Those adorable eyes. That wonderful puppy breath. The playful nips and growls. Owning a pet – especially a dog – is a dream shared by many, and it’s quite understandable considering the simple cuteness of puppies. Too often people overlook the responsibility that lies ahead when deciding whether or not to get a puppy.
Is your family really ready for a canine addition to your home? Use these helpful tips to find out!
Act like you already have one. This one is especially helpful if your children are the ones pleading for a pet. Much like you might have done in Family and Consumer Science classes (or Home Economics), make your children go through the motions of owning a puppy. Get a stuffed animal and make your kids know where it is at all times. Want to go play video games? Take the “puppy” with you!
Practice taking it outside. If your pup will be an indoor dog, then you must ensure that everyone is on-board for potty training. Make your kids go stand outside at various times because, as we all know, a puppy doesn’t care if it is 6 a.m. on a Saturday… when it needs to go, it needs to go! Intentionally pick times that are inconvenient (middle of a movie, when it is drizzling outside, etc).
Assign tasks. Give all of your children (and yourself, if need be!) a daily task to perform, such as taking out trash, picking up shoes or dusting the coffee table. Silently keep tabs of who did their assigned task. Do not give reminders, as this exercise is to ensure they understand the responsibility. At the end of the week, sit down together and go over everyone’s task completion results. Explain how owning a puppy is a huge task and the consequences of forgetting even one day could be detrimental.
Picking up your things. A new puppy is worse than a toddler! Explain to your kids that eyeglasses, shoes and building blocks are all delicious snacks in a puppy’s eyes and that everything needs to be picked up – no throwing things on the floor when you are done with them. When you see things not put up, quietly confiscate them. At the end of a week, drag out your sack full of goodies and, as a family, discuss how they could be dangerous for a puppy or expensive to replace.
If your family successfully passed these steps, then you are probably ready to own a puppy! If you still are undecided, use these helpful tips from the AKC. If it seems like too much responsibility, but you still want sweet puppy kisses, go to your local shelter… they will gladly accept your offer to play with a puppy for a few hours a week!