Bringing Home a New Dog or Puppy? Do This!

Whether Adopting Or Shopping Meet Your Puppy First

There are currently 616 million items available on Amazon and millions of those items can be confidently purchased “sight unseen.” But that is certainly not the case when choosing a puppy from a breeder, pet store or shelter.  Even though many of us might be tired of having too many meetings this meeting will be more fun than most. The best breeders, pet stores and shelters will encourage you to bring your whole family and take your time choosing your puppy. If they don’t, consider that a significant red flag. This may be harder to arrange when buying from an online breeder but it is certainly not impossible. If the online breeder cannot accommodate that request then it is best to keep searching for one who can.

What to do at a puppy meeting

At the beginning of the meeting you just have to hang out and observe how the puppy is responding to you and to other puppies if they are in a group setting.  It is ideal to spend about 15 or 20 minutes on this part because their behaviors change even during that time span. Some puppies will be jumping and bouncing in the beginning but settle down after a few minutes while others will just keep bouncing. You may want an active puppy but do you want the most active puppy in the litter? The leader of the pack may require more time and determination with training and socialization whereas the quieter ones may need more patience to build their confidence.

After this initial observation time you can begin more direct interaction. Playing with toys, cuddling, and making some funny noises. Having everyone involved gives you a chance to see the puppy’s personality and discuss which one seems to have the right energy level for your family. These are not things you can tell from a photograph or video. Investing this time will be extremely helpful to build a lasting and loving relationship with your puppy from day one.

Are the Holidays a good time to get a puppy?

For decades most animal welfare organizations discouraged people from getting a puppy during the holidays due to the increased traffic in the house and the abundance of items around for the puppy to get into mischief.  However, recent research has challenged those assumptions since there is no evidence that the puppy would be more likely to be relinquished to a shelter if it was acquired during the holidays.

The puppy does need to be monitored more closely due to the increased activity around the house. Provide a den for your dog or puppy. This will give your new family member a space of their own and a break, if needed, from holiday festivities.

More people in the household can be a plus because it offers more opportunities to interact and care for the puppy, helping the puppy become better socialized. With proper preparation the new puppy can be a wonderful addition to the family’s holiday time.


Be Dog Smart

There is a wonderful new website created by the Pet Leadership Council called Be Dog Smart. It is a consumer education initiative designed to help people make smart and informed decisions about puppy or dog acquisition, whether by way of a professional breeder, shelter or rescue, pet store, friend or family member.

The user-guided website offers consumers valuable information before bringing home a new puppy or dog, such as costs to consider, important questions to ask and information on identifying responsible breeders, shelters, rescues and pet stores.

The website was developed in partnership with industry experts from a variety of backgrounds, including those involved with responsible breeding, shelter and rescues, animal welfare and academia.

The website is differentiated from other consumer sites because it is not linked to any actual acquisition source – such as a breeder, shelter or store – and as such can remain unbiased.

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