A New Puppy - Introduction

Bess The Irish Setter Puppy
 

Thinking about getting a puppy?

Puppies are Hard Work



Whatever your reason for getting a puppy you'll probably be in for a lot more than you bargained for! 

Puppies are hard work, even for people who've had several puppies before.  Like having a new baby your mind may well have blanked out the bits that weren't so nice.  And its even worse than bringing a new baby home - it's more like bringing the worst behaved two year old toddler into the house! 

How your pup will turn out rests largely on how you bring it up although the adult dog will be particularly influenced by breed traits which make the initial choice of pup very impportant. 

Owning a dog brings with it a huge responsibility and should not be entered into on a whim.  There are too many dogs who end up in rescue shelters simply because their owners have not given enough thought as to which dog will best suit their life style.  An adult dog's size and temperament can be determined fairly accurately by research before buying a cute little puppy.  All too many dogs in shelters end up on death row because the puppy owner did not put in the time with early training and an unsocialised, ill mannered adult dog may have too many behaviour problems for anyone to adopt her. 
Why do you want a puppy?  Will this be the first dog you've owned, and want to bring it up yourself?  Of have you had dogs before and want to replace a very large hole left by dearly loved but departed pet?  Or maybe you want a companion for an existing dog. 
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It takes a lot of dedicated training to turn this cute bundle of joy into a sociable well behaved adult dog, and all puppy owners must invest time and patience to make this happen. 

Puppies are known for being destructive - but that's not the right way to look at it.  They have, for example, an overwhelming urge to chew.  It's our job as their owners to teach them what they can chew, and what they cannot.  And it's our fault when they destroy the remote control or a mobile phone.

Some Quick Dos and Don'ts if your thinking of buying a puppy:


1.  DON'T buy a puppy on a whim.  Puppy owning is a long commitment and careful thought needs to be given before bringing this new responsibility into your home.

DO make sure all members of the household are in agreement with the idea of having a dog.  A new puppy will upset your lifestyle, curtail some of your evenings/days out, will cause some destruction and mess in your home/garden however careful you are.  If someone is anti dog then bringing home a puppy will cause friction and arguments.

DO think carefully about the size and personality of a dog which will fit into your household and lifestyle and DO careful research about breeds and their particular traits.  Do you want a dog that doesn't shed hair?  Are you able to cope with the exercise needs of more energetic breeds?

DO research where you will be buying your puppy and make sure that it comes from health tested parents - many breeds have health problems that can be eliminated if dogs carrying particular genes or faults are not bred from.  These problems include hip displasia and hereditary blindness.  If your puppy does not come from properly tested parents you may end up with a lifetime of very large veterinary bills. 

DO understand the difference between proper health testing and breeders assuring you that there has been a 'vet check'. 

DON'T assume that buying a cross breed will give you a healthier dog than a pedigree.  The breeds in the mix may carry hereditary health problems and will not usually have the specific health tests carried out for each of the breeds.

DO be prepared to wait for your perfect puppy. 

DO be aware of where you should buy your puppy, and what you should avoid.



It's up to you! 

Puppies grow up quickly although at times you will feel you are pulling your hair out as your garden gets destroyed or she eats your favourite shoes!  The time and effort you put in during these early stages - right from choosing the breed to bringing your puppy home and those first few months - will shape your companion for hopefully up to 15 years.  Whether your puppy will grow up to be a dog that is a joy to own is completely up to you and the effort you put in from the day you decide to take a pup into your life.


Puppies need to understand the strange ways of humans, and for this training is required so she knows what you want her to do if you ask her to 'sit' or 'stay'.  We need to shape a puppy's behaviour by using rewards and positive reinforcement.  Punishment rarely works with dogs - and can have results that you didn't want. 

Taking time to understand your puppy and researching her various life stages will prepare you for the teenage tantrums and selective deafness (yes, dogs do become teenagers), and until they fully mature at around 18 months to 3 years depending on the breed. 
The key to bringing up a healthy well balanced puppy is understanding a little bit about dog psychology and how they grow and develop.  A puppy chews as it's new teeth are coming through, not because it wants to destroy your house.  A puppy might get hyperactive if it doesn't get the exercise or mental stimulation that it needs.