Perhaps against better judgment, this past weekend my husband and I got a puppy! Oh, he is so cute! But, don’t be fooled by those sweet little faces. I say “against better judgment” because puppies are hard work. They chew on everything, they have accidents in the house, they steal toys from your other pets, and, they don’t have much in the way of social niceties when it comes to introducing them to their furry family members. Don’t forget the burden all of this may be on your family if you’re a regular visitor to your parents or in-laws or grandparents or friend’s houses.
Puppies are just so darn cute, but unfortunately, they end up in shelters more often than we’d like to think. As sad as it may seem, not being housebroken is at the top of the list for giving pets up to shelters, and puppies are not born housebroken. It takes a lot of training and vigilance to keep a puppy happy and healthy, and part of that is paying attention to their “potty behaviors.” If we’ve learned anything about our puppy, Zeus, so far, it’s what he does right before he’s about to poop. That sounds silly, but really, with our busy schedules, this is only a small part of how we train. Don’t give your puppies an opportunity to fail! Along with this also comes the responsibility of making time for your puppy. As a vet student whose husband is a teacher, my husband and I have schedules that keep us away from home for much of the day, but we have worked out a way to get back to let our puppy outside and get in some quality play time by driving home during lunch or break hours. (I’ll be honest, this is mostly me. Teachers don’t get breaks!)
The other thing to be prepared for is the financial burden of puppies (or pets in general). Puppies require a vaccination schedule that has you in the vet’s office every few weeks for a little while (as compared to healthy adult dogs who may only need a few health checks and annual vaccinations in a year). That can get pricey! And, it should be a financial consideration in case your puppy ever gets sick or doesn’t seem to thrive under your care. Just like children, puppies are more susceptible to certain diseases because they haven’t been exposed to them yet (which is why puppyhood vaccines are incredibly important, especially in multi-dog households, or if your puppy is a little socialite). We love our little Zeus, but I am so glad we considered the different schedules, the finances, the impact on our other pets, and the little whirlwind of fur we would deal with as puppy owners before taking on this new adventure!