When Is The Right Time To Get A New Puppy?

Adding a new puppy to your household can be an exciting time, but you want to make sure you understand everything your new addition will need. It’s also vital that you set aside time for housetraining. This requires planning on your part, and we want to give you all the tools you need to prepare well in advance.

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The Best Time of Year to Get a Puppy

One of the first things you want to do is consider the time of year where you are. Is it cold and wet outside or warm and sunny? Generally speaking, it’s much more pleasant to take care of a young dog and housebreak them when it’s warm outside.

Also, you’ll need to consider your dog’s exercise needs. At the very minimum, you’ll take your dog out once or twice a day for a walk or play session to wear them out. You could fit this in before or after work. Active breeds should have at least an hour walk a day at a minimum while tiny breeds and elderly dogs need less.

For at least the first few weeks, you’ll end up taking your dog outside over two or three hours, and this means during the night. If it’s wet and cold out, this can be an unpleasant experience for both of you. Also, trying to get a young dog to go outside in the snow can be difficult, and getting up early in the morning is a lot easier when it’s light outside.

If you get your dog in late spring or early summer, you’ll have months to train them. You’ll also have the long summer days to wear your dog out. By the time fall and cooler weather comes around, they’ll be ready to sleep through the night right alongside you.

Another consideration you have to keep in mind is your schedule. Do you have enough time to dedicate to a new dog? You’ll need at least a week off right when you bring them home. If you don’t, are there other people in the household that will keep up with your routine when you’re not around? If you get a dog during the summer, your kids can help. This will teach them responsibility as well.

How to Pick Out the Correct Breed

Think about why you want to add a dog to your household. Do you want companionship or a small breed that is happy sitting on your lap? Maybe you want an athletic dog that will go for daily runs with you. The goal is to match your lifestyle up with your dog breed.

The reason so many dogs end up in shelters is that they grew up to be larger than the person thought they’d be, or they become too much for the person or family to handle. Since a dog is a lifelong commitment, it’s critical you do your research and consider your lifestyle.

Go to your local humane society and see what they have to offer. A lot of the time, they’ll be able to help you find the perfect breed that’ll fit into your family without a problem. Another option is to look up breeders in your area. The American Kennel Club has a search tool that will narrow down reputable breeders in your area.

Understanding What a New Dog Needs

If you think about it, dogs don’t need many material things beyond the necessities to be happy. You give them food, a bed, and a dry place to stay, and they’re happy. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly think that it’s easy to get a dog and train them, and they don’t take into consideration the time it takes to raise them.

What your dog really wants is time and attention from you. If you don’t dedicate these things to them, your dog can develop destructive behaviors like chewing. They can also miss out on important socialization, and this can turn them into a fearful dog that is prone to biting.

Dogs are also very social animals, and they need quality time with people or other animals. If you’re going to be gone half the day working and there’s no one around to interact with your dog, you may want to check into daycare options. Yes, it can be expensive, but leaving them alone all of the time isn’t an option. This is how you end up with anxious dogs.

Setting up Your Home for Your New Dog

Before you get your new dog, you have to get a space ready for them. The area will vary in size depending on the dog breed, but they all need a few key pieces to stay safe and healthy.

Baby Gates
A lot of people don’t like their dogs going into the kitchen, or they want to block off areas of the house where the dog could get into trouble. A baby gate is a great way to keep your dog contained, and they can help you section off a part of the house for training purposes.

Collar, Harness, and Leash
When you take your new dog out to go to the bathroom, you’ll need some way to keep them contained if you don’t have a fenced-in area for them. You can buy collar and leash sets, or you can buy a leash and a harness. They come in dozens of styles and colors, so it’s easy to find one for your dog.

Crate or Bed
Do you intend to crate train your dog? If so, you’ll have to buy a crate, and you want to make sure your crate is big enough to grow with your dog. Since your dog tends to chew when their teeth come in, consider getting a comfortable but durable bed that will withstand wear and tear.

Food and Treats
You want to make sure you pick out a food that is specially designed for young and growing dogs. Your veterinarian can suggest the proper food and feeding schedule to keep your puppy’s system regular. Treats will come in handy when it’s time to start the housetraining process.

Food Bowls
There are dozens of food bowls available, and you want one that is sturdy enough that your dog won’t knock over when they use it. Bowls with a wide base tend to be harder to tip, and this reduces your mess. If your dog eats too fast, you can get food bowls that have ridges in the bottom that forces your dog to slow down.

Potty Pads
No matter how well you train your dog, they’re going to have at least one or two accidents. Maybe you went out and didn’t get back in time to let them out, or they woke up from a nap and really had to go. Putting potty pads down around their sleeping area will give them a space to go without ruining your flooring.

Toys and Chews
You don’t want your dog tearing up your furniture or carpeting when they get their adult teeth. Toys and chews can keep them entertained, and you can find dozens of varieties. Some dogs like soft toys with squeakers, some like rope toys, and some like bones. You should buy a few and rotate them to keep your dog happy and engaged with them.

Setting up a Housetraining Routine

Ideally, you’ll take time off from work and be home for at least a few days after you bring your dog home. This time off will help you establish a healthy routine for your dog, and the routine will give them the stability they need during this transitional phase in their life. Depending on the breed, it can take between four to six months to completely train your new dog.

However, the first week or two is vital for setting up a routine, and this is why you have to make sure there are people around from the day you bring your dog home. This time together will help you learn each other’s personalities, bond, and adjust. You can’t do this if you’re working constantly. When you first start training your dog, you should:

  • Put your dog on a regular feeding schedule and remove the food between meal times
  • Take your dog out to potty right away in the morning and then once every hour or so
  • Take them outside if they nap or right after they eat
  • Take your dog to the same spot each time they go potty. This will establish a scent, and they’ll naturally want to return there
  • Stay outside with your dog until they go
  • When your dog goes outside, celebrate with them, act excited, and reward them with a toy or treat

The Costs Involved with Bringing a New Dog Home

It’s expensive to introduce a new dog into your home, especially if it’s a very young one. You have to have money set aside for expected and unexpected expenses, and this is another area many people fail to plan for. If you don’t, your dog’s quality of life can suffer, and this isn’t fair for them. The average costs for a single year for one dog include:

  • Puppy Exams and Vaccines: $150-$300
  • Bedding/Crate: $60
  • Collar or Leash: $30
  • Daycare: $20 or More Per Day
  • Food: $150 to $500 (or more depending on dog size)
  • Grooming: $40 to $100 Per Session
  • Initial Medical Exam and Shots: $70
  • Pet Health Insurance: $200 to $800
  • Preventative Medications: $100 to $200
  • Spaying or Neutering: $150 – $500
  • Toys and Treats: $100
  • Training: $20 to $40 per Session

This doesn’t include any medical surprises or emergency vet visits you may have over the course of the year. The prices will also fluctuate depending on where you live. Smaller vet practices tend to be less expensive than practices in larger cities.

The point is, your costs could be well over $1,000 for the first year alone. As your dog gets older, they could develop more health problems that require ongoing medications.

New Kids and Puppies

A lot of people want to get a young dog when they bring their baby home because they want them to grow up together. However, the baby’s needs will always come before the puppy’s needs, even when people have the best of intentions. Experienced dog owners can usually successfully juggle a new dog and a baby at the same time, but first-time dog owners get overwhelmed.

It could be best to wait until your youngest child is five years old or older. This way, you can successfully balance your kid and your dog. Additionally, the child is old enough to help you take care of your new dog, and it’ll give them a feeling of responsibility and accomplishment.

Wrapping Up – Should You Get a Dog Now?

We threw a lot of information at you in the past few paragraphs, and we want to make sure you get the key takeaways to help make your decision. The key takeaways include:

  • Do you have significant time to dedicate over the next few months?
  • Can you handle a new addition financially?
  • Are you ready to cope with accidents in the house?
  • Do you have a secure area for your dog?
  • Are you comfortable will going outside at night with your dog?
  • Do you know how to establish a healthy routine?
  • Are any kids in the house old enough to respect your dog’s space and needs?
  • Do you have the time to train your dog?

This is a lot to think about. But if your answer was yes to most or all of these key questions, then you are most likely ready to add a new dog to your family. Do your research, take your time, and remember that a dog is a lifelong commitment.