Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Before You Get Your Puppy...

Here come the holidays! For you humans, I guess it seems like a good time to get or give a puppy as a gift. But puppies aren't gifts, they are living creatures that require a ton of time, patience, and guidance over the long haul, up to 15 years and beyond.

I've got a couple suggestions if you are thinking about adding a puppy or a dog to your family:

1. Don't get your puppy from the internet or from Craig's List. Puppies that are advertised on the internet are probably being bred without much care into their physical or mental health, especially if they are "ready for the holidays". Reputable breeders usually have wait lists for their puppies because they breed responsibly with much care given to temperament and sound health. Beware of any "breeder" selling puppies or dogs online at the holidays.

2. Don't bring home a puppy during the holidays. The holidays can be stressful and emotional enough without bringing a new family member into the mix. Instead, start the process of looking for a puppy or dog as a family after hustle, bustle and emotions of the holidays are over.

3. Don't give a puppy as a "gift" to one family member. Getting a puppy to help your children learn responsibility is not at all fair to the puppy. Adopt a puppy or dog as a family member, not a possession and involve the whole family in caretaking.

4. Don't adopt a puppy on the spur of the moment. Take your time. Determine the size, personality, energy level, and overall characteristics of the dog that match with your family. Humans seem to spend more time investigating the cost of appliances or TVs than investigating or preparing for a puppy.

5. Don't bring home the first puppy you meet. Meet lots of puppies and talk to as many people as you can about different dogs. Think about breed rescues, animal shelters that temperament test and talking to dog trainers about what types of dogs they recommend for your type of family and where to find a reputable breeder. Go to a dog show or to some local dog training events and look at different breeds, talking to the folks that live with them day in and day out. Become a doggy detective in your pursuit of finding your dog. It's so worth the investment of time and energy.
Here's a great way to start the process. Dr. Ian Dunbar and the folks at DogStarDaily are giving away two great books, "Before You Get Your Puppy" and "After You Get Your Puppy" on their website. These books are wonderful guides on selecting the right puppy for your family and what you need to do to give that puppy proper socialization, training, and guidance.

Jenn says that she wishes everyone would read these books before they get a puppy.

Click here and you can download them for FREE.