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By Jacqui Carney at MyPuppysWorld.com

Does the thought of bringing a puppy into your life give you goosebumps of joy?

Or, does it set you into panic mode?

I’m guessing both. A new puppy is exhilarating but also a frightening concept.

Of course, it is not puppies that are frightening.

It is the responsibility of caring for, nurturing, feeding, training and keeping healthy this little helpless life that can overwhelm. If done properly, though, bringing a puppy into your life will be exhilarating and extremely rewarding.

Here are ten things you should consider before homing a puppy.

1. How much time are you willing to devote?

A puppy requires, on average, two to three hours a day of active care and another two to three hours of “comfort” care. Active care includes shopping for their basic needs, feeding, cleaning, grooming, vet visits, training and most importantly playtime. Do you have this much time in your day to devote to your puppy?

2. Is everyone on board with a new puppy?

An enthusiastic “YES” is probably your first response. Who wouldn’t want a puppy?

But on closer examination…

–Your spouse may not.

–Your neighbors may not, especially if the puppy is noisy and you live in an apartment or condo.

–Your landlord may not if the puppy happens to chew the woodwork.

–Your children may not be old enough for the safe handling of a puppy.

–Your boss may not be understanding when you have to take a morning off for an emergency vet visit.

3. Where will the puppy spend its days?

Hopefully not a garage, basement or backyard. It should be right with you!

4. Can you afford a puppy?

Even a rescue puppy has essential needs that require a new line item in your household budget. Crates, pens, food, toys, grooming expenses and piddle pads, not to mention the very costly vet bills, should all be considered above and beyond the price of your puppy.

5. Where will you get this puppy?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t answer “A Pet Store!” You are not just rescuing a sad, lonely puppy when you buy from a pet store. You are supporting an exploitive, cruel and often times illegal business. Not the pet store but the businesses that provide puppies to them. The puppy you “save” will just be replaced with another one that was born and raised under often deplorable, cold-hearted and unhealthy conditions.

Instead, please answer that you are getting your puppy from a reputable breeder or a reputable rescue organization.

6. Research, research, research. This is a huge undertaking. One that will involve you, personally and directly, for likely a minimum of eight years and possibly a wonderful twelve to sixteen years. What will your life be like sixteen years from now? What will it likely be from now until then? If you do the right research for a new puppy now, those years will be much more fulfilling and delightful; and, disappointments will be kept to a minimum. Write down what your ideal puppy will be like. Visit dog shows. Talk to dog owners. Know the pros and cons of each breed. All this will be a huge help.

7. What time of year will you bring your puppy home?

If you work, maybe your vacation would be a good time. If you live in the cooler climates or your children are in school, maybe summer will be a better time. Maybe your ideal breeder doesn’t have a puppy available right this minute. Just put a little thought into all of this. Impulsive decisions are often regrettable ones.

8. Where will your puppy sleep?

I wish I had a dollar for every family that told me the puppy will sleep in its crate in the kitchen only to relate a week later that the puppy sleeps in their bed! Is this a terrible thing? Of course not. But the puppy does need his own special, private place. If it’s in your bedroom that’s fine. If you don’t want him there all day long as well, make sure to give him a special place in the main part of the house where he can hear and, ideally, see you.

9. Who will care for this puppy when you cannot?

It is not a good idea to send a puppy to a boarding kennel for a number of reasons. Most will not even accept puppies. So, if you have to be out of the house for six to eight hours you will need to line up some caretakers. A neighbor, a friend, a student, a dog sitter…lots of options because everyone loves a puppy. Just make sure you have yours identified.

10. What breed is best?

Large or small? Long hair (grooming) or short (shedding)? Energetic or a couch potato? Good with children? Good with other dogs? The list goes on forever and I will discuss the attributes of many breeds in different posts. Again, just do the research and make your choice based on reason, not emotion. It matters!

Any advice to offer?

Have you recently brought a puppy into your life? What advice would you give to future puppy families that might save them some time, trouble or heartache?

You can reach me, Jacqui Carney, at http://mypuppysworld.com

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