For as long as I can remember, I’ve owned dogs, usually more than one at a time. I have had Collies, Border Collies, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, mixed breeds, Labs and German Shepherds. My most recent dog is an American German Shepherd, who is just over a year old now. There are always ups and downs when it comes to bringing home a puppy. Of course, all puppies are adorable, but training them can be another story. Lots of responsibilities come with training a puppy so there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before purchasing one. I’ve derived these questions from my large amount of experience with dogs over the course of my life.
1. Will I have enough time to spend training and caring for the puppy?
A lot goes into training a puppy of any breed. The first and most important question to ask is whether or not you have the time in your schedule to properly care for the puppy and train him/her. House training a dog is one of the most tedious adventures when it comes to a new puppy and if you’re not home a lot or have a busy schedule, a puppy may not be for you. You’ll want to make sure that you have ample time to spend with the dog, not only to train him or her but also to bond.
2. Can you afford a puppy?
Aside from the price of the dog, you’ll want to make sure that you have the resources to buy everything it needs. You have to think of dog food, toys, treats and other incidentals that come with buying a new puppy. I’m talking about things like fencing, leashes, food bowls, collars and dog tags.
3. What breed fits you and your lifestyle?
There are some breeds that require more attention than others. I’ve recently found that my German Shepherd requires a lot more exercise and playtime than the other dog breeds I’ve owned. He’s a pile of energy and he can sometimes be hard to keep up with. However, smaller dog breeds require less attention and training time, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, both of which I’ve previously owned. You’ll need to think about the amount of room you have at your home and the time you’ll be able to spend with the puppy. Use this type of information to narrow down which breed would fit you best. Do your research on the breed before purchasing! This is very important to ensure that you choose the best fit for you and your family. If you have children, research breeds that are good with kids. If you have other dogs, research what dog breeds get along well with other dogs, or any other animal you have in your home.
4. What are the reasons you want a puppy?
There are many reasons to want to purchase a puppy. However, some of those reasons aren’t the right ones. My parents have a neighbor who bought a beautiful, female German Shepherd simply for protection. He leaves it outside on a chain day and night, never stopping to play with her or give her the attention and space she needs. If you’re not interested in buying a dog for companionship, you probably shouldn’t have one. Dogs need attention and love like any other creature and should be given a happy environment. Also, dogs that are neglected and left out on leashes tend to become mean and unruly.
5. Are you prepared to deal with dog-related messes?
Poo and Pee on the floor is inevitable when it comes to buying a puppy. They must be taught. If you’re not prepared for those types of messes, you’re not prepared for a puppy. A lot of dog owners will also find some of their belongings, especially shoes, chewed up from time to time before the dog is properly trained. Since we bought my German Shepherd, he has destroyed nearly every pair of my flip-flops before we were finally able to break him of chewing. When it comes to puppies, there will be messes. Accept it or back out.
Those are five of the most important questions to ask yourself when you’re considering purchasing a new puppy. As a long-time dog owner and lover, I would have to say that there are few things better after a hard day than coming home to a happy greeting from a dog that will love you unconditionally. Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility, but it also comes with a lot of satisfaction as well – if you’re ready.