GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — National Puppy Day is a special day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. But more importantly, it's a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills.
Tips on Choosing the Best Pet for Your Family/Lifestyle
- Research Different Breeds: Different breeds have different characteristics and you will want to understand the types of behaviors that may be displayed by your new family member. You need to understand the energy of your household, the size of dog that you can handle, how much exercise you are able to provide and more. If your family tends to be very low key, you do not want to choose a high energy dog that needs tons of energy. If you live in a small space, a very large dog may not be the best for your family. Think about all of these variables before choosing your new pup.
- Age-Old Wisdom: Be sure your new pet correlates with the ages of those in the household. A good rule of thumb: the new pet should fit the current physical capabilities of the caretakers with a perspective for what the next 10-15 years will bring.
- If you have children in your household, enrolling your new pup and family members into an obedience class should be high on your priority list. Children need to learn how to safely interact with the dogs so that accidents don’t happen. An experienced trainer will help the whole family understand how to safely interact with your new family member.
- If there are elderly members in a household, a strong vigorous adolescent pet is not advised. Large breeds also demand more physical upkeep, something that an older person may have trouble performing.
- A Gift for the Whole Family: Although it is exciting to surprise the family with a new pet, do some research and poll each family member to find out what they are looking for in a new pet so that the pet you choose aligns with the household. Once your family has chosen a breed that suits the family’s requirements, the best approach is to bring the whole family to meet the potential new family member and gauge how they all interact.
- Financial Responsibilities: A new pet can go for “free-to-a-good-home” to several thousand dollars. A budget must be set not only for the upfront cost of taking the pet home, but also for immediate follow-up costs like veterinary check-ups, a training crate and pet obedience classes. Also keep in mind that your pet will need to be fed and groomed and will also need chew toys and additional supplies like food bowls, a dog bed, brushes, leashes, etc. Also keep in mind the necessary chunk of money needed for veterinary emergencies. You might also think about getting pet insurance for your new family member to help keep the cost of veterinary bills more affordable.
- Time & Energy: A new pet will cost the family time and energy. Various breeds and ages will make different demands, requiring more time in training and daily exercise than others. All pets will require exercise, training and supervision and any age pet will require commitment from the family to establish house rules and routines.
Pro Tips to Make Training Puppies Easier
Pro Tip #1: Choose a Name Wisely
While some people like to choose a dog’s name for the cute-factor or based on what they love, this can sometimes make dog training harder. Pet parents should consider a shorter name that ends with a strong consonant. That way, the puppy will always hear his name clearly when it’s spoken. They should also try to get the new name to be associated with positive things, rather than negative ones, so he’ll respond better to it when called.
Pro Tip #2: Hold The Fort
Before the puppy even comes home, house rules should be set. For example, decide whether or not he’ll be allowed on couches or beds. A pet owner might also decide which parts of the home are off limits. Setting the rules early on can help to avoid confusion. It keeps everyone on the same page and keeps the household running smoothly.
Pro Tip #3: Create a Private Den
A dog doesn’t necessarily need a room of his own, but he should have a private space where he can lay back and relax. This space shouldn’t be used by anyone else in the home — including other pets. Some pet parents like to keep crates around, even after a puppy has been trained, for this purpose. Pet parents should be cautious when leaving their pup alone in an open area for too long. It’s always best to puppy-proof the area first and make sure he’s supervised at all times, or in his crate.
Pro Tip #4: Nip Biting in The Bud
Pet parents should nip biting in the bud as soon as possible! Those little nibbles may seem harmless and cute right now, but as the dog ages, they can become dangerous. Dogs, and puppies in particular, usually don’t realize the strength of their own bites, which can lead to people getting hurt later on.
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