If you have finally given in to the constant pleas by your kids to get a puppy, there is much to consider. Raising a dog is a long-term commitment that might last as long as 20 years, so you must be prepared to make a few sacrifices. Failure to understand what is involved with keeping a dog as a pet is the main reason why so many dogs are abandoned, and if you are sure about getting a puppy, go to your local dog rescue, rather than a breeder, as there are so many young dogs that deserve a second chance. If you are sure about everything, here are a few essentials you will need to prepare prior to the puppy’s arrival.
- Bedding, Leash and Collar – Your puppy will need his own personal space, which might be a corner of the kitchen, and his bedding, water and food bowls should be placed there. He will very quickly realise that this is his space and you should not confuse him by changing the location. A collar for a puppy should be of the right size and not too heavy, and after a few days, he will get accustomed to it, and you should only take it off at bath time. Make sure your name and phone number are engraved somewhere on the collar, just in case you lose him.
- Rules of the House – It is vital that you sit the family down and decide exactly what the puppy can and cannot do. It is only with consistent behaviour that the dog will learn how to behave, so make some hard and fast rules and decide on the right action when he steps out of line. Behavioural problems are usually caused by either a lack of exercise or a genuine lack of knowledge on the dog’s part, so make sure that he understands what he is not allowed to do.
- Healthcare – Your new puppy will need his vaccinations, so take him to your local vet as soon as possible, and preferably before he mixes with other dogs. You should also find an Australian pet insurance provider (they can easily be located with a Google search), and they would have a range of packages to suit every budget. A basic policy would cover any emergency treatment, but you may have to pay the first $100, then there are comprehensive policies that even cover vaccinations and dog training classes.
Once you have chosen the puppy, you should spend some time researching that breed online, which will help you gain a better understanding of his needs and temperament. All dogs require daily exercise, and the bigger the dog, the more he needs to run and play, so try to choose a breed that best fits with your lifestyle.
With so many unfortunate dogs that are kept in dog rescue facilities, you should start your search there, and if you don’t find what you are looking for, there are many dog rescue facilities that can be found with an online search.