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Puppy Tales

He’s Cute - But is Your Family Ready to Take on a Pup?

By Camp Bow Wow

 

It’s happened. You innocently walked past the pet store, and there they were – a litter of the cutest little balls of fur you ever did see. There’s nothing more irresistible than a puppy. The waggy tail, the snuggly fur, the wet, pink tongue. But before you succumb to a serious case of puppy love, take a few minutes to consider whether a pup is a good fit for you and your family right now.

 

Puppies take work - that appeal can lose its luster if the little one continually piddles on your prized rug, chews your favorite shoes or whines all night. Walking, housebreaking, training – do you have the time and temperament to devote to the responsibilities – every day? You must be willing to invest the energy required to care for your furry family member, not just when he’s a puppy, but for the next 12-15 years of his life.

What will happen if work or activities keep you away all day and into the evening? Do you travel frequently? You can’t just leave a furry family member (and especially a little one) alone for long periods of time. You’ll need to arrange for a place for puppy to stay or someone to care for him in your absence.

 

The price of a pup is just the beginning. Do you have margin in your budget to pay for the cost of food, bed, toys, treats, collar, leash, license, boarding, grooming, medicine and veterinary bills? Like raising human children, furry family members are an expense. Make sure you consider the cost before committing.

 

While it’s easy to fall in love with a furry face, the American Kennel Club recommends selecting a purebred dog if you are concerned about size, coat, care requirements or temperament. The bonus of a purebred dog is that you will know what the cute puppy will look like and the kind of care he will need when he’s full grown. 

 

Some questions you might ask:

How big will he grow to be?

Is this breed good with children?

Does this type of dog bark a lot?

Does this breed shed?

What type of grooming does it require?

How much exercise does this breed need?

 

If you do decide to plunge into pet parenthood, consider enrolling your newest family member in puppy training. Most pet stores offer an intro class to teach the basics of puppy-raising including housetraining, how to keep him from chewing and practical skills like coming when called. They also provide a great opportunity for pups (and their owners) to socialize. The AKC offers a training program that earns a S.T.A.R. Puppy distinction, which is the natural lead-in to the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen designation. The CGC Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events.

 

Think carefully about all the factors so you can make a wise decision. You can always volunteer at a rescue or shelter if you need a puppy snuggle but aren’t able to commit. Purebred or rescue, there’s still nothing that tugs the heartstrings more than a puppy.

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