Celebrate National Puppy Day , March 23rd, by adopting a puppy. Of course, have a family discussion first and make sure your are all ready to make a commitment to take on the responsibility of puppy ownership.
Before choosing a puppy, do your research. Choose a puppy that will fit into your life style as it grows into an adult dog. Ask questions of people involved in pet care - a vet, dog trainer, groomer, breeder and your local shelter.
Purebreed vs. Mixed Breed - again the choice is yours. Either make loving companions. When you decide on the puppy that suits you, check shelter and rescue organizations to see if they have the type of puppy you are looking for.
Before puppy comes home, puppy-proof your house. Puppies chew any and everything, so make sure electrical cords aren't reachable, outlets are covered, your belongings are away. Store trash, medications, household cleaners, pesticides, anti-freeze and any other chemicals where puppy can't get to them. Plants that are poisonous to your pup should be removed. See more: Is Your Home Pet-Safe?
You'll need to purchase some supplies for your puppy. A leash and adjustable collar along with an ID tag and consider a harness for walks. Food and water bowls are available in stainless steel, ceramic and plastic. Tip-proof dishes are a good idea too. If you prefer, there are water fountains for dogs providing fresh water for your pup all the time. You'll need a crate or carrier suitable for your pup's size. Your pup needs a comfortable bed too. There are absorbent pads for house training. Grooming supplies include brush, comb, shampoo, doggie wipes, nail clipper, toothbrush and toothpaste made specially for dogs.
After your pup settles in, it's a good idea to get him/her used to grooming. Grooming keeps your dog clean, alerts you to anything unusual and strengthens the bond between you. See more: Grooming Your Pet
Puppies are very playful, so include toys suitable for your pup. Chew toys are great, especially for teething pups. Check the toys regularly to make sure that they remain safe for your pup to play with. See more: Dog Toy Safety
And of course, most importantly, purchase food for your puppy. There are many commercial foods available to meet your pup's needs or you can choose to home cook. Be sure your pup is getting the proper nutrients for growth and maintenance of good health. Until your pup is about 6 months old, feeding should be broken up into 3-4 meals daily. You can gradually decrease the number of feedings to twice a day. I recommend feeding twice daily for life, morning and evening. Include any treats you give in the calorie count.
Bringing puppy home can cause lots of excitement in the house. Try to keep things calm. Puppy is making a big change and may be confused or frightened at first. It might be best to keep puppy confined to one or two rooms until adjustment is made.
Housetraining your pup is a matter of consistency. Take your pup out after each meal, after playtime and generally every couple of hours. You can even choose an area where you would like your pup to eliminate and use a special word to encourage. Praise your pup lavishly when he responds. Never punish your pup for accidents. It will only upset him further and he won't understand. BE PATIENT.
You can begin to train your pup with simple commands like sit, down, stay and come. Each time your pup responds correctly, offer treats immediately and praise generously. There are also puppy training classes if that's your choice. See more: Dog Training
To avoid fear or aggression problems, socialize your pup. Get your pup used to other pets, dogs, people, your vet. Early socialization to all things your pup will encounter later in life will reward you with a well-behaved, well-adjusted adult dog.
Within the first 2 weeks home, your puppy should visit your vet for a thorough checkup. Write a list of any questions you may have. Ask your vet about vaccinations and flea and tick control.
Choosing to give a pup a home means living with unconditional love and loyalty. Enjoy!