Decide if you have the time. Puppies are extremely difficult to house train. There are numerous articles and videos out there to help with this time of learning to “POTTY OUTSIDE!” While the puppy is adorable, it can be very frustrating to train and require immense patience and time to do this. Also know that you can’t take off for the weekend unless you get a sitter because unlike fluffy the cat, dogs have to go outside, and no amount of food and water you leave for fido will make up for the mess he leaves all over the house, or room you keep him in, not to mention the unwanted pain of him having to live in his own fecal matter. It is plain irresponsible and can result in disasters if you leave your dog or puppy unattended for that long without any sort of care or someone to check in on them.
On top of potty training, dogs are pack animals. Puppies, especially if this is your first dog are going to be attached to you. This also requires you to have free time to play with them, and show them affection. Don’t get a puppy if you can’t give it care and loving affection.
Do you have patience? You’ll need lots of it. A motto often said about puppies mentality is “If I have to I will.” This includes their potty habits, playing, sleeping, chewing, ripping, etc. Puppies are not always going to tell you they are about to pee on your expensive rug because they have to pee, and they don’t really know that it is a rug, or costly for that matter. They just know they have to pee. In short, be prepared to have your patience tested.
Do you have other dogs? If so, what is their personality? Is their breed known to do well with other dogs different than their breed? If not, be extra careful where fido stays while you are gone, or consider a new puppy because some dogs will harm a pup if they don’t want him around. On the bright side, other dogs may be wary at first, but will grow to love him and care for him as part of the pack. This will be extremely helpful to contributing love and affection, and his sense of acceptance.
Do you have children? How old are they? Do they enjoy tormenting animals? Lots of kids are fascinated with screaming in animals ears, pulling at their faces, etc. If your child does this, don’t get a puppy until they outgrow it. Make sure they know it is bad, and the consequences. This can cause deafness, trauma, and retaliation (biting) in defense because they feel threatened.
If however, they are good with animals, or pets, the right dog can be very rewarding, and teach them a sense of responsibility. Make sure that they are up to the task. Research breeds good for families. One wonderful breed is a Labrador Retriever, or even a Lab mix. They have wonderful tempers, are playful, intelligent, and are great with people and children. Others are very protective and loving towards their “pack” or the family, but can be mean to strangers. These breeds are not a good idea for children who are young and have friends over.
Do you enjoy the satisfaction of working hard for something you love? If you do then it’s looking up! Puppies may be hard work, but they are worth it to many of us. Eventually they get the hang of letting you know if they need to go out, and you will start developing ways of communicating with each other. Dogs are loyal to a fault and make us feel loved even in the worst of times. They are definitely worth the work-or the wait.