Forget baby boomers, there's been a puppy boom lately! And I'm the lucky one who gets to get my paws on them and turn them into zen dogs. ; ) With all of the puppy love in the air, you might be asking yourself if you're ready to bring a fuzzy bundle of joy into your home. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself (and other members of your family!) to see if it's the right timing.
1. Do you have the time? Puppies take up a tremendous amount of time and dedication. If you're working a 50 hour work week, you're gone from 9 to 5 and you have a busy weekend social calendar, you may want to reconsider. Puppies and dogs need a lot of mental stimulation and socialization to be a good calm dog. If you're puppy is in a crate all day waiting for you to come home, his energy is going to be boiling over like a pot with a lid on it by the time you come home. Also, the potty training process requires that a young puppy is taken outside at least every two hours to give them ample opportunities to go outside in order to avoid an accident. A good rule of thumb is that a puppy can reliably 'hold it' for as many hours as they are old in months. For example, a two month old puppy can be expected to hold it for two hours and a four month old puppy should be able to hold it for four hours. Puppies also require a lot of attention. You have to have the time to keep your eyes on your puppy when he's out and about in your house, otherwise he may sneak off to go to the bathroom or go chew on something he's not supposed to. You also have to have the time to take your dog out for regular exercise, not just a potty spin around the block. Do you have time on the weekends to take your dog to the beach? Do you have time after work to take your dog to the park?
2. Do you live in a place that is dog friendly? If you're renting the first step is to make sure that you're able to have a dog, or be ready to move if you're not allowed to. Well-exercised stimulated dogs can live in apartments and condos without a yard, but having a yard is definitely a bonus for your pup and makes the potty training process a lot easier and quicker.
3. Financially are you ready for a puppy? Puppies can be very, very expensive. Even if you get a rescue puppy, there are a lot of medical costs and puppy supplies that are necessary. Puppies need to be examined by your vet and given 4-6 sets of vaccines in their first few months. Puppies can also get sick or things can happen (knock on wood!) that require veterinary care. If you don't have help from family and friends to take care of your pup while you're away or gone at work all day, you'll also want to thing about hiring a professional dog walker and pet sitter to make sure that your puppy is well taken care of at all times.
4. Is your lifestyle dog-friendly? Are you a person who loves the great outdoors? Do you like walking? Are you bothered by hair and dirt? Do you mind picking up dog poop (ok I said it, but it's true!), Do you enjoy dog sitting for friends? These are a few lifestyle questions that you want to honestly ask yourself. If you enjoy watching tv or reading all day, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't get a dog, but you should definitely make sure you're not signing up for a rambunctious lab puppy or a vizsla or a german short hair pointer. Also, dogs are dirty. Your floors will never be clean and pristine again, but every bit of dog hair and slobber is definitely worth it!
5. Are you committed FOREVER? Boyfriends, friends, girlfriends, furniture, clothes- those can all come and go- but a puppy is forever. Again, ask yourself the tough questions. Are you planning on having kids soon? Does everyone in your family want and love dogs? Are you going to be moving or getting a new job that requires more of your time? Look into the future and remember that you're new best friend is going to be with you every step of the way.
Of course, there's lots and lots more questions to ask yourself before you bring home your puppy, but these are just a few to start with! Life is about timing and sometimes a puppy or dog will find you and want to love you forever. There's nothing better than having a dog in your life, especially when the time is right. If you're ready for a puppy, message me because I would be more than happy to find you the perfect puppy for you!