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Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

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Are you Really Ready for a Puppy?

January 15th, 2013 at Tue, 15th, 2013 at 11:48 am by Diane Rich

On your Mark, Get Set, Parent!

c Diane Rich 2013
A giant breed = a larger vehicle

Ok, you had dogs growing up and have always loved dogs. Now, you want one. Or, the kids wanted a puppy so you caved. Maybe you are an empty nester and now that the kids are off to college the house is too quiet. Maybe you are newly single, a little lonely and want a companion that won’t judge you and will always be happy to see you. Maybe you want a jogging or hiking companion or just want a TV buddy.

You have been researching breeds online, even considered rescuing a dog but the desire to get a puppy is the way you want to go.

You are leaning towards breeds you have had in the past or breeds you have come to love through your friends. You research breed information on line, buy breed and training books  and even though you hear how time consuming it can be to raise a pup properly, you think no problem, you have found the breed you want and are ready. At least emotionally.

There seems to be a puppy explosion and 2013 has been super busy helping pet parents train their new pups. My clients are not complaining but are surprised as to how much work parenting a pup can be and how much they have spent so far from purchase to supplies, Vet visits and of course training.  It is not over yet, my friends.

c Diane Rich 2013
Family has committed to early training for their 10 week old Bulldog puppy

c Diane Rich 2013
Adult Shiba Inu helping me train a 7 week old Shiba pup

You have found your dream puppy. You want to do all the right things. Your credit card is vibrating from all the fun excursions to the pet store or buying from on line suppliers.  You were surprised as to how much your first Vet visit was but are in puppy love and will think about the expense later.  Until you find out how much it costs to keep your Standard Poodle groomed!

c Diane Rich 2013

The first few days the pup follows you around like you are a rock star.   Now, you can’t find him. Oh, there he is, chewing on a corner of the sofa.

You gather him up, all is well again, and instead of confining him or supervising him when you can’t watch him as has been suggested from your training books you want him to romp around the house. You think it is mean to crate or confine a puppy and want to answer some emails and upload photos of the new addition on facebook. He will be fine.

During what you feel is a short time on line, you think you better check on him. You find him and notice he has peed in the house and has also developed a taste for your shoes. You try to grab him and he bites your fingers.

Even though you don’t want to crate him you have tried to crate him at night and he screams like you are torturing him. As this is the third night of his loud protests from his comfy, cozy crate you are so exhausted you cave again and bring him in bed with you to shut him up.

c Diane Rich 2013

He wakes you up during the night, you take him out and he has diarrhea.  You love him but you didn’t realize things would be this challenging. You schedule another Vet visit to see about the diarrhea and the Vet discovers he has parasites and is now on medication.  His medication costs more than your medication.

You try to walk him and he is biting at the leash or if not pulling you everywhere just sits and won’t budge and seems to take forever to go potty. You call him and can’t figure out why he won’t come to you.

He has only been in your life 3 weeks. Thank, DOG he’s cute

c Diane Rich 2013

You know it is important to start housetraining your pup so you come home from work to take the pup out to potty as you know he can’t hold it all day.  You were under the belief your family was on board to help help with picking up daily puppy poo, helping with the feeding schedule and taking him for Vet visits or out for daily walks. You were under the impression the whole family will attend puppy classes and help with training. You were wrong.

c Diane Rich 2013
Pups do not grow up to be the dog of your dreams without putting a lot of time into their education and daily exercise.

Are all these scenarios normal, sure they are. Is it easy.  Absolutely not.  It is time consuming. Yeah.
c Diane Rich 2013

Hopefully a puppy fills your life, not just a temporary emotional void. Hopefully your research has included not just an overview of breed characteristics but how much it costs annually to properly care for the dog throughout what will hopefully be a long life.   Hopefully you realistically factor in your lifestyle, living situation, travel, kid’s schedules and what it will take to do right by your dog.

Parenting a puppy is work. Maybe even a labor of love. If you understand all parenting involves, stay the course you will be rewarded with years of smiles.  It is worth the effort.

Puppy woofs,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

I have been training dogs and their people for over 25 years. I work with pups from 7 weeks old to senior plus dogs and offer basic obedience to advanced off leash training both privately and group classes. Other services include behavior consultations to help both ends of the leash with everything from aggression, puppy/dog manners and public manners to separation anxiety. As a "real world" dog trainer, I take training out of the classroom or home when both the pet and family are ready, and take training to the street. I also offer pet therapy training classes preparing both the handler and dog for their therapy test and future service as a therapy team. I also coordinate several pet therapy programs in the Seattle area. My complete bio, description of services, class dates and on line class registration is listed on my website at

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