Puppies are the most marketed age group because it is so easy. They are cute, innocent, and small -- they practically sell themselves. What is often left out is the financial, training, and time commitment involved.
Our intention is not to shame people who want to adopt puppies. Puppies are awesome! We are here to educate people, stop the cycle of dog homelessness and neglect, and promote responsible dog ownership. We urge you to do your research BEFORE adopting a dog, because it is over a decade-long commitment filled with highs and lows.
Quick recommended research tips:
-Breed characteristics (activity level, training, personality, etc.)
-Common breed medical conditions
-Puppy training (leash, crate, potty, car, socialization, etc.)
-Estimated yearly financial commitment (regular vet exams, dental cleaning, vaccinations, microchip)
-How often should you take your dog to the vet for checkups and dental cleanings?
-Does anyone living with you have allergies to dogs?
-Does your residence allow dogs?
-Are there any reasons that I would give up my dog now or down the line?
-Am I expecting a baby? Will I give up my dog because of this?
-Do I have time?
These are just a few of the things you should consider before making the decision to adopt. Because we work in dog rescue and work with shelters and owners who surrender their dogs to us, we have heard almost all of the possible reasons for why people would give up their dog. People surrender puppies and they surrender old dogs; there is not a stigma around a certain age because it just comes down to people not thinking ahead. Set yourself and your future dog up for success by putting the time and effort in now.
5 MAIN SIGNS that you are READY to adopt a puppy:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, puppies are a big commitment that require patience and time. For a good quality of life for yourself, others, and the dog, young dogs need a lot of training. Socialization, potty, and leash training are big ones. Puppies teeth and they may chew on shoes, furniture, or floorboards. Vet visits and grooming sessions also take driving time, but are so necessary to the health of your dog. They are like children! They take time and effort to get to a point where they can be independent and know your routine and expectations. Do you have the time to love and train your pup?
Activity / Stimulation
Puppies require activity - they are young and READY to explore! Frequent walks and play time help get out their energy in a positive and fun way. Activity and stimulation can also prevent destructive behaviors from developing and needing training later on in life. Some destructive behaviors are excessive barking, pacing, or separation anxiety. Going for walks is a great way to socialize your dog with other animals and people, while also getting them used to outside sounds. Not to mention, going outside is fun! Not many dogs or people want to stay cooped up inside (thanks, COVID!) but we all want to get out and socialize. Playing with your dog and including them in activities will make your bond and trust grow stronger! Do you want to include your dog in your routine? Do you want to do doggy activities?
Just like us, dogs and puppies are expensive! Think about how regularly you may get your hair done, visit the doctor or dentist, or even eat out. Regular vet visits for yearly physicals and dental cleanings can prevent costly medical conditions from cropping up in the future, like heart disease and collapsed trachea. Puppies specifically need vaccines, neuter/spay, food, toys, and home supplies. I also have a car seat with a buckle, a crate, and an exercise pen. You could say I know my way around the Amazon Prime app! Unforeseen accidents can happen at any point during the dog’s life, and it is helpful to be prepared in the event that something happens or they develop a condition. Keep this point in mind and really consider your situation when making a decision to adopt!
Your Whole Family is Ready for a Puppy
You may be asking yourself why this is one of the top points a person should consider, but I cannot tell you how many times an applicant will tell us “I am trying to convince my husband to adopt” when we are conducting a phone interview. Taking care of a dog, let alone a puppy, requires everyone in the home at some point to help take care of them. Because it will be a shared responsibility, everyone in the home needs to be 100% ready! Not only will everyone in the home be happier, but training can be more consistent and effective if everyone participates and reinforces what you are teaching them.
Even the other dog or dogs in the household should be geared up to welcome a puppy in the home. Puppies can be annoying and sometimes older dogs are not willing to put up with that drama. Keeping your current dog or dogs in mind is essential for reducing stress for your dogs and the puppy. Keep in mind how to introduce the puppy into the home as well to assure that your dog and the puppy will have a safe and welcoming introduction.
You Have Done Your Research
I cannot believe I am going to say this, but Pomeranians are not always the most ideal breed for everyone. I know, how is that even possible?!? Different breeds are different sizes, have different energy levels, and common personality traits. Understanding the breed that will best fit your life is insanely important to understanding your dog’s needs and how to prepare to meet those needs. This may not be a major point for those internet fanatics (me!!) but it is something to consider, especially for those who are first time dog owners or new to a breed. Amazon, Chewy, and Wag! are great resources for looking up highly reviewed toys, food, and supplies that your puppy will need. The AKC website also has great breed breakdowns on what to expect for their temperament, look, and training advice. Puppies in general may bark or whine in the night and training will require extensive time and consistency in order to be effective.
Research ahead of time training tips! If you go into it knowing the end goal, it makes the journey towards that goal much more clear and achievable. An end goal can help you plan for how you want to train in order to achieve that goal, and it also helps you keep in mind that training is an on-going process that cannot be done in one day and can vary from foster home to their forever home.
Let’s Get Real.
If you have said “no” to any of the five topics above, I do not recommend adopting a puppy. This may be a hard reality to come to now, but it will be an even harsher reality when you are giving away your dog. Time and poor financial preparedness are the top reasons why dogs have been surrendered to OC Pom Rescue. About 70% of our surrendered rescue dogs fall into these two categories. Around 6.5 million companion animals are put into shelters nationwide. Simply put, this is a problem.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do your research beforehand and PLAN. Companies and online sellers know what they are doing when they use marketing campaigns. From the music to the dimly lit cage the puppy resides in, they trap you into feeling like you need to save these puppies and their cute faces. What those online posts neglect to include is all of the work that you will have to put in to keep the puppy in a healthy and happy condition.
Happiness is a healthy pup and a prepared adopter!!
OC Pom Rescue exists to combat that cycle and promote positive, responsible dog ownership through education and an adoption process that holds all parties involved accountable. The puppy stage lasts about one year in their fifteen year lifespan, and that puppy stage is not just cuddles and puppy naps. There are long nights, frustration in training, stressful vet bills, and countless amounts of time and energy spent towards their care. Dogs are our best friends, and they should be treated and cared for in the best way possible! YOU make a huge difference in their life and determine their quality of life, so do yourself and your future dog a good deed by being prepared and 100% onboard!!
When or if you are ready to adopt a puppy or a young dog, you will be prepared and the best dog parent possible! Your puppy will love you all the more for it, and you will too. If you can handle having a dog, but maybe cannot put in as much time for training or indulging a young dog’s energy, consider adopting an older dog! Many of my older foster dogs came to me understanding the concept of where to potty and were more mild-mannered. The decision made really comes down to you and your unique routine. There is an amazing dog parent in everyone, and I recommend going into it prepared and eager to love!