There has been a huge boom in puppy purchases this year, a quarter of new owners admit buying a puppy during the Covid-19 pandemic (Kennel Club). Who would have known a global pandemic would have brought around a surge in puppy purchases? Well we kind of saw it coming - it’s the perfect time to set your sights on a new addition to the family since you’re spending a lot more time at home and in need of some fun, loving energy. Puppy’s are a wonderful addition to our lives, and bring us so much happiness and excitement, but you need to be sure that you're to deal with all of that energy and ready for the commitment of looking after them - because it can be a lot of hard work.
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Essential Puppy Care Guide from GroomArts Academy on Vimeo.
1. What type of life do you live?
Before you even start to think about getting a puppy you need to consider the type of life you live... Are you living a busy life where you are out all the time, working 9 - 5 and rarely ever home? Or are you at home a lot, can you take a puppy to work with you, do you work from home or own your own business? You need to consider the fact that all puppy's need exercise, and not only exercise, they need a lot of attention. Some dogs need more exercise than others, big dogs need a lot of exercise and smaller dogs don’t need as much exercise but they tend to need more attention. If you are an active person who can take their puppy out for hour long walks a day then a bigger, more energetic dog is perfect, if you can’t then maybe consider purchasing a small dog that needs less exercise. If you are someone who is rarely home then maybe rethink the puppy idea, the worst thing you can do for a puppy is leave it cooped up inside all day and then only have time to take it for a 5-10 minute walk. Not only will the puppy destroy your house whilst you are out but it can also develop behavioural issues.
2. Choosing the right breed
Every dog has a different temperament and specific breeds have different energy levels. Most cross breed dogs tend to be more energetic because they are harbouring two different personalities, whereas pure breeds tend to be a bit calmer and more mature. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right puppy, it can't be based solely on the cuteness of the dog or the status that comes with that breed, you need to consider whether that puppy is going to be happy with your lifestyle and if you are going to enjoy its company. For example, are you an active person who enjoys walking, are you a city person who enjoys short walks around town, do you live in an apartment or a house, do you have other pets already, do you have kids, can you spend a lot of time with that puppy? If you live in an apartment it is probably best that you don’t get a big dog like an Alsatian, Samoyed, Labrador or Saint Bernard, they will (by accident) destroy your house and will not have enough space to feel comfortable - consider smaller dogs like Daschund, Yorkshire Terrier, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu. You can't just think about the puppy as a puppy, you need to think about it as a mature, older dog as well, and will the dog when it is older be happy?
3. Training the puppy early on
Don’t forget to train your puppy early on - it can’t be all fun, love and cuddles - there has to be training involved and boundaries set so that it matures into a well behaved dog. By providing the puppy with certain things that are theirs for example a dedicated bed and food bowl and outlining areas that are not theirs like the sofa, your bed and your food will help train the puppy to understand its position within the family. A lot of people find it hard to set boundaries with puppy’s because they are so cute and you just want to love and cuddle them, which is fine but you can still do all of that whilst also training it. Just be aware that as the puppy gets older it will become harder and harder to assert boundaries because the dog has already become accustomed to a certain way of living. It's true when they say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
4. Consider the costs
Owning a puppy is worth every penny but be aware that it can cost you a lot of money, and you can be forking out up to £1,000 each month in vet bills, insurance, day care, dog walking, food, toys and grooming. It can add up, but if you know the cost before getting the puppy then you can budget and prepare your finances pretty well. Again, they are worth every penny just be sure you have the penny's first.
5. When to take it to the groomers?
Puppy’s need regular grooming just like any other dog, and the earlier you can get the puppy used to the grooming experience the better! Start to introduce your puppy to brushing, cleaning, washing and nail clipping early on, because this will get them used to grooming and will make it a lot easier for the puppy to go for its first professional groom, and easier for the groomer to do a good job. We suggest taking your puppy to the groomers anytime after it has had all its jabs, so from 2 - 3 months after getting it. It might not necessarily have to be for a full blown groom but it is still good to introduce puppy's to salons as early as possible so that it is comfortable with them.
You can check out our How to Groom a Puppy for the First Time blog for more information on how to groom them.
Getting a puppy is a wonderful and joyful thing; they can bring you so much love, happiness and life, and can really have a big impact on your livelihood - just make sure you consider all aspects of becoming a new puppy owner, and really ask yourself if it is going to suit you and your new friend in the best way.
We have a video all about new puppy owners and advice.