Homepage At-Home Pet Care The Joys — and Pain — of a New Puppy

The Joys — and Pain — of a New Puppy

English Springer Spaniel puppy with toy in his mouth
Our new puppy, Sami

You’ve read recently about picking a breed of dog and where to locate that perfect puppy. Now let’s talk about the first couple of months of puppy ownership — both the joys and pains.

The amount of time and commitment you will need to spend with your puppy in the first couple of months is much like caring for an infant. It’s round-the-clock — your only breaks come when the pup is sleeping or safely tucked away in their crate.

Puppies are either playing, eating, or drinking, putting things into their mouths, eliminating, or sleeping. That’s pretty much it. So, that should give you an idea of what you will be monitoring for the first couple of months.

Florida state law says a puppy must be eight weeks old to be sold and must be inspected by an accredited veterinarian. This generally includes a first set of vaccines, several oral de-wormings, and a fecal analysis. Once your puppy is home, the fun — and full-time care — begins.

Watching a puppy first learn to go up steps is a wonder to behold. Having a puppy trust you enough to become like Jell-O in your arms and lick you gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. Watching him fall all over himself as he learns to run is funnier than watching Jim Carrey’s facial antics. One of my favorite entertainments is watching my two-year-old English Springer spaniel drag my 13-week-old puppy across the terrazzo floor as they learn to share the same toy.

But in the face of all this fun, it’s still a lot of work monitoring your puppy (Does he need to go out? Again? What is in your mouth this time!) and entertaining him, which my older dog help with.

You should plan on getting less sleep the first couple of weeks as you will need to take your pup outside several times throughout the night until he gets better control of his bladder. House-breaking your puppy comes with a caution: You need to have the time during the day and night to take your young puppy out to potty. Dogs make great companions, but they may not be right for everyone.

This copyrighted article first appeared in the Residences section of The Palm Beach Post. It may have been updated since its original publication.