If you have finally decided to give in to your kids’ persistent requests for a puppy, there are things you need to know before you bring a new puppy home.
Choosing the right puppy is important, as it will make it easier for everyone to adjust faster. If you are planning to bring the puppy home at about eight weeks, he should already have been accustomed to a domestic environment and be well socialized.
Development of the puppy
When looking for a pet puppy, it helps to ensure that the prospective pet is well developed. An underdeveloped puppy may be severely at risk, and this might mean that you may need to spend time getting training and remedial socialization for the pet. If you expect the new puppy to spend time indoors, choose one that has been raised indoors with all the clamor of everyday living.
Interaction with people
When choosing a puppy for your kids, look for one that has been raised with the opportunity of interaction with people. A puppy raised in an outdoor kennel, garage, barn or any other isolated location is not used to being around people and more importantly, kids. The puppy may have become accustomed to constant yapping and soiling his surroundings. This physical seclusion can result in a puppy that is not prepared for household living.
At ease with strangers
Choose a puppy that is at ease when handled by strangers. You need to realize that when you bring the pet home, you are strangers to him. Puppies can become fully desensitized to daily sounds by the time they are four weeks old and should be housetrained. When you get a puppy in this state, he will be happy to play with the kids and will come, sit, follow, roll over and lie down when requested.
Exposure to stimuli
A puppy that has had exposure to different stimuli will find it easier to adjust to the new environment. Sights and sounds like screaming kids, the vacuum cleaner, loud football games on TV, pots dropping in the kitchen and other noises will be normal to the puppy. If the puppy is exposed to the sounds early enough while he still has muffled and blurred vision, he will be accustomed to them.
Sensitivity to noise
Many pups tend to be very fragile when they are young and can barely walk, and this is a good time to handle them carefully and gently. The sensitive neonatal pups do not see or hear too well but they can feel and smell. Look for a puppy that is used to noise but remembers that it is normal for puppies to react to different and unexpected loud sounds.
It is wise to choose a puppy that has received at least the preliminary injections that it needs. This will ensure that the puppy will be safe for your kids to interact with, and vice versa. If you have chosen a very young puppy which has not received the needed injections, make sure that you bring it to an animal hospital to see a vet about the injections needed for the puppy.
For your peace of mind, it helps to look for a puppy that has started housetraining. Observing the puppy for a couple of hours will allow you to identify certain habits such as what the puppy chews on and where he goes to the bathroom. Of course, above all, it is a good idea to look for a puppy that the entire family will love and remember that you are looking for a long-term relationship, not a fling!