There’s nothing more fun than a new puppy… for the first few days. And then reality sets in that your new puppy has some flaws (at least according to human standards). He poops on the floor, cries at night, barks, chews on the furniture, and steals your favorite shoes. In short, he’s a monster.
Okay, maybe he’s not as bad as that. But puppies are a lot of work. Parents who are considering adding a new puppy this Christmas would be wise to ask themselves a few questions before placing a little bundle of fur under the tree:
- Am I ready for the expense of having a puppy? From the cost of a new pair of heels to the required veterinary care, even the healthiest of pups can cost a mint the first year. And they continue to cost a lot, usually for over a decade.
- Am I ready to take care of a puppy? Think the kids will feed and water the dog, train the dog, and walk the dog? Think again. By the time most kids are responsible enough to care for a dog they are too busy to be bothered. Parents tend to end up the primary caregivers, or at the very least, they end up following the children around making sure they have provided for Pup.
- Am I ready to make sure my puppy receives adequate socialization? A healthy puppy requires more than food and water. He needs to be socialized before he is 12 weeks old in order to be emotionally healthy.
- Am I ready to entertain the puppy? A bored puppy is a force of destruction. He will spend a lot of time exploring his environment. If you don’t find ways to entertain him you will find that he entertains himself in ways you may regret.
- Am I ready to make a lifetime commitment to this puppy? He’s going to get big, and then he’s going to get old. If you cannot be there for him when he is geriatric then please consider getting a hamster.
Be committed and ready before you bring the dog home. If you answered yes to all of these questions, and if you are willing to remain calm in the face of destruction then you may be ready for a puppy. But this is a decision with long-lasting consequences for everyone involved. Christmas is over in a day, but your puppy needs care for decades.