You have been thinking about getting a puppy for some time now. First, let me say that is a very important step! You have given it some thought. Being a pet care professional, I love it when we get to be part of a puppy family. But here’s the thing, puppies take work! So before you go to the local shelter (sadly, there are puppies there too) or contact a breeder, make a list of pros and cons. Here is an example of things that should be considered. After all, bringing a living thing into your home is a BIG responsibility.

Pros: 1. There is absolutely nothing better on earth than a puppy! 2. Raising an animal teaches life lessons to young children about responsibility and sacrifice. 3. Research has shown that people live longer and have less stress when they have pets in the home. 4. When you have had a long, hard day out in the world, open the door to your home and your dog will make it all go away. 5. You will always have someone that loves you unconditionally (make sure that you deserve it.) 6. Finally, life seems so much more worth living when you have someone along for the journey.

Cons: 1. Puppies are a big responsibility! 2. They will be expensive. 3. If you do not engage them with obedience training from day one, you might be miserable. 4. They will get sick and/or injured (part of the expensive) which will bring feelings of panic and/or worse. 5. Your home ( and things in it) also becomes theirs. My ex used to always exclaim that we couldn’t have anything nice! 6. Like kids, you have to factor in pets when you want to travel. This is where pet care professionals come in!

The pros and cons that I have listed are some of the obvious ones. Please take the proper amount of time to evaluate your personal situation. So, you have weighed all the pros and cons that you could think of and have decided to take the plunge! What next? After I lost my first Dachshund after 15 years of his total devotion, I knew that I could not live in a home without a dog. I was at the breeder three days later ( I was surprised, after the fact, that it was so soon.) After acting like a child being surrounded by a room full of puppies, she brought, who eventually would become Francesco, out of another room. I knew immediately that he was the one! Now, he was only four weeks old at the time, so the agonizing wait began. When I got home, and the realization slowly sunk in that I was getting a puppy, I had a real panic attack! I had not had a puppy in fifteen years! I jumped on the Internet and researched the best authors and books on the subject. I settled on three and it seemed like I was reading all of them at the same time!

The one that I would recommend above all others is “Before and after getting your puppy” by Dr. Ian Dunbar. I took his advice on setting up a proper area for my puppy to spend his first few months, learning what was expected of him when indoors. I puppy proofed my apartment as best as I could. Anything that is within their reach is fair game! Not their fault, until after they learn the rules. I setup his sleeping area and potty station along side his food and water bowls. And then I waited the other fifty-nine days until Francesco ( Frankie) came home! Another tip I took from the book was that I went from the breeder directly to my veterinarian, for a “happy visit.” Just lots of love and kisses and nothing bad. I then introduced him to our home, and, our journey began! I will close by saying that we met with his trainer the very next week, talked about goals for both me and Frankie and started down the road. He is an amazingly smart and well behaved dog that makes the time we spend all the more fun!