Who doesn't love puppies? Everyone I think. If you don't... well you must be a cat person. Ha! But, jokes aside. Puppies are cute. Super cute. But they also are a lot of work and often come with frustration too. I remember when we just got Lenyx he was adorable, but also drained ALL of our energy. Would destroy whatever he could find and just didn't give us a moment of peace. We had to get up 3 times a night so he could go for his pee & poo. Then when he was house trained suddenly he wasn't anymore and we felt like we had to start all over again. Matt and I actually had to set up a roster so we could plan in a break from him where the other person would look after him for a bit. When Zelda arrived I was in tears for 3 days. I was almost certain we made the wrong choice. We didn't need a second dog. She was too energetic. Jumped on the dining and coffee table and would hang on Lenyx' his cheeks until he was literally bleeding. She'd bark and not listen and bite, bite, bite... This is the reality of owning a puppy and this is also a very common reason why people don't stick with their dogs. 'Too energetic, bites the kids, seems aggressive'. No. That. Is. A. Puppy.
Facebook is already filling up with ads of people offering or looking for pups for under the xmas tree. And that doesn't have to be a bad thing but please do your research. Here are my top tips for getting a dog for LIFETIME.
Tip 1: Get a pup from a respectable and registered breeder OR a rescue.
Dogs should not be sold without microchip number and CAN'T be sold before 8 weeks old. That's illegal. Already I have had to have chats with people about their 6 week old pup. I actually have a message in my inbox about a 4 week one too. I kid you not.
A pup needs to stay with his mum and litter mates at least until 8 weeks. Do NOT believe a ''breeder'' that claims that mum is over the pups so they can go early. Even if mum is over the pups they have to stay. The litter mates teach each other social cues and bite inhibition and they NEED that time together. Anyone who lets pups go early, unregistered, unvaccinated or not micro-chipped is in my opinion a puppy farmer or backyard breeder. Do not support that. Even if the pups look so cute, do you really want to support someone who breeds their dog as often as they can with a mother dog that isn't allowed to play or be a dog but just be a puppy factory? Another option is to go through a rescue. There is heaps of pups available through rescues as well.
Tip 2: Pick a dog that suits your lifestyle!
Are you super active and want your dog to go running with you? Maybe don't pick an English Bulldog. Are you a bit on the lazy side and want your dog to be fairly chill? Don't go for a hyper active breed like a Kelpie. Are you a first time dog owner? Have a good think if you are able to handle a stubborn aloof dog like a husky or spitz type dog. Do you have young kids? Maybe reconsider getting a cattle dog.
Look at what your dog is bred to do. Cattle dogs bite. That's in their genes. Kelpies herd. Terriers dig. If that isn't what you're after, no matter how cute or lovely you think that dog is, keep on looking. Pick a dog that fits your lifestyle. One of the biggest reasons people end up with a dog trainer is because their dog is showing behaviour problems that they can't help but doing (like herding or nipping the kids, guarding the property/livestock) and because they're not biologically satisfied.
Tip 3: One or two pups?
This is an easy one for me. Always pick 1 pup. It takes a massive amount of time to raise 2 pups at the same time and have them be independent is nearly impossible. There is also littermate syndrome. You can read more about that here: https://offleashk9training.com/dogtrainingblog/littermate-syndrome-in-dogs-off-leash-k9-training-problems-with-littermates/
Tip 4: Crate Train!
The first few days, crating your pup and housebreaking. Now, you've picked a pup from a responsible source. You picked a pup that fits your lifestyle. Now the fun begins. First of all: Don't want everything at once. Don't overwhelm your pup and give them some time. They are away from everything they know and need you. I always advise against putting the pup outside straightaway. I understand some people want an outside dog, but your pup needs you right now. You have taken him or her out of their environment and thrust them into something they don't know and that's scary. Putting the pup outside straight away is in my opinion downright cruel. Work your way up to leaving the pup by himself over the next few months. Instead I'd invest in a crate. Crate training will be your salvation. It's the place where your pup will go for his down time and where they'll feel safe. It also immensely helps with house training. For housebreaking your pup: Go outside after every play, drink and food moment. On top of that go outside every hour on the hour (or whatever is convenient for you to remember). Take them outside on and off lead, if you never go on lead you might end up with a dog that's not comfortable doing their business on a lead. I've never used puppy pads or inside grass but just got up and went outside. I still find that the most efficient way.
Tip 4: Find a good puppy school!
Every dog needs training. It baffles me that some people don't go through any 'formal' training at all. It's like not sending your child to school. Pet Shop puppy schools are cheap. But, price often reflects quality. And when it's 'socialization' time they just put all pups together for play. That may be fine for some dogs, but it's also a great way to bully or be bullied.Instead pick a puppy school that teaches a lot of environmental socialization. Playing sounds on the background and introducing many different objects and surfaces so you build on having a confident pup. Some do a great puppy social where the social time with other dogs is monitored by a very stable adult dog who will intervene where necessary, and no one can do that as well as a dog. Canine Connect in Adelaide does an amazing environmental course for their pups. See the video of their Ninja Course below. https://www.facebook.com/CanineConnectAustralia/videos/450488958872762
And that's it. There is still tons of stuff I can talk about such as diet, enrichment and all sorts of stuff. But I'm hoping that for new puppy owners this blog will help or will make them do extra research. You are responsible for a new life.