To Pup, Or Not To Pup...

I have been thinking for quite some time about getting a pup. I am in love, love, love with German Shepherds. They are so beautiful and every time I see one during my walks my heart skips a beat. I have been talking to KC, a fellow dog owner about the do's and don'ts of owning a pup. My whole life I have been a cat person. Cats are laid back, take care of themselves for the most part, and just hang out. Dogs seem like a HUGE responsibility and require way more attention than cats. Also, you have to train them with certain things as to not have behavioral issues when they are grown. This would be a problem. My youngest cat, Anthony Jr. is a hellion! Out of control. He is too cute for me to really train him to stop doing bad things. My favorite excuse is: "He's just a baby". He's not. He will be three this year. I feel Anthony Jr. owns me rather I owning him. Just look at that spoiled face:

I have so many questions and I feel stupid asking them. Like, what should I do with said pup while at work? I already own a home with a fenced in back yard but is it safe to leave pup outside during the day? How will pup adapt to my boys? How in world to you manage to poop train them? I am gone from 7 am until 6 that enough time to devote to a pup? How often do you walk pup? Am I really cut out for this?

I am thinking about it more because a friend of KC's has a GS who has had pups. They are mix with some other breed, who's name escapes me at the moment, so the result would be a smaller version of a GS. The plus side: Price? Zero Dollars. Free to a good home. The only issue is my home good enough? I just don't know. I want to give one hundred percent and it seems like a heavy commitment. Any thoughts?


B April 1, 2009 at 8:04 PM  

A dog is a huge responsibility, you're absolutely right. It is almost like have a child, that never grows up. They don't feed themselves, they don't let themselves out and they need constant guidance and direction.

Having said that... having my dog is the greatest joy of my life. I've had Dougal since he was 6 weeks old. He has saved me in ways I can not explain.

When I first brought him home, I took a week off to help him get acclimated. I crate trained him. It gave him a safe place when I was away from the house and also helped house train him. I had to take him out every 1 1/2 to 2 hours (as recommended by the vet) until he learned to signal when he had to go out (he puts a paw on my knee and whines a little, then walks to the door). As they get older they get better bladder control. Dougal can make it through a full 8 hours of sleep without waking up to go out.

We walk for at least an hour a day. Thirty minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon, longer on weekends. You already walk/run, so just take the pup with you. The more you exercise them the less behavioral issues you have. The amount you need to walk them really depends on the energy level of the dog. Dougal is pretty laid back. He'd be fine with a thirty minute walk, but for his health we walk more.

How is the mother and father of the pups? That is important to look at. If they are laid back, then you may have a similar personality in the puppies, but not always.

German Sheperd's as a breed, require daily brushing of their coat and vet's now recommend daily brushing of the teeth as well. The breed is very smart so you'll need to be firm with training.

Just an idea of my daily routine:

5:00 AM wake - Walk Dougal for 30 minutes.
5:30 AM - Feed/water Dougal. Give joint supplements.
5:45-6:30 AM - get ready and go to work.
3:00 PM - Arrive home. Walk Dougal for 30 minutes.
3:30 PM - Brush Dougal.
3:45 PM - Feed Dougal.
4:15 PM - Clean Dougal's ears (once a week)
4:25 PM - Brush Dougal's teeth.
5:00 PM - Another short walk with Dougal and my boyfriend.
5:30 PM - 6:15 PM - Dinner/cleanup
6:30 PM - Playtime with Dougal (tennis ball, Kong Snugga Wubba or firehose toy)
7:00 PM - Dougal usually settles down so we can watch TV.
9:45 PM - Dougal's last time out for the night.
10:00 PM - Set up Dougal's bed in bedroom/put up baby gates/place couch guards on couch

I get to sleep in a little later on weekends but not much. It's a big time commitment. If I make plans I have to be sure one of us is home to take him out and feed him. If we want to go out of town we need to find a dogsitter.

I know people say it's a big responsibility, but in all the dog books I've read (A LOT!), they never outline what your day will look like. The outline I gave is current. When he was a pup, there was training,extra walking and socializing.

They are completely worth it and it is easy to make the time. It's even easier if you and your husband work different shifts.

Sorry that was so long. I have a lot to say about puppylove.


PennyLane April 2, 2009 at 10:37 AM  

Thanks B!
I was so happy to get this detailed information! I have been asking my co-workers with pups questions but they just kind of give me the short of it :)

This was super informative.
I thought of investing in a book and I found out I am able to go spend time with Mommy and Daddy pup and even baby pup until he is ready.

Another cool thing is the pup lives with several cats already! Which is great since I have two boys already. I think I am going to try to set up a meeting next week to meet them :)

Thank you again! Kisses to Dougal :) <3

B April 2, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

Glad to hear you'll get to meet the parents and spend time with the pups before hand!

I think it's the best decision I've ever made. I love Dougal so much and can barely remember what life was like before him.

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