Puppies can be an absolute delight and a wonderful addition to a family. But is your household ready to raise a puppy? A young puppy is a lot of work and care, much like taking care of a newborn baby. They are virtually blank slates and must be taught everything. Your new puppy has probably not been taught much, so the responsibility lies with you to teach your pup the ways of the world. The good news is they don’t stay puppies forever. If you take the time and put in the work to train your puppy properly, you’ll have an amazing, devoted companion for many, many years. We’ll go through what’s involved with raising a new puppy.
Housetraining Your Puppy
Your puppy won’t know that he cannot relieve himself wherever he feels like in your house. So be prepared for the many inevitable accidents on your floors and carpets before it finally clicks in his head where he is allowed to relieve himself. Puppies also have tiny bladders and must go frequently. The majority of your time will be spent watching your puppy carefully to get him outside before he goes to the bathroom, and cleaning up after him when he doesn’t make it outside in time. For the first few weeks after you bring your puppy home, you will feel very much like a doggie doorman. More than anything else, you’ll be constantly taking puppy outside and spending lots of time waiting for him to do his business.
Puppies Chew Everything
Puppies nip and chew by nature. Your pup won’t know that he can’t chew on that expensive new pair of leather shoes or that your pant cuffs aren’t toys. Everything is fair game for a puppy; your furniture, carpets, cupboards, power cords, hands, feet, even walls! Anything that is within reach of a puppy’s mouth is a potential chew toy. Even you. Puppies are used to being with their littermates, who they crawl on, pounce on and yes, chew on. Puppies explore and get to know the world around them with their mouths, just like human babies.
And like human babies, they will go through the equivalent of teething. Chewing helps to relieve the pain in their mouths. The constant chewing can become very frustrating and you’ll have to deal with that until their adult teeth come in. Most puppies will calm down with the constant need to chew by about six months.
Puppies are not only cute bundles of fur, but they are also little fireballs of energy. At times you’ll feel as though the Tasmanian Devil is whirling through your house. Be prepared for a lot of jumping, running and bounding through your house. Also, be prepared for the rolling and crashing into things as your puppy becomes used to the different floor surfaces in your house, as they develop their motor skills and as they learn to control their bodies. This will be particularly evident during their adolescent phase and especially with large breeds as they try to keep control of their rapidly growing bodies. Puppies will go all out, but they also tire quickly and will spend a lot of time sleeping.
Can You Afford a Puppy?
You should also be prepared for the costs of owning a puppy. Food and treats are just the beginning. There are also vet bills for annual check ups and vaccinations, spay or neuter costs, equipment such as leashes and collars, food dishes, bedding, crates, cleaning supplies, grooming tools and toys. If you are not around during the day or if you have special functions that will keep you away from the house all day, you will have to put your puppy into doggie daycare or find someone to look after him. When you travel, if you can’t take puppy with you, you’ll have to arrange to board your pup at a kennel, unless you have someone who is willing to look after him.
If you have a particularly difficult puppy, you may have to enroll him in additional obedience or training classes. All of these expenses add up very quickly. You should also make sure that you have access to reserve funds just in case your puppy becomes seriously ill or has an accident that requires vet care.
Do You Have Time to Train a Puppy?
You must be prepared to put in the time and effort required to train your puppy. Your puppy will not initially know things like sit, stay, and come, so you’ll have to teach him. Your puppy will jump up on you and other people, in excitement. He will jump up on furniture and beds, which you may not want him to do. He will “steal” clothing and other items that he shouldn’t and if not watched carefully, destroy various things around the house. Many owners have left puppy alone for a short period of time only to come home to find items such pillows ripped apart and the stuffing everywhere.
Time and an incredible amount of saint-like patience is required when dealing with a puppy. It’s your job to show your dog how to behave. An untrained dog can be an absolute nightmare. Untrained dogs are frustrating and will cause you to eventually resent the dog and the trouble it causes. A properly trained dog is freedom and wonderful to have around. Putting the effort in to properly train your pup will make your life easier in the long run and allow you to spend quality time with your dog.
Along with proper training, you must take your dog on daily walks. A large backyard to run around in is not sufficient. Dogs are wanderers by nature and you need to allow them to walk in order to fulfill this instinct. A dog that does not have its needs fulfilled will not be well-behaved. You’ll find your dog getting into mischief out of boredom or because he has too much pent up energy. Some breeds need to be walked two or more times per day to burn off all the energy they have. If you don’t have the time to take your dog on a daily walk, don’t get one.
Leaving Your Puppy Alone
A puppy cannot be locked away all day in his crate. If you work during the day and there is no one home or around to let your puppy out, house training will be a big challenge. A young puppy can only hold its bladder for a few hours at most. Not to mention they require feeding at least three times per day and water throughout the day. They also need love, attention, and companionship. Puppies will not do well on their own, especially when transitioning from a situation where they had Mom and litter mates to play with and keep them company. Ideally, you should take off at least a couple of weeks to let your puppy settle into his new home and to grow up a little more.