Should You Start with a Puppy?

Oh the feel of soft puppy fur, sloppy wet licks and warm cuddling! A puppy melts the hearts and softens the wallets as adults who swear they don’t need a dog end up with a puppy before they can say, “What just happened here?”

There’s something magical about bringing home a little fur ball that needs you as much as an infant does. It’s an opportunity to train the dog from an early age to fit your environment and lifestyle.

If you have children, you can show them how to be gentle in caring for the puppy. They will have wonderful memories of growing up with the puppy. Beyond these lovely images are the other realities of bringing home a puppy – such as paper training, walking on a leash, chewing toys instead of designer shoes and other typical puppy behaviors that drive owners to the brink of insanity.

Yes, a puppy is precious, but also very needy. You’ll spend far more time with that puppy in the early months that you would with an older dog. The shelters are crowded with dogs – many just a few months out of puppy phase.

Due to the breed or the dog’s history, the seller or adoption facility will advise you which dogs are best for families with children and which dogs need to be around adults. You’ll know immediately what the dog’s full size is and whether that fits your living space.

You can visit the dog and take him for a walk before making up your mind. When you’re evaluating a litter of puppies from a breeder, make sure you get to “meet” mom and dad. You want to know what your puppy will grow up to be like when it’s older.

A puppy is going to adjust to your home better than an older dog, but that doesn’t mean the older dog won’t love your home, too. Puppies and older dogs each have their own specific requirements.

A puppy has to be trained from square one. An older dog might already be trained, but could have more vet bills if it’s not a completely healthy older dog. Or, it might be an old dog who doesn’t enjoy being around children anymore.

Depending on your reasons for getting a new dog, you might be able to provide a loving home to a shelter dog who’s a bit older than paying a lot of money for a purebred puppy. But if showing or breeding is your goal, a puppy with papers might suit your needs more.