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The Ultimate Guide to Adopting a Puppy for the First Time

There are over 75 million dogs owned in the United States. Most people love bringing a new dog into their home.

Are you thinking of adopting a puppy? First, you need to make sure that you know what you're getting into.

Luckily, we've got the information you need to prepare yourself. Check out this guide to adopting a puppy.

Adopt, Don't Shop

People should always adopt pets from shelters and rescue organizations instead of buying them from pet stores or breeders. This helps to reduce the number of animals that are euthanized in shelters and to promote responsible pet ownership.

Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization can also be less expensive than buying one from a breeder or pet store.

Additionally, many shelter pets have already had proper socialization and even training, making the transition to their new home easier for both the pet and their new owner.

Visit local shelters or rescue organizations to meet adoptable puppies and find one that you connect with.

Consider The Price

The cost of adopting a puppy from a rescue or shelter can vary, but it is usually significantly less expensive than purchasing a puppy from a breeder. The cost can range from $50 to $500, depending on the organization or location.

Some organizations may charge a flat fee, while others may have a sliding scale based on the puppy's age or breed. You may also have to pay additional fees for vaccinations, microchipping, or spaying/neutering.

There are also maintenance costs to consider when adopting a puppy, just like with a child.

Doos is obviously a major cost. A small breed puppy may cost around $30 to $50 per month for food, while a large breed puppy can cost $50 to $100 per month.

There is also healthcare to think about. An initial visit to the vet can cost around $50 to $200, depending on the services provided. Annual checkups, vaccinations, and parasite control can cost between $200 to $400. Emergencies or unexpected health problems can be much more expensive.

You need to get your dog trained up too. That can be costly. Basic obedience classes can cost between $50 to $150 per session.

And, dogs need to be groomed. Grooming costs vary depending on the breed, but a basic grooming session can cost around $50 to $100.

Understand The Commitment

Puppies are a huge commitment. Even if you're a long-term dog owner, you might not know (or you might have forgotten) just how much goes into taking care of them.

Taking care of a puppy requires providing them with proper nutrition, exercise, socialization, and training. It is also important to ensure that they receive regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations.

Puppies also need to be house-trained and taught basic obedience commands. Additionally, it is important to provide them with a safe and comfortable living environment and to spend quality time with them.

Of course, you'll need to walk your puppy. 

The frequency of walks needed for a puppy can vary depending on their age, breed, and size. Generally, puppies need to be taken out to relieve themselves every few hours, as well as after meals and naps. As they get older, they will be able to hold their bladder and bowel movements for longer periods of time.

In general, it is recommended that puppies are taken for at least two to three walks per day, with each walk lasting about 15 to 20 minutes for every month of age (up to about an hour for adult dogs).

For example, a 2-month-old puppy would need at least 30 minutes of walk time per day, while a 4-month-old puppy would need at least an hour of walk time per day.

It's important to note that puppies also need opportunities for physical activity and mental stimulation beyond just walks, such as supervised playtime in a secure area, training sessions, and interactive toys to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

It's also important to remember always to supervise your puppy during their walks, to keep them safe and to keep your community safe.

Look For The Right Temperament

Research different breeds and their characteristics to find the right fit for your lifestyle and living situation.

Some dogs, for example, are better suited to living with families that have small children. Others are well-suited to single-person households.

Some popular breeds that are known for being of fair temperament as puppies include:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Bulldog
  • Poodle
  • Australian Shepherd

When you're adopting, you're more likely to end up with a mixed-breed dog. This is actually good news, because mixed-breed dogs tend to have better health (but don't always) and better temperaments. 

Get Your Home Ready

Prepare your home for the puppy's arrival by puppy-proofing and stocking up on necessary supplies such as food, bowls, a crate, and toys.

Just like a baby, a puppy will explore everything in their reach with their mouths, so it's important to remove any potential hazards such as toxic plants, medications, cleaning products and anything that can be swallowed.

Create a designated sleeping area for your new puppy. This can be a crate or a small room with a comfortable bed, blankets, and toys.

Set up an area for feeding and watering: This should be in a quiet, low-traffic area of the house, away from their sleeping area.

Consider different ways your dog can relieve itself when you're not home or in the middle of the night. This will reduce the frequency of accidents.

Just like any creature, puppies love toys. Puppies need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, so make sure to have a variety of toys available for them to play with.

You also need to take measures to keep your home (and your puppy) safe.

Block off any areas that are off-limits. This includes rooms or areas that are not puppy-proofed or that you don't want them to access, such as bedrooms or bathrooms.

If you have a yard, make sure to secure any potential hazards, such as poisonous plants, and keep the gates closed and locked.

Decide What Happens When You Get the Dog

When you're bringing home a furry friend, you'll need to make a plan for potty training and basic obedience training. Puppies will need to be taken outside frequently and will require patience and consistency in training.

Schedule a vet visit for the puppy as soon as possible to ensure it is healthy and to discuss any vaccinations or preventative care that may be needed.

Provide plenty of love, attention and exercise for your new puppy. Remember, puppies are a big responsibility and require a lot of time and patience to raise.

Make sure to socialize your puppy, expose them to different people, animals, and environments to help them become well-adjusted adult dogs.

Get familiar with your local laws. You need to know if your puppy is allowed to be off-leash, and the rules around waste disposal.

Lastly, consider enrolling in a puppy training class, as it will be a great way to bond with your new puppy and learn how to train them effectively.

You should also prepare for worst-case scenarios. Get your dog microchipped and make sure they have a collar with ID tags in case they get lost. 

Enjoy Life

Once you have a puppy in your home, enjoy yourself! Give your dog plenty of love, attention, and patience as they adjust to their new home and family.

Dogs are a commitment for a significant period of your life, so ensure you know what you're getting into before going down to the dog shelter.

The lifespan of a dog can vary depending on the breed, but the average lifespan of a domestic dog is around 10 to 13 years. Smaller breeds tend to have longer lifespans than larger breeds.

For example, a Chihuahua can live for up to 15 years, while a Great Dane's lifespan is around 7 to 8 years. Proper care, nutrition and regular veterinary check-ups can also play a role in a dog's longevity.

It's also important to note that certain breeds are prone to certain health issues that may affect their lifespan. Genetic predispositions, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices also play a role in the lifespan of a dog.

In general, if a dog is well-cared for and receives regular veterinary check-ups, it is likely to have a longer lifespan. However, if you do spot changes in your new puppy's behavior or health, bring them into a veterinarian ASAP. This will help ensure you catch any problems before they spiral out of control.

What To Do If You Already Have a Dog

If you already have a dog in your home, you'll have to take steps to ensure your dogs integrate well together.

You'll want to take a gradual approach to the situation. Start by keeping the two dogs separated and allowing them to sniff each other through a barrier, such as a closed door or baby gate. Gradually increase the time they spend together, being sure to supervise their interactions closely.

Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior from both dogs. Give them treats and praise when they are calm and relaxed around each other

Regardless of your species, boundaries are always important. Make sure that each dog has its own space, such as a crate or bed, where it can retreat if it feels uncomfortable. Also, establish clear rules and boundaries for the dogs to follow.

Keep the first meeting short and positive. It's best not to overwhelm either dog with a long introduction session.

And, like children, dogs like to ensure that they're getting their due. Provide enough food, water, and toys for both dogs to avoid competition and conflicts.

If either dog shows signs of aggression or discomfort, separate them and try again later. This will help prevent longer-term problems.

It's important to be patient and consistent throughout the process, and to remember that it may take some time for the dogs to become friends. With patience, positive reinforcement, and proper training, the two dogs can learn to coexist and even become friends.

Be Patient With Puppy

It is important to be patient when dealing with a new puppy. Keep in mind that puppies are still learning and developing, and they may not understand or obey commands right away.

Just because it hasn't clicked for your new puppy yet, doesn't mean it won't. Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't an opportunity to try different strategies.

The most common strategy for puppy training is positive reinforcement. Use treats, praise, and positive attention to reward your puppy when they do well. This will help them learn what behaviors are desired.

Consistency is always important when it comes to puppy training. Use the same commands and training methods consistently so that your puppy can learn what is expected of them.

Always avoid using punishment or physical force. Instead of punishing your puppy when they make a mistake, redirect their behavior and reward them when they do well. Just like with children, negative reinforcement is just a recipe for future issues.

If you're struggling, don't be afraid to bring in professionals. Consider seeking the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist. They can provide you with personalized advice and guidance, and have experience understanding the needs of individual situations or individual dogs.

Adopting a Puppy: Start Today

There's a lot to do when you're adopting a puppy. Hopefully, you now have some idea of how to get started.

So, it's time to start shopping to get your home ready. Check out GottaGo Grass and decide whether it's right for your future puppy's needs.

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