agility Corgi mix, Booski. Lauren Parks is Mississippi’s only Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and trains using positive, humane methods. Lauren has been interested in dog training since childhood and has been training dogs for twelve years. She is the owner of Faithfully Yours Dog Training, a dog training business that serves the Jackson Metro area.