My Dog & I: Mom! Can we Please Have a Puppy?

And so it begins…and of course, everyone wants a new puppy, what fun!! The kids and a lot of the grownups too. A cute, furry, loveable bundle of amusement and joy. How could you resist? And although we often use the kids as an excuse, we are also responding to our own impulses too. You know once the subject comes up, its only a matter of time, so lets talk…

Disney and the Media in general have a lot to answer for…It’s a setup really. The images of dogs and their owners and their owners’ kids all coexisting in some happy field somewhere, playing Frisbee and fetching endless tennis balls…Your faithful friend waiting patiently at home to greet you with a happy wagging tail and boundless joy. You and your dog, together against the world, travelling partners, work buddies…YES! And the amazing thing is, it can happen. BUT IT DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN.

So I am going to throw in a few helpful hints in order to help you achieve your wildest dog dreams and a couple of warning flags so you don’t step on the landmines along the way.

FIRST: If you are a mother with young kids and a job that takes you out of the house for long periods of time, do you honestly have time or energy to raise a non-human child? Do not kid yourself that you can put your children and small puppy together to amuse each other without ensuing chaos. Young children may, indeed need to connect with nature but raising a puppy in a calm, organized way is not something they are equipped to do. That will be your job and it will take a lot of your precious time. Leaving a small puppy in a confined area, alone for more than three hours or so during the daytime is not appropriate and will give you an over-reactive, unstable dog that you will not like having around.

SECOND: Consider your lifestyle. Honestly. Try to imagine your life with your dog of choice not only during the Honeymoon period but in five years. Choose a dog that will match your energy level and personality. And remember that our lives change often and unexpectedly. The cost of training, grooming and medical care for a little dog, for example can be much greater than a hound and they are usually more fragile.

THIRD: Do your research carefully. Think about where you are getting your puppy and what the credentials of the source are. You may think you are getting a really good deal but the long-term costs can be much greater if you get a puppy of dubious origin. Think about your seller’s motives and although they may not be purely monetary, like a puppy mill or uneducated breeder, there are also some shelters who are motivated to find homes for dogs without necessarily considering the appropriate partnerships. If you are considering a puppy, please make sure you have seen the facility the dog is coming from and if possible, ask for references from other buyers. Making sure that puppies have their first shots and are dewormed will also save you possible heartache in the future.

FOURTH: Don’t act on impulse. Take as much time as you need to prepare yourself and your home for the new guy’s arrival. A little preparation will allow him a calm transition into your lives and if you feel ready, you will be giving off confident vibes which will make your pup feel safe. Try not to smother the little guy during his first days at your house and if you do have kids, insist that they give him space and quiet to adjust.

DO:

Consider calling a trainer or dog professional for advice. Most good trainers will happily give you tips, referrals and information for free and may even have leads about breeds of dogs they think may be appropriate. They will also be able to caution you about possible pitfalls and will of course tell you when to start training and what to train for at what age…

There is really nothing quite so much fun as getting a new puppy but its rather like falling in love and you don’t want to get swept up in the fantasy without carefully thinking about your long-term goals and the commitment you are about to make…

Good luck, call me for free advice and don’t feel too bad about telling the kids they may have to wait a little bit. The best things are worth waiting for…

Your Devils Advocate, Janine. Janine is the owner of GoodLadd Dog Training in Alderson WV. Hashtag #93. September 2017

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