So, you want a puppy? Things to think about before you adopt a puppy

 Imli

Everybody loves puppies. Even those who dislike dogs like puppies. If you’ve just decided to get your own furry ball of happiness, welcome to a better, happier life. But think twice and adopt once.

Here are a few things to think of BEFORE you get a puppy:

  • Do I have enough money to spare? Money isn’t everything, but it is the most important question you should be asking yourself. Your set-up costs for bringing a puppy home and the first 3-4 months are going to be more expensive than average maintenance costs later on. You want to make sure that neither you nor your puppy has to survive on ramen noodles during that time. Also, in case of a medical emergency, you want to make sure that your little fur-baby gets the best possible care. On the whole, we spent approximately $600 in the first month for our little pup, Imli, and continue to spend around $250-$300/month 2 months later (she’s 4 months old now), despite using coupons and discounts. That does not include her training classes, but does include her $275 adoption fees.
  • Do I have enough space? Puppies only need a little crate when you’re away, but as they grow up, you want to make sure they have enough space to move around while you’re at work. This question helps you narrow down the dog breed by its size.
  • Do I have enough time and energy?
    • Young puppies need to be fed every few hours and taken out every few hours, this requires flexible working hours.
    • Dogs in general like the same routine every day, so if you work varying shifts, you may want to reconsider your decision.
    • Once they grow up, dogs will want to play, exercise and get attention from you, otherwise they will become moody and destructive. Like you’ve probably read in many guides, a tired dog is a happy dog… can you give them enough time and exercise? This question will help you narrow down the dog breed that suits your lifestyle the best based on activity levels of your future dog, as well as yours. This exercise is best done by everybody, even previous dog owners, as our activity levels change over time and our compatible breed (or even species) does too.
    • Dogs are not for the lazy, or the clean freak. You will have to take them out for a walk in the rain, snow and they will come in dripping wet, and track in lots of dirt with their little paws. And don’t forget, the poop won’t scoop itself!
    • If you are a frequent flier, remember that frequent and/or long separation is hard on your pet. Ensure you have a support system of friends/family who will care for your pet when you’re away so that you keep her kennel stays to a minimum.
  • Do I have enough experience handling dogs? This will help you narrow down your breed by their temperament and also, age. Young pups are more pliable than older dogs, but also need a lot more training to get the basics right.
  • Other factors such as children and other pets in the household are a big factor to consider as well. No matter how good you are with dogs, it might just be a good idea to go with a breed that is known to have a calm, mellow temperament in such cases. It just gives you peace of mind when you are not supervising your kids/pet-kids.

In the end, ask yourself, why do I want a puppy?

  • If you want the playmate you cuddled with after returning from school and in between your play times, remember that being a pet-playmate and pet-parent is very different.
  • If you think this is going to be a good training for having children, think again… a puppy is not a training class.
  • If you want your kids to have a playmate, remember that your puppy will be your pet-child first and then their playmate; you will now have to take care of one more child.

A puppy is a highly intelligent living being that will need love, care and engaging attention for the next 10-15 years of your life. It will be a lot of work, especially until they are 6 months old, and then some.

Things will go wrong. Your expensive shoes and furniture will get chewed on. Your puppy will choose your expensive Persian carpet to have an accident on. Even older dogs will go back and forth with their good habits. Make sure that you are emotionally mature to handle a puppy’s mistakes and tantrums, whether intentional or otherwise. There are no shortcuts to achieving a well-behaved puppy, but it can be achieved with patience and consistent training.

Finally, double check all your thought process before you bring the little ball of cuteness into your life.

And please, adopt.

About me: I’m just another animal lover, who thinks my pets make me a better human being. I have fostered many stray dogs and kittens, but this is my first time as an official pet-mom to a lab/shep pup. I’m still easing into my new role, but there are things that I’m absolutely sure of, like this post. This list of things to consider before adopting may not be exhaustive, but it helped me decide, and I hope it helps you too. Please think clearly before making this commitment, so you give your pet its forever home.

Next up: To buy or to adopt?

How do I pick a puppy from a litter?

Stay tuned!

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About chaitanya

Since the day I realized that making two words rhyme was the first step to poetry (a step I've now thankfully outgrown) I've been writing. I've just been too shy to blog. But What is the Question? is a baby step toward exploring my blogability. I aim to post twice a month and I'll try my very best to not bore you, because I hate boring blogs too! Keep checking back in!

Posted on October 21, 2014, in wags, barks and wiggles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We are thinking of a pet for my son. Considering our hectic lifestyles, I decided a cat might be a better fit for our home than a dog. Your post has confirmed that my decision is the right one.

    Also, do you have similar set of guidelines for adopting a cat?

    Like

    • Nish, I’m glad I could be of help. From my limited experience, I can say that Cats are much lower maintenance, but they also need care, esp medical care. Apart from the lifestyle point, the rest of the points in the post could be used to evaluate your readiness to adopt a cat as well.
      Do remember that some cats are more attached than other cats and won’t do very well when you leave them alone at home for a few days. Also, cats tend to run out and get attacked by other strays, so you do need to keep an eye on them.
      If you live in India, you could do what we did when we were growing up… we adopted a stray puppy (or two)who was free to roam the streets with his buddies, but got food, shelter (in the yard) and medical care from us. Strays can be fiercely loyal, and you’ll be probably saving a life.

      Like

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