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Jazz at seven weeks
A puppy can add so much joy to the household that it is unimaginable. However, it is something that I would recommend only if one has the time, patience and will make, almost, as much of a commitment to raising that puppy as they would to raise their children.

A puppy is a living, breathing and sensitive creature that offers something that most humans cannot. "Unrequited Love." It is not something that should be brought home with the thought, "If it doesn't work out we'll get rid of it."

Before you find that perfect pet.

Before going out to find that perfect pet, sit down, with your children, if they will be involved, and discuss what having a puppy will entail.  This is probably the most important thing you should do before making that final decision.  Give this "a lot" and I repeat, "a lot" of thought.  In fact, if you have never had a dog before, it is even more important for "you" to know what is involved. 

Having a new puppy in your home is not an easy task.  Unfortunately, most people have no idea how much work it takes to raise a dog.  I was one of those, many years ago; I was "totally clueless" and ended up returning my first dog because I was ignorant as to what it entailed.

The next most important part of your job, before you even start looking, is deciding upon what kind of a dog to get.

How large a dog do you want when it grows to full size? Remember a dog like a Yellow Lab, which can be a great family dog, can grow to 70 to 80 pounds and more. Can you handle a dog that size and do you have the room for him/her to run around?

What kind of dog is best suited to the family with young or infant children?    Young children, yes, I know they are your little angels and can do no wrong, can be very hard on a puppy, pulling their ears or tails, hitting the dog, etc.

Think about the temperament of the dog that you will be getting. Some breeds are much more tolerant of children and will put up with a lot of abuse, whereas others do not have the patience to tolerate the kids and could be a little snappy. If you have young children, it behooves you to do your homework.

Where do you go to find your new family member?

Before going anywhere, go online, research what type of dog will fit into your family. Either look into adopting a puppy from an Animal Shelter, or, if you want a specific breed, look into the specific breed rescue organizations. There is a rescue organization for almost all breeds of dogs. This way you will be saving a dogs life.

Do you have the time to house break your puppy?

Once you get your puppy home, what are you going to do with him? Without going into extensive detail about training and raising your puppy, you can write volumes about this, in this article, we will just discuss the basics of house breaking your puppy.

Your puppy will come home with an extensive knowledge of how to do four things without being taught. Peeing, Pooping, Chewing and Eating. Without your knowing how to control things from the very beginning, your little poop factory will be doing it all over the house in addition to trying to chew whatever he can get his teeth into, that includes children's toys and your expensive furniture too.

House breaking your puppy takes time, and if you don't do it correctly from the start, all you will do is to prolong the agony. Don't blame the dog. He is only doing what is natural. He doesn't know the rules of the house yet, that's were you come in. You're the teacher.

If you work, the best thing you can do is take a few days off.  That doesn't mean you can go shopping, that means spending time with your puppy.

Be prepared to take the little guy out every hour or so. This may sound like over kill, but believe me, in the end, the time you put into it now will pay off in the future. When you take your little buddy out don't take him/her for a walk. Go out your door to a particular spot and just let him sniff around that same spot each time you go out.  If he eliminates, praise him by making a big fuss about it. "Good puppy." Pet him, give him a treat, etc. At that point if you want to take him for a walk you can.  If he doesn't do anything, just go right back in. Don't go for a walk, give a treat or anything else.

You want to make a big deal about going out to do his business. Once he learns that going out to do his business is a big deal, he will want to go to that spot to eliminate, as opposed to doing it in the house. This doesn't mean that there won't be accidents.  It means that it will take a lot less time for puppy to learn not to go in the house.

One last thing about taking your puppy out. "Pick up the poop!"  If there is anything people can't stand and don't have patience for, are inconsiderate pet owners that don't pick up.

This is only the beginning.

Bring home that puppy only if you are willing to make that long term commitment. Oh yes, don't depend on the kids who promise you that they will take care of the puppy. That lasts about two days, then it falls on your shoulders.
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