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Who can resist the adorable little balls of fluff, round tummies and breath that endears us to them?

Somewhat like a combination of a 2 year old and a newborn, they are a tremendous investment of time and money, but when raised right, the dividends are wonderful.

There is a lot more than you might think to these little wonders. I can’t encourage you enough to think of owning one as importantly as you would if a human baby were due at your house hold.

The first place to start is around your kitchen table with the whole family. This is where you ask every hard question and pay attention to every red flag. Topics to be covered are:

  • Is everyone in agreement about bringing a new dog home?
  • Is everyone, even the children, willing to pitch in and help care for this dog on a consistent basis?
  • Are there finances in the family budget to cover the expenses and veterinary needs of the dog?
  • How long will the dog be alone each day?
  • Are you willing to spay or neuter if the dog is not going to be used for breeding?

And so on...

It is essential that if your dog will be alone during the day, you are willing to give him a 30 minute walk in the am and pm to drain the nervous energy that builds up from being cooped up for so long, even if he is not crated. Be prepared to do some obedience work and play with him. Your presence in the home only after 5pm and a total of 2 potty trips in the yard before 10pm is not part of the contract you engage in when you buy or adopt a new dog!

If you are going to be gone excessively on a regular basis, a puppy will not do well with this and it will lead to issues that you won’t like. I strongly recommend that you have a friend, relative or Dog Walker come in and check on the pup and play with him for at least 30 minutes. If the dog is older, have someone take him for a midday 30 minute walk at a robust pace.

If you have children, it is a good idea for them to put in at least 5% of their weekly allowance to go towards paying for your dogs needs. When children have a monetary investment involved in a pet, they are more likely to care about it for an extended period of time. It is also a great character building tool for the child. Your child should be involved in the care and feeding of your dog, as well. Mom, do NOT under any circumstances, take over the primary role of care giver to this animal!

I suggest that you avoid taking on a dog that is from the powerful breed category, such as a Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Pit Bull etc. if this is your first dog. While these are all wonderful breeds, they take a special type of management that the first time dog owner generally lacks.

It is essential that you do not purchase a dog that has a more dominant or upbeat energy level than your family as a whole. If you are the curl up in front of the fire place bunch, do not purchase a Husky who needs to run regularly. If you are the active type, do not go for a dog that you have to coax just to get him to move at a minor fast walk. The dog’s energy level should always be slightly lower than yours.

Just a tip on breeders. Choose one who has a clean living environment both for themselves and for the pups. Also, be certain that you can see both of the pup’s parents if they are accessible. For example, if the father is wild eyed and overbearing, look somewhere else. It is very possible that that tendency can be passed genetically to your pup.

If you can avoid having a new puppy shipped to you, do so. Being detached from his mother and liter mates is challenging enough, but having to be in transit for up to 12 - 48 hours makes that even harder on the little guy. Depending on the nature of the pup, it can traumatize them for life. If you live in the same vicinity of the breeder you are purchasing your pup from, go to visit your pup from time to time so he knows you when he is ready to come home.

On the day you go to get your pup, make sure you have the whole day booked out for it. This needs to be a calm experience for everybody, especially him. In transit, bring a towel with the mother and liter mate’s scent on it for the ride home so he has the smell of them in the car. Playing soothing instrumental music can also make pups transition home more comfortable.

If he cries when you put him down on the ground or floor, give him some time to work it out. If you are quick to pick him up and comfort him, you are transmitting weak energy to him (sympathy) and teaching him right off the bat that crying will get him picked up. Pups who walk around more than they are carried, turn out to be more intelligent, easier to raise dogs.

Lastly, when you get your new pup home, confine him to only a small portion of the yard and house. After approx 3 -5 days you can expand that out a bit until he is comfortable with the whole place. Introduce him to your home with you in front of him. If he is allowed to suss out the house, he will claim it for his own and you will have dominance issues with him from day one.

Be prepared to lose a little sleep for the first couple of nights. Keeping him in a crate near your bed is the best way to start. Let him cry it out. He will eventually get used to this, and settle in. Again, if you relent and take him out of the crate and snuggle with him in your bed, you have just lost that match and will be dealing with the consequences for potentially the rest of his life.

I could write volumes on this subject, but I will close with this. A puppy is expected to mind the rules in a pack of dogs from day one. The adult dog’s know how to handle the puppies according to their young age, however, they run a tight ship. In your domesticated “Pack”, you will experience the optimum result with your pup if you do the same.

Good Success to you!

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