So you think you are ready for a new puppy! Well, that’s great. There is nothing more satisfying than watching that new Lab or Chessie puppy romp on the green gas with your kids.
There are lots of reasons a puppy is good for your family. They bring a happiness to your family that is hard not to get caught up in… Even when they chew up your wife’s new shoes they look up at you with a smile.
There are, however, a few things to remember so you can be prepared. Puppies all love to chew. I have had Labs and Goldens and they will both chew on anything! In fact, the more expensive, or new, an item is the more they like to chew it. Legs on the new dining room chairs, The leather couch, or especially any shoes left lying around are all fair game. When our children were younger, they often had the neighbor friends over to jump on the trampoline. I finally had to call the parents and tell them I would pay for the first pair of shoes the dog ruined, but kid visitor beware after that. I wasn’t going to pay for any more. We finally got smart and bought a large plastic container and labeled it “Shoes” to sit beside the tramp. Glad we thought of that.
Sometimes you just have to cry and look the other way. Years ago I had restored an old classic motorcycle. It was a beauty. I left it in the backyard one day and when I got home from work the puppy had ripped the new seat into half inch pieces along with the rubber fork boots and all the electrical wiring. I told the neighbor, who had wanted to buy it, he could have it for free as long as he came and got it right then. I figured having the leftovers gone would be healthier for the new pup. Just grin and bear it and try and puppy proof the house.
Once you make the decision that getting a dog is right for you, shopping for a new pup is really a lot of fun. It’s kind of like buying a new car except that new puppy smell is better than that of a new car. And like buying a new car, you have to do your homework.
In my opinion, you don’t pick an individual puppy as much you pick the litter. What that means is that you look at the pedigree of both parents to see if they have what you are looking for. Do they have field champion status on both top and bottom lines. Are both parents free of genetic defects in hips, elbows and eyes? Are both parents clear of Canine Neuropathy (CNM) and Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)? These are all the minimum things you should be looking for.
What do the parents look like and what kind of temperament do they have? As Forest Gump’s mother used to say (I took author’s license and changed a couple of words in the quote), “Beauty is, as beauty does.” Color, head size, and other viewable characteristics are less important than the temperament and health clearances.
Remember, considering the cost of a pup is like buying a shotgun. Years ago, I purchased a cheap shotgun because I was poor and the price was right. Afterwards,every time I pulled it up to shoot I cursed the fact that I had paid anything for it at all. Later on, I bought a quality gun and of course paid a great deal more. Every time I raised that gun to my shoulder I thought, “Man, I’m glad I paid the extra money.”
You could have this dog for up to fifteen years and he or she will become a member of the family. The kids will bond with the dog as soon as you get it home and out of the crate and you’ll be stuck with that dog – good or bad – for a long time. Make sure you take the time to make a smart and informed choice so that, as they said in The Hunger Games, “the odds are in your favor.”
Hey, I know I don’t know everything about dogs, or as my wife reminds me, I really don’t know much about anything. There are lots of other factors in getting a pup, but these things are maybe the most important. Whether you agree, or disagree, with what I have said just know that I love to talk about dogs and you can email me anytime. Good luck and good hunting.