New Puppy Checklist: Are You Ready for a Puppy?

Bringing home a new puppy is a big decision. Puppies are major commitments, and you don’t want to rush into owning one. Thousands of families adopt puppies every day because they bring so much joy and love into people’s lives. You may be wondering how to know if a puppy is right for you. Use this new puppy checklist to help you make that judgment.

Have You Done Your Research?

First things first, sit down and do plenty of research before getting a new puppy. You’ll need to know what all is involved. Dogs are high-maintenance pets with lots of everyday physical and emotional needs. Make sure you’ll be able to provide everything your new dog will need. Even if you’ve had a pup before, read up on dog care — veterinarians and animal experts are always making discoveries.

If you’re thinking of buying from a breeder, conduct some research to find one that’s reputable and ethical. See if their prices are reasonable by comparing across several breeders. Remember, shelters are full of dogs who need a home. If you’d prefer to rescue, talk to others who have gone through the process.

Have You Researched Dog Breeds?

You’ll also need to know what type of dog is best for you. Different dog breeds are better suited to different lifestyles. For instance, bulldogs are couch potatoes, perfect for lounging around. If you live in an apartment with no yard, a bulldog might be the right choice. Meanwhile, border collies are high-energy dogs who need a yard to run in or a regular exercise schedule. If you’re big into fitness, a border collie could be the best option for you.

Choose a breed that will be happy with your accommodations and lifestyle. If you’re rescuing a mixed breed dog, find out what you can about the dog’s temperament and individual needs. All dogs are individuals, after all. While breeds tend to have traits in common, every puppy will be different. It’s always a good idea to ask the breeder or rescue volunteer about each puppy’s personality and habits.

Do You Have the Time?

When deciding whether to get a puppy, consider the time commitment. How much room do you have in your schedule? If the answer is, “Not a lot,” you might want to hold off. When you have a puppy, you’ll need time to train, walk and exercise it. You need to be prepared to get up every three to four hours to let it out until your pup is housebroken.

But that’s not all — you’ll also have to introduce your pet to lots of other people and dogs if you hope to raise a friendly, confident companion. Every trip you take with your puppy will require extra planning and preparation. Trips you take without your puppy will require planning, too — you’ll have to coordinate a dog-sitter or a stay in a kennel. A puppy will take up a lot of your time and energy. Be sure you can manage the time commitment before getting a puppy.

Can You Afford a Puppy?

Keep in mind, the arrival of a new puppy comes with a lot of expenses. Many new puppy owners underestimate the amount of money they’ll spend on their companion. Caring for a medium-sized dog with a life expectancy of 13 years can cost around $15,000. With proper budgeting and planning, though, you can still welcome this new member of your family home. When you bring home a puppy, be prepared to invest in all of the following:

  • Dog food: Nutrition is one of the most crucial aspects of pet care and can affect everything about your dog’s health. Depending on the dog food you choose, keeping your puppy well-fed can cost hundreds of dollars per year, if not more.
  • Health: From routine checkups to vaccines, prescriptions and emergencies, maintaining your dog’s health can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Choosing a healthy breed or breed mix can help reduce these expenses to some extent. Even still, every dog will have basic health needs.
  • Grooming: How much you’ll spend on grooming depends on the breed you choose. Some breeds require professional grooming services, while others need little more than occasional brushing and bathing.
  • Toys and treats: It’s fun to shower a puppy with toys and treats — and treats are helpful when it comes to training. But you’ll need to factor this category into your puppy budget. Remember, lots of puppies are happy with simple, inexpensive toys, like tennis balls.
  • Pet insurance: A less fun but necessary expense is pet insurance. Depending on the plan you choose, pet insurance can help cover costs involving pet illness, injury and preventive healthcare. It’s a life raft in an emergency, but it’s also another cost to consider.
  • Training: Professional puppy training can make your life easier in the long run, as a well-trained dog will be happier and easier to manage. Puppy training could pay for itself in some ways, protecting your possessions from a misbehaved pup, so be sure to consider this in your budget.
  • Dog-proofing: You’ll also have to dog-proof your house and yard. That could mean adding a fence, buying baby gates for your doorways or stairways or investing in some throw rugs for potential accidents.
  • Miscellaneous items: Random but necessary items should also go into your budget. Remember the collar, leash, crate, dog-walking services and other miscellaneous items.

Are You Ready for Messes and Chewing?

If you’re wondering how to know if a puppy is right for you, ask yourself how upset you’d be if some of your furniture got ruined. If it would ruin your day, you may need to make adjustments before adopting a dog. Puppies can be destructive! They bite, chew, scratch and have accidents. You can only do so much to puppy-proof your house. While patient training will curb these behaviors, the occasional mess is inevitable, especially while your puppy is young.

Before getting a puppy, make sure you can handle messes. You might also consider putting valuable furniture items or heirlooms in storage or shutting them in a room where your puppy isn’t allowed to go. Investing in dog toys and playing with your puppy often can help unleash destructive energy in productive ways.

Contact Off Leash K9 Training in Maryland

Is a puppy right for you? We hope this essential new puppy checklist helps you answer that question! Choosing to adopt a puppy is a major life decision — puppies require a lot of time, attention and budgeting. But, as any dog owner will tell you, they’re definitely worth it. Dogs are excellent companions, filled with love and excitement.

If you decide to bring home a puppy, consider professional puppy training services. Here at Off Leash K-9 Training, we accept dogs of any age, breed and size. We offer private one-on-one training sessions on obedience, manners and trust-building. After our training, you’ll have the tools you need to better communicate with your puppy, improving both your life and your puppy’s. For compassionate, knowledgeable puppy training in Maryland, contact us at Off Leash K9 Training today


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