Is puppy adoption right for you? Who can resist a puppy? After all what's cuter than a puppy? Don't you just want to scoop them up when you see one at the park or on a walk? Me too! There really is nothing more irresistible than a puppy. But they are a baby and will be for their first year. You'll need lots of patience and time.
Puppies are a lot of work. When you adopt a puppy, it's a lifetime commitment. Depending on the breed, your puppy will be with you for eight to 15 years - and it will only be a puppy for a very short time. Puppies are considered fully grown at one year of age.
DO NOT give a puppy to anyone as a gift before making absolutely sure that they are ready and willing to care for one. Oftentimes people give puppies as gifts, particularly at Christmas time, and this often leads to that little puppy ending up at the pound. It is a big responsibility raising a puppy. Who doesn't look at a puppy and think, "Oh, how cute."?
Puppy adoption is serious business; cuteness only goes so far when you're trying to raise a family, work a job, and manage all your other commitments that daily life involves. I can't emphasize enough how difficult it can be to fit raising a puppy into your life.
So, you've made the decision that puppy adoption is right for you and your family. Most vets recommend small breed dogs not leave the mother until they are at least 10 weeks old and large breed dogs should not leave the mother before 8 weeks old. They need the first couple of months with their mom to develop and learn socialization skills. They must be weaned and able to eat puppy food. A good breeder will not let a puppy be adopted until they feel it's ready. Any reputable breeder knows what's best for their particular breed.
After weaning, puppies need to receive a series of vaccines in order to develop immunity on their own. Vaccinations for puppies generally include distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus,rabies, among others. Although you'll probably receive reminders from your vet, it's important that you keep track of your puppy's vaccinations dates and types.
Once you've decided that puppy adoption is the way to go, and you take that little puppy home, you've got a lot of work to do. And you'll need a considerable amount of patience. One of the most tiresome tasks is potty training. They will wake you up in the middle of the night to go outside, that is if they've learned that outside is where they're supposed to go!
Where Will Your Puppy Sleep?
Do you have children? Well then you probably remember those middle of the night feedings. Welcome to puppyhood. These little guys and girls do not normally sleep through the whole night. They may need to go potty or they may just be lonely, being away from their mom and litter mates for the first time. So plan on being awakened by little puppy whimpers. You need to decide before you bring your puppy home where he is going to sleep.
Perhaps you plan on keeping him in a room where you can put newspaper down in case he needs to go potty. Is he going to sleep in your room? In your bed? A little puppy in your bed seems pretty cozy, but what about when they're 50+ pounds? Will you still want them in bed with you? It's a hard habit to break once they get used to sleeping with you.
Perhaps you're thinking about putting him in a crate at night. That's perfectly acceptable. Put him in with a blanket and a favorite toy and he will feel secure and protected. Before you know it, he'll be putting himself to bed at night, either on his own, or by you telling him it's bedtime. Make sure the crate is big enough so he can stand up and turn around. And if you continue to use a crate for your dog, of course, you'll need to buy a bigger one as your puppy grows into adulthood.
Have You Puppy-Proofed Your Home?
Don't let that cute little face fool you. Puppies are mischievous; they like to chew, and they'll chew just about anything; from your couch, to the dining room chair legs, to your favorite shoes, to your your child's stuffed animals. Be prepared. Put away your clothes and shoes, purse, wallet; protect your furniture by covering it, hide your child's toys, and anything else you want to keep from damage. Then be prepared to have missed something and lose it to your puppy's chewing, anyway. It's hard to get through the puppy stage without damage to something you cherish.
When I was a kid, we had two puppies at the same time. One was a Lab and one was part Collie, part St. Bernard. They had big mouths - even as puppies! My parents came home one day to find the linoleum taken up from the laundry room floor - where we thought things were indestructible!
Puppy Adoption then Potty Training!
Just a couple quick rules here. If you don't see your puppy have an "accident" do not punish him. He cannot connect the two things, and will not understand why you are mad at him. Only tell him no when you see him making the mistake and immediately take him outside where he's supposed to go. Always praise your puppy when things go right.
Puppies may spontaneously urinate when excited, sometimes when they greet you after not seeing you for awhile. Do not discipline for this, as it is something they can't control; just clean up and carry on.
Crate training - dogs do not like to potty where they sleep, so using a crate to help house train can be helpful. So, if you are away from home, or busy with something else and can't keep an eye on him, crate him. Be sure you've taken him outside right before you do this so he can relieve himself. When you let him out of the crate, also be sure to carry him outside to go potty.
If you are not using a crate, be sure to have newspaper or pads on the floor where you want puppy to potty. Eventually, these can be removed as he learns that the proper place to go potty is outside. You need to give him lots of opportunities for success by taking him outside frequently. Praise always works well when training.
The ideal time to start dog training should begin as soon as you get your puppy home, between eight and twelve weeks. But remember, you CAN train a dog of any age, so if you adopt an older dog, don't feel you can't do anything to change her behavior. Visit Great Dog Site for reviews for the top 5 online training sites.
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Always use positive reinforcement when training; offer treats and lots of praise. Use a friendly, but firm voice. Be patient. That's the key. Keep the training short - 15 minutes tops, or your dog will get bored and stop paying attention to you. Play with her after training so she associates the training with fun.
If you feel you or your dog need additional help with training, find a good dog trainer. Make sure you check references first so you are seeing someone reputable who knows what they're doing.
Puppy Mills - A Warning about Puppy Adoption
I recommend puppy adoption from a shelter, pound, or other dog adoption agency. You are saving a life, and just as importantly, unless you know that your puppy has come from a reputable breeder, if you buy from a store, you may find yourself unintentionally contributing to animal abuse. Many dogs sold at stores or on the internet are raised in puppy mills. So DON'T buy from a store. Adopt your dog! Rescue a puppy!
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