National Puppy Day!

On March 23rd we celebrate National Puppy Day

It’s not a widely celebrated occasion but puppies have their day too! One thing is for sure – WE ALL LOVE PUPPIES! How could we not. There is something about their innocence and excitement in everything they do that triggers a heartwarming emotional response even from the toughest crowds. You’d have to be pretty cold-hearted to not melt at the sight of puppies playing.

In honor of this day, we have put together a list of some helpful advice to keep in mind when looking for that perfect puppy.  Don’t forget that animal shelters are a great place to search for puppies who are in dire need of rescue. Pound puppies can be an amazing addition to the family. Let’s get started.

Finding the Right Puppy ~ Looks VS Personality

Oftentimes, people will choose a puppy based on its looks – the temptation of that cute little face makes it hard to resist – but doing some research on the specific breed before you jump in is always best.  Of course, we may have preferences to what we consider “adorable” but that shouldn’t be a reason to dismiss any puppy.

The best way to choose a puppy is to do your homework to find out which breed will be the most compatible to your lifestyle.  For example, if you are fairly sedentary, it’s wise to stay away from dogs with high-energy (Dalmatians, Labs, Beagles).  However, when adopting from a shelter, it may be difficult to determine the puppy’s genetic makeup.  This more than ever is when personality should outweigh looks.

The best way to get to know any dog is to spend time with it.  If the shelter offers a no-obligation home visit or foster plan, then take advantage of it.  Bringing the puppy into your life, even on a trial basis, will give you the freedom to interact with the puppy, allowing its true nature to shine through.  Don’t pass by a puppy because it may not fit your “ideal appearance,” when it could have the perfect personality that will endear you for years to come.

Overcoming Obstacles

With every puppy there are going to be obstacles that need to be overcome.  Remember, dogs in the wild have a dominant pack-leader, so it’s up to you as its new pet-parent to teach it the “ways of the home.”  Potty training, daily routines (walks, bedtime, meals) and social behaviors all need to be treated with consistency, care and patience.  Your puppy will make mistakes and “break the rules,” so it’s up to you to handle it properly. Never hit, scream at or rub a dog’s nose in its waste as a disciplinary action.  This only creates fear and mistrust in your puppy and will make overcoming these common obstacles even more difficult. Remember to praise and reward good behavior often to encourage its repetition.

Training and Socialization Are Key

We have all been exposed to an unruly dog – the constant jumping, pulling and nipping is enough to make you want to flee – but this too can be fixed with the right training.  Teaching a puppy to have the basic manners is ALWAYS a matter of training.  This process will require time and dedication, but is a must for having a well-rounded and well-behaved canine-companion.

There are many sources to turn to for the information you need when training your puppy.  These include books, DVD’s, online how-to’s and personal training coaches.  Pick which method works best for you and your pet and stick to it.  Puppies need to have daily training sessions in order to grasp the concepts, so hang in there.

Socializing your new pup is also paramount.  This not only gives your fur-baby a chance to explore new people, places and pets, but keeps it from becoming fearful and timid.  Taking your puppy to a dog park, travelling in the car and bringing him or her to visit with children (if suitable) are all wonderful ways to help your puppy learn the desirable social skills it needs to be happy. In addition, it is always wise to have your new puppy fully vaccinated before bringing it to areas that have a high exposure to other dogs (i.e. dog parks).  Some canine diseases can be contracted through the feces, or may lie dormant in the grass for a long time, so make sure your puppy is protected.

A Pet for Life

Every dog deserves to have a home for the duration of its life.  Before you make the decision to commit to take in a puppy, be sure you are ready.  This not only includes considering the financial costs of supporting a pet, but also the emotional and physical support a puppy will demand.  Many people make the mistake of getting a pet to fill an emotional hole in their lives.  A pet can be a great companion, but it’s not a substitute for the mental support a person may need.

What’s Your Take?

What other advise can we give someone considering bringing a puppy into their life and a home? Let us know in the comments below.

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