Puppies are adorable, but before you bring one home, make sure that you know what you're in for. Even if you like the idea of having a puppy, you may not be prepared for everything that entails. Now might not be the best time for you to get a puppy. Here's how to know if you're ready for a puppy:
- Do you have the time? Puppies take a lot more time than adult dogs. You'll need to train your puppy from the day you bring him home. Dogs also require a serious time commitment throughout their lifetime; you won't be able to leave town for the weekend without finding someone to feed and walk your dog. You cannot leave your dog unattended for a long period of time.
- Who will care for the dog's everyday needs? Getting a new puppy is like bringing home a baby when it comes to the time commitment involved. Is your work or school schedule too busy right now to allow you to spend enough time with the puppy? Who will take him for walks? Who will make sure he has food and water? Who will take the time to play with him and make sure he gets enough exercise?
- Do you have the patience? An untrained puppy will get into a lot of mischief, which can include chewing and ripping up everything in your house. Puppies may pee on your carpet or furniture, jump on the table, and otherwise get themselves into trouble. Do you have the patience to clean up the messes and train your new puppy to behave? You must be willing to do the work before you bring home a puppy. Some dogs bark a lot or chew your furniture, even if they are otherwise well-trained, and you must be willing to accept this.
- Will a new puppy fit into the family? If you already have dogs or other pets, how will they adjust to the change? Are there family members objecting to a new puppy in the house? Do you have young children who may bother the new dog? Might anyone in the household be allergic to dogs? It can be very rewarding to add a new dog to the family, but it must also be done carefully. Some breeds and even individual dogs are better for families or households with other pets.
- Can you afford the necessary care? Not only will you need to train the new puppy, but you will also need to provide for his daily needs. Can you afford food and a dog bed? What about vet bills? These can get expensive when your dog inevitably gets sick. Can you hire a groomer, or do you have the time and experience to do it yourself?
Think twice before bringing home a puppy. Though they are certainly cute, they are also a long-term commitment. Remember that your puppy will grow into a full-grown dog who will need to go for walks and to the vet.