Falling in love with a puppy is easy. Raising one though needs thoughtful, careful consideration.
How can anyone resist the doe-eyed puppy with its brand new wet nose, soft paws, shiny coat and an abundance of feel-good hormones emanating from their adorable presence is beyond me. But it would be wise to carefully consider many aspects of your current situation to evaluate if you should get a dog.
Puppies should come with a tag with the all too familiar cliche warning, “dogs are for life and not just for Christmas”. Because something about their presence makes us lovesick that we sometimes forgo all logical reasoning and tell ourselves, “Who doesn’t want to wake up to this cutie. Surely, it couldn’t be that hard?” But the reality is, raising a puppy is hard work. Hard work is full of rewards if you prepare yourself for all the challenges of this endeavour.
5 SIMPLE REALITY CHECKS
- YOUR ROUTINE – are you away at work most of the day, or do you work from home? If you share the responsibility with another person, ask the same questions about them and see if you can dedicate time to raising a pup – most important in early routines are housebreaking and exercising the dog.
- YOUR ABODE – do you have outdoor space? Do you live in a building and have easy access to the elevators or stairs to get outside? Do you have enough room for the puppy when it grows to its full size? We endorse crate training, so see if you can accommodate a crate in your home. It has to be the crate size your pup would grow into as an adult.
- YOUR HABITS – are you a clean freak? Puppies are adorable, but they are puppies. Learning to become an obedient proper dog citizen takes time, and the process can be pretty chaotic and messy. Take into consideration if you can live with dog hair on your clothes (an issue with some breeds more than others), some dogs are slobbery, and some dogs are notorious for taking a long time to become toilet trained.
- YOUR MAIN EXPECTATION – are you considering a puppy because you want a dog to sit on your lap and keep you company, or do you want a dog who is active and can do all the outdoor stuff you like to do? You should also take into consideration the size and breed of the dog if you have children.
- YOUR FINANCES – Pet ownership can be a joy, but it’s not without its costs. With vet visits and expensive vet prescriptions, food and grooming supplies to buy regularly, along with the necessary accessories for taking care of a dog indoors or outdoors, those expenses add up. Are you ready to take on this financially responsibility?
Research by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) found that 98% of pet owners underestimated the lifetime costs, with 12% (2.6 million) of dog owners putting it at £500 when the true cost is between £21,000 and £33,000 depending on size and breed. With dogs generally living for 10-13 years, that adds up to £2,000 or more a year.-The Guardian Pws for Thought
It would be so easy to say that raising a puppy is a wonderfully challenging experience, and I think anyone who takes the challenge will be the better for it. However, the reality is many pups are given up to shelters because the owners couldn’t handle the work for one reason or another (not judging). And when this happens, it can be an unfortunate, disappointing event for the dog, the owner and most especially if there are children involved.
Please give yourself time to digest all the simple reality checks above. If your heart still says “go for it”, take the plunge and get ready for a fun adventure your puppy will bring to your life/lives.