Nine things that anyone who's ever owned a puppy will know

Puppy Awareness Week covers the very serious issue of responsible puppy buying. It’s also a chance to celebrate healthy, happy puppies who have been well-bred, and well-matched with their new families.

If you’ve adopted a puppy from us, or bought from a responsible breeder – you’ll know that caring for a young dog can be a heartwarming, hilarious, and sometimes exhausting experience. Here are nine things that anyone who’s ever owned a puppy will know!

1.That nothing compares to that fresh puppy smell, until they discover the wonders of rolling in fox poo.

A healthy puppy will have dry, clean smelling skin and shiny, soft fur. Unfortunately, a healthy puppy will also quickly discover all the fun things there are to roll in! Luckily, grooming is a great bonding activity for you and your pup.

2. How to walk to the veterinary surgeon backwards, with your eyes shut – as well as your vets first name, middle name, and favourite colour.

With all of your puppy’s check-ups, appointments for vaccinations, worming, treating for fleas and neutering, along with any surprise visits, you’re going to be spending quite a lot of time together! This also makes insurance for your new dog an essential purchase.

3. The perfect emergency carpet clean procedure, and the emergency puppy exit dance.

Accidents happen! It takes puppies a while to learn basic control, and toilet training is an important part of your bonding process. The key is staying patient and positive – never punish them for mistakes – as well as knowing the signs for when you and your puppy need to take a trip outside, and having a good rug-spray to hand.

Puppy outside in a garden © RSPCA

4. How to perform a hazard check at lightening-speed.

Everyone loves how curious and playful new puppies are – but their curiosity can also get them into trouble, and fast! You’ll quickly learn how to scan any new space for potential hazards, and keep them away from your puppy.

5. The one treat that your puppy will do absolutely anything for.

Finding your puppy’s favourite treat will be invaluable for the training that the two of you will be doing for years to come. But don’t be surprised if it’s not what you’d expect. Favourite treats are often small pieces of meat or cheese. Just make sure it’s safe for your dog to eat, that you’re not giving them too many treats and that you’re still feeding them regular nutritious meals.

6. That a good dog trainer can be a life-saver, or can at least save a bit of your sanity.

A good trainer makes the process of ‘sit’, ‘lie-down’, and ‘don’t run away with my socks’, a whole lot easier. Regular training classes are also a great chance for you and your youngster to bond, and for them to meet new dogs and people in a positive environment – there’s going to be a lot of interested sniffing!

7. How even the smallest of puppies can manage to seem like they’re in two places at once.

Healthy, happy puppies are very active, and surprisingly fast. It can be hard to keep an eye on them when they’re forever dashing around. But you’ll also learn how invaluable a secure and enriching environment – and an endless supply of tennis balls – can be.

8. Where the phrase ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ comes from.

Puppies can be whirlwinds of energy, but they also really need their sleep. Having a safe, quiet place where your puppy can go to rest undisturbed is important. A crate, or comfy bed in a quiet corner, is invaluable.

9. That getting a puppy is just the beginning.

Your new canine pal won’t be a puppy forever, but they’re going to need your love, support and attention for the rest of their lives. Making a puppy a part of your family is a huge commitment, but it’s also the start of an incredible relationship.

Thinking about getting a puppy?

If you’re ready for the task of puppy-raising, then it’s important that you take the right steps to end up with a puppy who’s healthy and happy. This includes having the time and money to make the commitment, choosing a dog who’s right for you and – if you decide to buy from a breeder – ensuring that you buy from someone responsible.

Choosing a good breeder can make the difference between taking home a healthy, well-adjusted new puppy, and unwittingly funding the cruel puppy trade. Watch our video on spotting a puppy trader, and read about the Puppy Contract.

We also have so many dogs in our care – both the young, and the young-at-heart – who are just waiting for loving new homes. Find dogs near you.

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