Puppies are adorable. When you see one on the street it brightens up your entire day. But adopting one is a large commitment that requires time, patience, money, and space.
Adopting an older dog is one thing and getting a puppy is completely another. They are full of energy and are not yet trained or on a routine - everything is new to them and they are constantly learning and exploring. It is up to puppy parents to get them settled into their new life and ensure they are happy and healthy.
With a little preparation and research, adopting can be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. Here is our list of 5 things every person should consider before adopting a puppy/ younger dog.
Is Your Lifestyle Ready For A Puppy?
This is typically the most important question potential dog owners ask themselves.
While having a social life is still possible once you adopt a puppy, it is important that the puppy is not being left alone for too long. If you’re out of the house between 8-12+ hours a day on average then it may not be the right time to adopt a dog.
If you’re going into work every day it is still possible to own a dog, a routine just becomes more important than ever. Spontaneous plans are harder to say yes to when you get a dog as their needs also need to be considered now.
If you’ve gone remote after the pandemic and spend more time at home, then this could be a wonderful time to get a puppy. You will more easily be able to dedicate time to train and socialize with them. However, if you will be going back into the office in the future it’s important to get your puppy on a routine that closely resembles what it will be like when you return to work full time. This includes such things as the same feeding time, bed time, walks and potential crate training.
Can You Afford A Dog?
It’s not just the initial purchase of a dog that you need to think about. Adopting a dog comes with regular purchases like food, bones, poop bags, toys, training, grooming, and medical costs as well, including vet check-ups, vaccinations, dental care, heart-worm prevention, flea and tick medication, and the list goes on.
This is why Wagmo offers flexible and customizable dog wellness and dog insurance plans. If your puppy is fluffy or light colored, they will require frequent grooming. If you live near a lot of nature or on a farm, they might require flea or tick medication. A wellness plan can help cover these costs as well as offer you peace of mind when it comes to routine vet checks, bloodwork, and fecal exams. We even offer dental cleaning coverage which so many other pet insurance companies, such as nationwide pet insurance, do not.
You never know if your dog will develop a health condition that will require immediate medications, surgery, or frequent visits to the vet. Yet of course, accidents happen, and while we do our best to keep our furry family members as safe as possible, they can still get hurt or sick unexpectedly. Pet insurance covers these unexpected vet bills and emergency costs. The ultimate peace of mind for pet parents.
Create A Housebreaking Plan
New puppy parents can struggle with housebreaking their puppy and getting them to use the potty outside and not on the rug. The good news is that with some minimal training and consistent messaging a puppy can catch on in just a few days.
The most important thing for housebreaking your dog is to choose a method and stick to it. Here are some top tips:
- Take your puppy outside frequently: Immediately after they wake up and after eating and drinking for example. For puppies especially, they’ll also need to go outside after playing / exerting too much energy.
- Pick a bathroom spot: Out in the yard decide when you are going to bring the puppy every time to use the bathroom. This can help remind them what to do.
- Reward them every time: Offering praise or a treat can help - but make sure it's immediately after they’ve finished. Try not waiting until they get back inside the house.
- Remove the water dish 2 hours before bed: This will reduce the likelihood of them needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Puppies have smaller bladders.
Plan For Training
Crate training can be important for a couple of different reasons. Even if you don’t plan on using the crate very often, puppies must be comfortable in their crate or have a designated pet nook that they know is a safe place for them. If your puppy ever needs to stay at the vet overnight and they are not crate trained this could be very traumatic for them. Many puppies and adult dogs also end up finding comfort in their crate as a quiet place to relax, sleep, or chew on their favorite bone.
Of course, It’s super important in the puppy's early life that you don’t let bad behavior slide and crate training can be used as a “time out” place. Biting, jumping, excessive barking, begging for food are very common but need to be discouraged. It is especially important not to reinforce this behavior by laughing because the tiny puppy is so cute. Training a puppy while it’s young is way easier than trying to change their ways once they settle into a routine.
Socialize Your Puppy
Socializing is a key time in many puppies' lives. Teaching your puppy how to interact with other people and other dogs early on helps them adapt to the world around them, reducing stress, anxiety, or territorial and aggressive behaviors.
While this can be hard with covid and different social distance measures, socialization can happen in a variety of ways. Go on lots of walks for different sounds, sights, smells, and experiences. Take them on car rides and bring them with you whenever dogs are permitted.
Adopting An Animal
Adopting a dog to join your family can be such an exciting and rewarding experience. There are so many dogs that are looking for their forever homes. Check out our Pet Adoption 101 blog for the low down and our adoption recommendations.
At the end of the day do your research about the breed of dog, their health and lifestyle requirements. It’s important to research what it takes to keep them healthy and happy in a home or apartment depending on the breed of dog, how much they will grow and their general activity levels. The more prepared you are for a puppy the more enjoyable the experience will be for you as a new pet owner and for the dog enjoying their new forever home.