Before you start picking our collars, paws and ask yourself these 5 questions to make sure you and your family are really ready and don't simply have a case of puppy love!
1. Do they really want a puppy?
Almost every child really wants a puppy, in theory. Remember all those expensive clothes, after school classes and hot must-have toys that they also really wanted? Now the clothes are so last year, the classes were boring and the toys are somewhere under the bed. Make sure a puppy is something your children really truly want, and not just because Timmy down the street has one. Give it time and see if it's something they keep bringing up.
2. Do you really want a puppy?
No matter how much they want a puppy and swear they will walk him everyday, remember that most of the chores will inevitably fall to you. Also, the children sure won't be pitching in any money for vet bills, food or obedience classes. A dog is a new member of the family, and everyone in the family needs to be on board.
3. Do you know how to raise a puppy?
If you've had a dog before, you're well aware of the work involved. If you're a first time dog owner, be sure to pick up some books, do online research and speak to dog owners. If you think you are prepared for the work, time and money involved in owning a dog, it's time to make sure your kids know what's really involved. Have them get up early every day for a week and walk a neighbours dog, let them talk to a vet and read books with them on puppy care.
4. What breed should you get?
Make sure to look at different breeds. Do you have a large yard or live in the middle of the city? Make sure the breed fits your lifestyle. Certain breeds get along much better with children, mainly larger ones. Small dogs can be intimated by clumsy toddlers and become aggressive. Search online to see how active different breeds are and how large they'll grow. Make sure you know how affectionate they are and how much exercise they need. Every breed, just like every family, has different needs.
5. Where should you get your dog?
Once you've decided on breed, decide where you want to get your dog. Do you want to go to a breeder? Pet shop? A shelter? Adoption?
Shelters are great places since you'll be able to speak with the workers and find a dog that works well with your family. Be sure to let them know how many children you have and their ages. Oftentimes, you can skip the whole 'puppy' phase and find a dog that's already housetrained and has their shots. Shelters are also much less expensive and they oftentimes offer classes or counselling for new pet owners. Shelters want to make sure their animals end up in the perfect home, unlike pet stores who just want to sell animals before they get too old.
Having a dog teaches a child responsibility, empathy, respect and love. It provides a child with a best friend, unconditional love and a listening ear. If your family is aware of the responsibilities and has done their research, you may be ready for a brand new family member!
Every year dogs are left at shelters because families thought they were ready for a new pet without doing their research. Please be a responsible pet owner!
Not quite ready for a new puppy? Check out Posh Puppies, our adorable puppy inspired art project instead.