Should I get a puppy right now?
Is a puppy right for me?
Please read on before making your life changing decision...
We all love cute little puppies. We adore them. We all want one, or two or more. Now, there are 9 million dogs in the UK and logically that says that for the most part, bringing a puppy or dog into our homes works out well. However, many many times things go wrong. It's likely that we don't hear of these stories because usually, there's some bad or very difficult news there. That realisation that we just shouldn't have got a puppy right now. But, we can't turn back the clock. And no matter what the outcome, keeping the puppy or rehoming it, we'll be guilt stricken and suffer huge emotional pain when we start to think about how to rectify this life mistake.
Being a behaviourist, I see much more of the difficult situations in life than the times when everything works well. Sadly that means that I see so many situations where the puppy choice has just been wrong. I do my absolute best to help of course, but sometimes, rehoming is the best choice.
Adding a puppy to your family is a serious consideration. We all know this. We all know of the Dogs Trust mantra - "A Dog's for Life, Not just for Christmas".
But, sadly so many people end up with really difficult decisions about whether to keep or rehome their new puppy either after a few weeks or a few months. Please do take care you don't end up in "The Puppy Trap". Please don't join the many many families who end up having to rehome puppies because e.g.: a new job means that there's no time for the dog; or the other dog can't cope; or it can't cope with the new baby. There is of course much that can help each of these situations, but a little bit of extra thought before you dive in can maybe help to reduce the risk of potential emotional and financial turmoil.
To avoid this happening to you, please STOP! and really think hard before going out and spending hard earned cash on that cute ball of fur.
Of course, puppies can revitalise our lives. Perhaps we've been going through a rough patch and we need to have something to care for. But, please just stop for a moment and consider perhaps whether an older rescue dog may be the right decision or perhaps whether there is some other form of support we can look to.
Some thinks to think about:
- Puppies take up alot of time at the start. They sleep for a bit and then need to spend some time with you for toilet training, socialisation, training and company. Of course, many folks take 2 weeks off work and then go back to working full time and all is fine. Perhaps you can afford a puppy sitter or walker to come in when going back to work. But, some puppies just won't cope with being left home alone for 4 hours at a time. Speak with your breeder, call a vet or a local trainer or behaviourist for the best advice on your options for puppies right now. Even reviewing the right type of breed for you will help.
- Old dogs and cats may be really laid back or may become intolerant and snap or lash out at a puppy. Is there space in your house and do you have enough people in the house to be able to manage the family animals well to prevent issues arising?
- If you are settled into a nice retirement lifestyle and have no intention of going for walks, then a puppy just isn't right for you. Puppies need to be taken out for walks, for socialisation, for training. There are plenty oldies looking for homes in the rescue organisations that would be provide great companionship. Of course, if you're looking for some revitalisation and are fit and healthy, then puppies can bring tremendous joy. But please do take care on which breed you get. Some puppies, when older benefit from several hours of exercise each day. Is that right for you?
- If you have a couple of kids who're always getting up to mischief or are even just always running about with lots of friends visiting and playing about boisterously, then please don't get a German Shepherd puppy. They really just don't seem to do well with high energy kids. Yes of course, I'll probably get shot down in flames for this, and sorry for that. I've just seen this go wrong all too often. Kids need your attention. They're going to grow up and potentially lose interest in the puppy. So please just have a thought about whether this is the right time. It may well be. But please don't just dive in there. Please don't suffer from the emotional blackmail that kids can throw at us.
Is a puppy right for me - right now ?
Hopefully these questions will have stirred some thoughts. And, perhaps you've can now be more sure that yes, now, is exactly the right time for a puppy. If so, here's the next help page on How to get the best puppy.