Mason the cat next to windowsill

Hello to all of my Mason followers!  Can you believe it’s May already?  I can’t, but then again time means nothing to me unless it involves waiting to eat- then time is of the essence! 

So today, my friends, I plan to talk about puppies.  Yeah, pretty cute aren’t they?  Well, I guess if you’re into dogs…:)  So, let’s talk Puppy 101!

The first few steps of puppy ownership actually happen before bringing the cute little furball home. You need to first make sure that everyone in the house is on board (if applicable), whether it be family members, roommates or landlord.  That is very important anytime you are thinking about bringing a pet into the mix, no matter what it is.  If you are renting, your landlord will definitely need to approve your potential new family member because the last thing you want to do is bring home any pet and then have to re-home or take back to shelter.  It’s certainly not fair to the pet involved either!

Puppy sitting down

Once that is out of the way, have another group meeting with the household so that you can establish some kind of system as far as taking care of the puppy.  This can be an especially great learning experience for children and will also help teach them about responsibility and discipline (not to mention it could prove to be very useful experience later in life when they have pets of their own!).  However, parents should plan to have the ultimate responsibility to care for the pet.  That being said, if you do have children, it is highly advisable to do some homework first and look into what breeds would be a better fit.  The ASPCA has some great information on finding the right dog based on your child’s age. Establishing some ground rules and some type of care system, whether you’re dealing with adults or children before bringing the puppy home will help the transition go much more smoothly (which not only reduces stress to the humans involved but more importantly, the new puppy!).

Structure is extremely important for puppies because it’s when they are learning everything.  Although “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not a true statement, it can be more difficult.  You have to remember that these are not four-legged humans so you have to learn to be patient as well as consistent.  You can’t tell a puppy (or any animal) that it’s not OK to hop on the counter on Wednesday but it’s OK on Fridays.  Consistency is very important when it comes to training commands, too or you could end up confusing the poor puppy and definitely causing a setback in your training.  When you pick up your puppy, find out if he or she already knows some basic commands and if possible, try and stick with those if they seem to be working.  Hey, one less thing to teach them, right? 

2 dogs playing

Another vital step in puppy ownership is socialization.  This is very important and needs to be done with patience and SMARTS!  Great place to start is at GFAH!  It’s best to make the first appointment within the first week of owning the puppy (unless of course something is going on medically, then come in sooner) and if possible, in between vaccinations so that the first visit can be as positive experience as possible.  This is a great time to ask questions, address any concerns you may have and also our vets can give you a few tips on basic training and care.  GFAH can also give you good recommendations for training and even a list of trainers they recommend based on the puppy’s needs.  Now as far as socialization goes, it’s important that your puppy have all the necessary vaccinations prior to meet and greets with other dogs.  Puppies are especially susceptible to diseases since their immune systems are not mature.  Socialization with other dogs that are current on their vaccinations is the best way to socialize.    Many puppies also have intestinal parasites, while intestinal parasites are treatable, they can cause GI upset (vomiting, diarrhea, gas, etc.) and can even rob your pet of nutrition which if left untreated can lead to trouble.  Bring in a stool sample on your first visit to have tested so that if your pet needs treatment, it can receive it as soon as possible.  We can also give you proper direction on what to do in addition to any deworming medication so that you can avoid anything being passed on to another pet or possibly a person.

Well folks, I think I have “mewsed” enough for the day!  There is so much to learn about puppy ownership and not enough hours in the day!  I have compiled a list of websites that may be of some help should you be looking for a puppy at any point.  I cannot stress enough though how important it is to do some homework first!  Don’t hesitate to ask us for advice if you are unsure since we would much rather you be 100% sure and completely comfortable before you bring a puppy home!

Til next meow,