Posted in Dog
Puppies are crazy adorable. And also crazy. Here are some things to consider if you are considering getting a puppy instead of an adult dog. If you’re unsure about getting a dog, first read our guide Should I Get a Dog? and then come back to this page to read about puppies.
Puppies Need Constant Attention
Really, they do. Think along the lines of having a baby or a new full time job. That’s how much time you’ll need to put into a new puppy. That’s not an exaggeration. Your whole schedule will revolve around them. They are constantly getting into trouble, and you can’t ignore them because the behaviors you are training now will set the stage for what kind of adult dog your puppy will grow into. If you get a young 2 month old puppy, expect devoting the next 10 months of your life to this project. The next few points will get into the details of why.
Puppies Can Hold Their Bladder for 2 Hours
The general rule is that puppies can hold their bladders for one hour per month they are old. For example, 2 month old puppies can hold their bladder for 2 hours. 3 month old puppies can hold their bladder for 3 hours.
The youngest age that puppies can leave their mothers is 8 weeks, so about 2 months old. That means if you get a brand new 2 month old puppy, you will need to take the puppy outside every 2 hours. However, usually in order to be successful in potty training you will need to take the puppy outside every 1 hour. That includes during the day when you are working. That includes in the evening when you want to go out. That includes during the night when you are sleeping. Are you prepared to wake up every 2 hours for an entire month to potty train your puppy? And after that, wake up every 3 hours for another month?
Puppies Aren’t Fully Housetrained until 4-6 Months Old
Typically puppies can be fully house trained by 4-6 months. This means that you will be cleaning up pee and poop off your floor for at least 2 months whenever your puppy has an accident, but don’t be surprised if you’re doing it for 4 months or longer. It’s not an easy or quick process.
Puppies Can Do No Wrong
Puppies are babies and they don’t know right from wrong. They don’t know what you want them to do. They need you to teach them. So if your puppy poops on the floor, pees on your carpet, tears up your furniture, or eats your shoes, it’s not their fault. It’s your fault for not supervising. You’ll have to think of an approach for avoiding the situation in the future and continue to train them so they know how to behave. It will be frustrating. But they really do need constant supervision, and lots of patience.
Puppies Need to Meet 100 People Per Month
Many behavioral problems in adult dogs come from inadequate socialization when they are puppies. Dogs can develop fears when they see new things that make them feel uncomfortable. That fear can manifest itself in different ways: some dogs will run away and cower, some dogs will lunge forward, some dogs will growl or bite. The best way to avoid all of these difficult behaviors altogether is to train your puppy right from the start, and expose your puppy to as many different situations as you can. If you don’t train your puppy by giving them new experiences, it can be very hard to get rid of these difficult behaviors later on when your puppy is an adult dog.
Your puppy should be meeting: people with beards, people with hats, children, teenagers, people in wheel chairs, people with crutches, people of different races, people who are tall, people who are short, people who are fat, people who are thin, people who have deep voices, people who have high pitched voices, people with umbrellas, people with long hair, people with short hair, people with no hair, etc!
All of these experiences will need to be positive so the puppy feels good about meeting new people and new types of people. The last thing you want is a dog that is fearful of children or wheelchairs and ends up biting someone because they have never seen something like that before. Your puppy will need to meet 100 people per month for the first 3 months you have your puppy.
Puppies Need to Learn How to Play with Other Dogs
Just like how puppies need to meet lots of new people, puppies need to meet lots of other dogs. Not just any dogs, but ones with good manners that they can learn from. It’s a great idea to enroll in a puppy class where your puppy can meet and play with other puppies. If you have friends with well-behaved dogs, bring them together as often as you can so that your puppy will learn proper manners and how to socialize with other dogs. If your puppy does not socialize properly with other dogs when young, your puppy may develop poor manners and dog aggression.
Puppies Are Mouthy
Puppies explore their world with their mouths. It’s very important that puppies learn bite inhibition from a young age, otherwise your puppy will not learn that biting hurts. It’s a hard thing to train, but all puppies need to learn it. It can be really annoying having a mouthy puppy around, especially if their bites hurt, so it’s important to train this as early as possible.
Puppy-Proof Your House
You’ll need to rethink the setup of your house and you’ll need to constantly remember not to leave things out. Puppies are curious and they will find a way to get into anything they shouldn’t be. No more being lazy and forgetting to put your dishes in the dishwasher, or leaving a candy wrapper out! No more leaving wires exposed. You’ll need constant vigilance to make sure you’re not leaving things out that will get your puppy into trouble.
Puppies Need Lots of Training
Puppies come with no knowledge of what to do, so here are just some basic things you will need to train them. Training is not easy, and you will need to do lots of research into each one. You will need to devote lots of time to this, and be creative when things don’t go the way you expect.
- bite inhibition
- leash training
- not barking
- crate training
- lie down
- drop it
Puppies Are Rewarding
Finally, puppies are very rewarding if you are willing to put in all of the work! If you read through all of the above and you are ok with making the sacrifices of sleep, scheduling, and sanity, then go for it. If you do it right, you’ll be responsible for a well-rounded happy dog when your puppy grows up.