Getting a Puppy – 6 Important Tips


Six Things to Consider Before Bringing Puppy Home

If you’re thinking that you are ready to add a puppy to your family, here are six things you should know before you bring that cuddly little fur-ball through the front door:

getting a puppy

Puppies are work – hard work. Puppies require a good bit of attention, every single day for about the first year.  Once you have a your puppy trained and adjusted, you will have to cater to your dog’s needs for the next 10 to 15 years.  Clearly, getting a puppy is a commitment that should not be taken lightly.

Personality is important. A dog’s personality is the result of two components: genetics and early socialization. If you acquire your new puppy at an early age, you will have control over at least one of these components. If you purchase your puppy from a breeder, you may have control over both components. Make sure you really take the time to consider the type of personality that will best fit in with your existing family (and other animals).

Timing is everything. The most important time in a pup’s life is between the ages of 7 to 18 weeks. This is the very short time frame in a puppy’s life where most of his impressions of the world are formed. What your puppy experiences during this critical learning period will be the foundation of his personality.

If you buy, get the right breeder. The breeder you choose is very important. If you want to purchase a specific breed, keep in mind the phrase “caveat emptor”, or let the buyer beware. Unfortunately, there are more poorly-bred dogs than well-bred ones, so take your time when researching a breeder. A good breeder will ask you as many (or more) questions than you ask the breeder; they will want to know a lot of information about where their puppy is going to live out his or her life. A good breeder will not simply quote you a price for the puppy; they will require a lot of background information from you, as well as a signed contract. Bottom line: a good breeder cares more about the puppy than the money generated from the sale of that puppy.

Consider adoption. Rescuing a puppy from a shelter can be a wonderful experience. If you are choosing a puppy from a litter, pick one that comes to you for attention. If you choose the shyest puppy in the litter, that can be rewarding as well, but be prepared to do some extra work socializing your new puppy.

Puppies require advanced planning. Last but certainly not least, to be a responsible pet parent, you will need to think some items through before you bring puppy home. Below are some things you should plan with the family:

  • Who will take the puppy out every hour to eliminate?
  • How will you communicate to one another whether or not the puppy did eliminate?
  • Who will be responsible for feeding your puppy?
  • What type of food will you feed?
  • What are the “house” rules regarding overall scheduling?
  • Who cleans up if the puppy has an accident?
  • Where will your puppy go if your family takes a vacation?
  • Where will you keep your puppy if you are away at work?
  • How will you get your puppy trained?
  • Puppies should always have plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Who is responsible for that?
Photo:  Courtesy of Soggydan via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Are you thinking of getting a puppy?

Susan Giordano is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and owner of K9U Training. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Susan graduated from Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws Intern Academy, one of the country’s most respected and comprehensive dog trainer programs. Susan believes in doing no harm, emotionally or physically. Dog training should be fun and pain-free for all involved, dogs and humans. To learn more about Susan, please visit