You want to get a puppy? Do you have dogs already, what breed, should you rescue, will the kids really look after it, do you really have time? These are all good questions and ones that you should think about before bringing an 8-12 week old puppy into your home.

Choose your breed wisely! Find out the pros and cons (herding versus scenting, hairy versus flat or curly coat), talk to other owners if you can, find a local breed club. Think about what size the pup will be when full grown (if you have a small home you probably don’t want a large dog!). There maybe a local breed rescue with young dogs in need of homes (you may be able to skip housetraining!). Don’t choose a breed on looks alone, breed characteristics have been selected over many generations and they will not go away. If you don’t want your kids to be herded, don’t get a herding dog! The American Kennel Club is a good resource for information on breeds and there are many on-line resources. Go meet the breeder, the puppies and the Mama dog (if possible). Talk to the breeder about your wants and any concerns you have.

If you already have dogs, think about the introductions, how will you keep a pup safe from the others while they get used to each other. Never leave a young pup alone with an older dog.

If you haven’t had a puppy before or for some time, you should consider talking to a positive reward based dog trainer about setting up your home and being prepared for the first few weeks with pup.   Get an X-pen and/or crate- these provide safe zones for puppy.   Be prepared with puppy food (usually a breeder will give you a small supply), it is not easy for puppies to change food suddenly and it should be phased gradually over 2 weeks. Get water and food bowls, pick out dog beds and toys for the puppy. Get a harness and leash- don’t buy an expensive one because the pup will out grow this fairly quickly.

But a good supply of Nature MiracleTM, this is an awesome cleaner for puppy accidents (and there will be some!). Think about where the puppy will be during the day, during the night, when you leave the house.

Find a good vet, you will need one almost right away to complete pups vaccinations. Ask around for recommendations, ask your trainer.

Some puppies take a year to get housetrained, although most get this within 6 months, some breeds are resistant. Housetraining takes time and lots of patience; plan for two weeks at home with the new pup so you can take them out every two hours and remember you may have to get up in the night too.

Puppies are really delightful but a lot of work. Many children get bored with puppies once they grow up and the responsibility will always fall to the adult person who is home most.

Chose your trainer; ask about positive training methods; sign up for private training and /or a group puppy class. The AKC Puppy Star class is a great start for any puppy.