When you get a puppy, it's a commitment that you're dedicating yourself to that may take up a significant portion of your time and resources. Puppies are like kids, but they never grow up. You'd always have a good cuddle from them, even when they get to be old dogs. However, getting a puppy usually brings with it a handful of challenges that people usually avoid talking about. Along with the cuddles and the face licks come a series of considerations that every puppy owner will be familiar with. Here are a handful of the challenges we all face that first time to help those new to getting a puppy.
1. Housebreaking a Puppy
Every owner wants a puppy that's housebroken because it makes them easier to maintain. Not all of us can afford massive yards, and our only options are keeping our dogs inside our homes. Housebreaking a puppy makes them easier to deal with in a smaller space like an apartment. Housebreaking a puppy is not an overnight ordeal either. You'll likely be doing this for a few months at least, so you should be prepared with a lot of patience and carpet cleaner to back you up. Each puppy is unique, and you'd have to approach the process individually. Once you work out a strategy and stick to it, you should be able to get your puppy housebroken with enough effort.
Alongside housebreaking is crate training. Puppies are usually full of energy, and they can get underfoot very quickly. In a busy household, they could pose a hazard for anyone walking while carrying heavy or hot objects. What's more, they could cause themselves to be stepped on, which would hurt them. Crate training introduces them a secure, relaxing location to retreat to where you won't have to worry about stepping on them. You could upgrade after a while to a cuddler bed for a little added comfort.
2. Vaccinations and Vet Bills
When raising a puppy, one of the most consistent issues you're likely to run into is vet bills. At the start, you'll need to make sure your puppy has all their vaccines and booster shots. Each of these carries a high cost, but it's necessary to ensure that your puppy remains healthy. Vaccinations prevent some of the most common dog diseases, such as parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. Puppies will need this, especially if they're meeting other dogs for play. Viruses can quickly jump between puppies, and if a dog is vaccinated, they might not get sick but pass on a virus they're carrying to an unvaccinated pup.
Vaccines provide protection from viruses and bacteria that could cause infection, but they're not the only thing you'd go to the vet for. Puppies can get worms, hernias, and even distended baby teeth. Each of these may be treated differently but require a vet to deal with it. Puppy health problems can make them miserable. No puppy parent wants to see their little furry one suffering. Yet treatment for these disorders also carry hefty vet bills with them. Raising a puppy may cost a lot, but they're worth it in the long run.
3. Socialization and Basic Training
Puppies are social creatures. Some studies suggest that puppies ought to be socialized within the first few weeks of life by letting them meet with other dogs and humans. Socialization ensures that a puppy knows their social standing and won't get bullied by other dogs in open play. It also raises their confidence and allows them to overcome anxieties when interacting with humans and dogs. By socializing your dog with a familiar set of people or dogs, you get to learn their cues. These cues can come in handy out in the real world when your pup is meeting a strange dog for the first time. You'll be able to sense their anxiety, trepidation, and a whole slew of other emotions just from their behavior.
Basic training for pups allows you to control them a bit easier. Jumping onto people and things, nipping, barking, and behaving on a leash are basic training elements that owners need to be aware of. They'll also learn to respond to basic cues and not bite or charge other dogs they might see as a threat. You could undergo basic training yourself if you have the time, but it may be pertinent to hire an expert animal psychologist to help. Some vet centers offer basic training programs with a certified trainer as well.
Every puppy parent will tell you that chewing is one of the most challenging habits to deal with. Puppies are naturally playful and curious, and they use their noses and mouths to explore things. Unfortunately, new puppies don't come with a manual to warn first-time owners. The result is carnage and destruction of furniture, clothes, curtains, and anything they can gnaw and bite on. How does an owner stop their puppy from wreaking havoc across their homes?
The most effective methods usually involve exercise and a lot of it. Puppies usually bite and chew because they have the excess energy to explore things. Exercising your pup with a brisk run or a bit of play now and again will tire them out sufficiently. They'll probably end up spending more time napping than chewing. If you intersperse their playtime with some toys, they'll eventually start playing with them on their own, tiring themselves out in the process.
Behavior That Applies to All Puppies
Many owners opt for buying a puppy because they have the mistaken notion that shelter puppies are the ones that display these behaviors. The behaviors mentioned here apply to all puppies, regardless of where they come from. Dogs are acclimatized to humans and get along well with them. As puppies, they still need to be trained out of thousands of years of evolution. Shelter dogs might actually be a better option for new owners since they are already socialized alongside other puppies. Only puppies that come from expensive boutique dealers are likely to have their personalities sorted out already. The rest of them will go through these same behaviors. As an owner, it's in your best interest to know how to deal with them before they get out of hand.