Robin and I were at a Home Dog Training Session last week with a client in Alpharetta and she mentioned that she was thinking about getting a new puppy for her kids and to give their current dog, a three year old Samoyed, a friend to play with. She was wondering if that was a good idea and if we had any thoughts about it. This is something that happens all the time and can work out well or really poorly. Of course we had some suggestions…
There are a lot of items at play here, so let me try to go through them one at a time. First, let’s address getting a dog because you think your dog is lonely or wants another dog to play with. In most cases, this is not what your dog is thinking. Most dogs are very happy and content as “your dog” and don’t need to share that role with another dog. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be fine if you get another dog, it is just not on their list of things they want.
If you do get a new dog or puppy, introduce the new puppy to your current dog before you make your final decision regarding bringing him home. Some dogs just don’t get along together and you don’t need to put either of them at risk unnecessarily. Take your current dog and the new puppy to a neutral location. Have them both on leashes and allow them to great each other. It you feel any tension, aggression, or adrenaline, back them off for a few minutes and try again. If they eventually sniff each other, play, or just lie down next to each other, you probably will have no problem with them in the future. Even after that, watch out for toy or food aggression.
Now, let’s move on to giving a puppy as a gift. The first “really big no-no” is to give a puppy or any animal as a “surprise gift”. If the puppy and the recipient don’t “hit it off”, it is not the same as returning the I-Pad to Best Buy for a store credit. Giving a puppy to someone is a big deal and needs careful thought before it takes place. Let’s go over a list of things to consider.
- Does the recipient truly want a puppy or are they just fond on playing with them? Playing is fun, but if they aren’t going to step up to the responsibility of ownership, it won’t work.
- Who is going to take care of the puppy? If nobody steps up, it won’t work.
- Can they afford the cost of a puppy? Remember that dog food, Vet bills, dog insurance, crates, toys, dog treats, dog beds, dog day care, training, etc. can create a very big bill very quickly.
- Is there room in their lifestyle for a puppy? Like a child, they simply can’t leave for a weekend in Savannah without making proper arrangements for their puppy. Do they find a dog-friendly hotel, get a pet sitter, or board at a doggie day care? Do they work long hours and need a dog walker to come in the middle of the day? Do they have the time to properly bond with the puppy?
- Is their home conducive to having a puppy? Will the inevitable barking generate complaints from the neighbors? Do they have a back yard or a fenced in area nearby where they can exercise the puppy? Does their neighborhood allow dogs?
- If for a child, has the child shown willingness in the past to take responsibility for things? Does their child have the time to perform the needed chores and spend the quality time with their puppy?
If you have made it through these hurdles (there are more, but the above list includes a lot of the deal breakers), you have to think about what kind of puppy you are going to give. Let’s look at this list.
- Do not pick a puppy because you like it. Remember that is not your dog. You are giving it to someone.
- Take your recipient to the Humane Society and Pet Shops to look and play with puppies and young dogs. Watch dogs at dog parks and around the neighborhood. Remember that the little puppy will quickly grow into an adult dog and stay that way for a long, long time. Let them start to narrow down what is important for them.
- Do your own research on Google to validate that the breeds you are considering fit the family’s lifestyle.
- Consider if you will be looking for the dog from a local breeder, Rescue Group, Humane Society, or pet store. Robin and I both strongly recommend looking at the Humane Society or Rescue Groups. We have five great dogs from Rescue Groups and three of them came to us as puppies. Always do your homework regarding any organization. Ask your friends, neighbors, and co-workers where they got their dogs and what they thought of the experience.
- When you finally are ready to make the decision, let the dog choose you.
Now you are ready to bring the puppy home. You can contact us at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help. We have compiled all of our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Alpharetta Georgia.