March 28: Respect Your Cat Day

Did you know cats can make about 100 sounds? Cats are not only intuitive about their surroundings, but they want to communicate what they’ve learned, isn’t that amazing! Now, it’s time cats receive the loving respect they so deserve, so today, it’s time to celebrate them for their unique personalities and loving affection. 

With this guide, we’ll take a look at how to best respect your cat and celebrate them on respect your cat day. From learning how to pet your cat properly to trimming your cat’s nails correctly, you can learn how to be aware of your cat’s boundaries.  

Now, are you ready to get started? Here’s a quick look at how to celebrate your cat: 

Learn How to Pet Your Cat Properly 

Cats, like humans, are complex creatures, and because of that, showing affection towards your cat can be difficult at times. You may have already noticed incidences where you’ve pet your cat, and their mood has immediately changed.  

Well, unlike dogs, cats are more sensitive. After all, cats don’t generally like their belly scratched or petted. Instead, cats prefer to have their head and neck massaged. If you pet your cat properly, they’ll show you the same affection back. 

Make Sure Your Cat Isn’t Bored 

While it’s true, cats aren’t as high maintenance or as needy as dogs, that doesn’t mean they don’t need attention. One of the best ways to give them attention, especially if you’re busy throughout the day, is with a toy. 

There are numerous toys you can buy, from wind-up robotic toys to food dispensing toys; your cat will surely love each one. However, don’t let these toys replace the time you should physically spend with your cat. 

Trim Your Cat’s Nails Correctly 

Trimming your cat’s nails might be difficult, but don’t give up just yet. Here’s why: if you stop trimming their nails, it could put your cat’s health in danger. 

After all, nails never stop growing, so if you stop trimming them, you’ll only put your cat at risk. In fact, indoor cats are more susceptible to injuries due to household furniture and fabric. For instance, cats may get their long nails stuck in carpet fibers, resulting in your cat tearing its nail.

Other problems occur when the nail itself becomes so long that it curves inward towards the pad. This can cause an infection and make your cat’s paw not only hurt but become sensitive. Thus, trimming your cat’s nails is necessary to ensure your cat has healthy nails.    

Celebrate Respect Your Cat Day Now 

There’s no better way to celebrate Respect Your Cat Day than considering your cat’s boundaries, health needs, and attention span. Make sure you give him or her all the love by being aware and conscientious of their space. 

Don’t try to force anything on your cat. Instead, let your cat tell you what they like or dislike.  

Dog Park Tips: When Is It Okay to Take Your Puppy to a Dog Park?

There are at least 810 dog parks in the USA by the beginning of 2020. There was an increase of 37 parks in 2019.

But having a dog park available to you doesn’t mean that’s all you need to know. You’re no doubt concerned about when to start introducing your little furry baby to other dogs en masse. You want to get the advantages of early socializing without injury, illness, or other fears.

We understand, which is why we’ve done the research and brought you the best ways to get you and your pup ready. Keep reading to find out!

All Vaccinations Are Complete: Time to Play

Most puppies get all their vaccinations by the time they’re 16 weeks old. If you wait until adolescence (about 6 months old) it could engrain difficult-to-break bad habits. That said, from 17 weeks onward is a good time to bring puppies to dog parks.

There’s more you can do until then, though. The life stage for a puppy between three to four months will either help or hurt your dog’s development in big ways. A dog that’s afraid is more prone to be aggressive as a defense against an enemy that isn’t there.

Bringing home a puppy that isn’t too young is your best defense against bad social skills. A puppy taken away from the rest of the litter before eight weeks could lose vital opportunity to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not by their peers.

Setting up playdates with dogs of all ages (as long as they’re healthy and vaccinated) in a controlled environment is a good way to start slowly introducing them to others. Mixing the place up between home and away turf can get them to understand they aren’t the kings and queens of every place they go.

The Puppy Can Mostly Perform Reliable Recall

There’s more to the fenced parks than letting them off the leash to play as soon as they’re old enough. Leading up to the dog park, you can play games that train your puppy to perform “reliable recall.” Basically, presenting themselves on command in a reliable way.

Some games you can play are:

  • Catch me
  • Find me
  • Hot potato

If your dog doesn’t have a reliable recall down yet, you may be tempted to keep them on-leash and close. This could have the opposite effect you want, though. Dogs that are on leashes around dogs that aren’t could feel backed into a corner and cause them to start a fight.

Members-only parks are selective about the temperament of dogs that they allow in, excluding the more aggressive dogs. They also generally have better fencing and space to run around or avoid bullies. In the case they don’t have a good recall yet, you can use a long leash that gives the puppy more freedom.

So the puppy doesn’t get overwhelmed, you could try off-peak dog park hours at short intervals at first.

Dog Park: The Last Bark

So what should you remember?

Give solid basic training to your puppy as early as possible. Try to socialize in a safe environment from 12 weeks onward. Introduce them to more than one other dog if possible.

Scout your favorite dog park for fences, peak play-times, size, etc. Size up the dogs and people that frequent there with a few visits before taking the puppy inside.

The Best Option for Puppies for Sale

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to bring a new puppy home? To experience the joy of coming home to an adorable dog each day who is completely excited to see you?

Owning a dog is an incredible experience. They are truly the perfect companion, especially when you get the privilege of raising them as a puppy.

Have you started looking at puppies for sale? It can be difficult to decide if you aren’t sure what you are looking for and what type of dog would work best with your family.

Are you convinced that getting a puppy is right for you? Wondering what the best option is when getting a new puppy? Keep reading for answers to all your puppy questions.

Benefits of Getting a Puppy

No one can deny that getting a puppy is a good idea. But sometimes we just need a little nudge to finally make it happen. You know they require time, attention, and resources. But they’re worth it, aren’t they?

Consider the fact that owning a dog improves heart health. Studies have shown that dog ownership is linked to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels, giving you a healthier, stronger heart.

Owning a dog also means you are more likely to get adequate exercise on a weekly basis, leading to lower weight. Whether that’s a daily walk, playing catch at the park, or riding a bike with your dog, you are both likely to lead healthier lives. 

Plus, bringing a puppy home will fill you with joy, help to reduce stress, and reduce the risk of depression. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Getting Started With Puppies for Sale

When it comes time to get a pet and bring them home, there are countless options.

Should you buy a puppy that a friend or neighbor is selling? It might work out, but you are limiting your options. You probably won’t know anything about the puppy, and you won’t be confident that they are the right fit for your family.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could talk to an expert about what type of dogs you love, and what you are hoping for in a new puppy?

Find Your New Puppy Today

There’s no better time than today to bring a new pup home. With countless physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, along with the fun of caring for a dog, there’s no reason not to find your furry friend today.

Introducing Your New Puppy to Your OG Furry Friends

There are few situations in life as tenuous as when you introduce two good friends of yours from different circles. You wonder if they’re going to get along and hope their personalities mesh well.

Bringing a new puppy home is not too dissimilar from that in many ways. Our pets have different personalities and puppies have a lot of energy that older dogs might not tolerate well.

Puppies often haven’t shaped their canine etiquette very well at those younger stages, either.

Before searching “puppy for sale near me” make sure you know how to introduce a new dog to your old pets. Keep reading to find out how!

Taking the Puppy Home For the First Time

Taking the new dog home, whether it’s a new puppy or older dog, causes stress, jealousy, and anxiety unless it’s done right. Having a proper setup is crucial to the process of phasing a new dog into the family.

A good place to introduce the two isn’t actually inside the home. There could be definite turf wars going on unless you are able to introduce them in a neutral place. It doesn’t even have to be far away and can be incorporated with a friend on a normal walk.

This sneak attack is a good way to prep your older dog without them expecting anything.

That being said, your dog may be curious about this next tip.

Puppies Only: Make a Designated Area

Toddlers and little kids can be as annoying as they are cute, and the same is true for puppies to older pets. Those little furry bundles of energy just don’t know when enough is enough. They’ll learn in time, but until then, they need an area to contain and protect them.

This area will aid in their house-training efforts and give some peace and quiet to your existing pets. They’ll have their own toys and sleeping area to play with.

So it isn’t too shocking for your older dog, make sure to set it up in advance so they’re already used to not using the area for themselves.

New Puppy Playtime

Along with toys to play with, your new pup will want to play with the other pets you have.

All playtime sessions should be fully supervised for a few weeks at least. They may need to be separated when the older dog gets annoyed or bored, or they may nip the young pup or worse.

Both dogs should get treats and new toys to reduce jealousy and keep it fun for both. You want playtime to be a fun and rewarding experience, not a grind.

Sniffing is natural and helps them to “read the daily paper” so-to-speak. But it requires supervision if one is getting more intimate than the other wants to tolerate. You know your own older dog better than anyone, so distract them when you think enough is enough.

Puppy Love: A Happy Pet Family

Each dog has its own role in the family and it takes time for them to know it and settle in. Having their own food, space, treats, and toys and meeting on neutral ground will go a long way to trimming down jealousy and other negative traits early on.

If you want more tips and advice, our stores are located conveniently with our expert pet-loving staff. Take advantage of our decades of experience and know-how --- get in touch today!

Snow Matter What, Protect Your Pup’s Paws

Winter has blown in and the country is feeling the effects of snow, ice, and cold north winds. To keep people safe on roads and sidewalks, many communities salt the ground to help ice melt faster. But the combination of snow, ice, salt, and cold weather can really do a number on your dog's paw pads. Consider the following suggestions for keeping his feet healthy during the cold months.

Keep walks short.

You might think that your dog's natural winter coat and tough paw pads would keep him comfortable even when the snow falls, but you'd be wrong. His coat is probably not thick enough or long enough nor are his feet as tough as you think. 

Keep your walks short---just long enough to "do his business" and have a short bit of exercise. During extreme cold, you might skip the outside exercise, too. If it's too cold for you to enjoy a walk or jog, it's too cold for him, too. Being outside in the cold can lead to frostbite for your canine pal as easily as for you. 

Consider a blanket or coat for him when you venture outdoors.

Put a towel by the door.

As soon as you get back inside, dry Fido off completely, including his paws, his nose, and his ears. If your community uses salt on sidewalks and roadways, use warm water to dip his paws in when you return to the house. Toweling him off in the house will make him much more comfortable and reduce the damage ice or salt between his toes can do.

Paw Balm

Even before you head out the door, rub some paw balm into his pads. Salt can cause dry skin and damage to his paws, but paw balm creates a barrier between his feet and the elements. Store bought or homemade, rubbing some balm in after you dry him off will help keep his pads soft and supple.

Footwear for dogs

So maybe you think dogs in booties look weird. That's okay, but don't let it stop you from buying a good set that will keep him comfortable outside. You wouldn't think about going outside barefoot in the winter, right? Don't make him do it, either. 

Best buys for pooch presents

The holidays are upon us. Pack your pooch's stocking with some of our favorite products and give him the best holiday ever!

Puppy: Cute Fun Ways To Surprise Your Family With a Puppy at Christmas

Christmas is a time for spreading cheer and a puppy will always bring joy around. It is hard to find someone who doesn't get excited when a puppy is looking up at them with a wet nose and trusting eyes. Gifting a new puppy to your loved one during Christmas is sure to make them happy and you can make the event even more enjoyable by planning it as a surprise! The puppy is soon to win them over with lots of wet kisses and cuddles and it will be the beginning of a meaningful relationship.

Here are some cute ways in which you can surprise your family or a loved one with a puppy at Christmas.

Delaying the Surprise

Yes, the best way of making the surprise even better is to delay it. There might be several occasions when your friend or a family member has gone looking for puppies at pet stores. When this happens again, tell them why taking a puppy is a bad idea at that moment. Being familiar with the person will help you come with all the reasons why they might not want a puppy, like anyone to take care of it when they are out for work.

They are going to be immensely disappointed at first and you have to deal with this phase. However, tell the caretaker of the puppy secretly that you are interested, and then go back alone to get it right before Christmas. The surprise and joy on their faces when they finally lay eyes on the puppy will be worth all this effort.

Puppy in Gift Wrapping

While this might seem like a clich to many, there is a reason why this is done so many times. Putting the puppy in a present box never fails to make an impact. This works best as a Christmas present, as you put the puppy inside a box and place it under the Christmas. Wrap the box in pretty paper with a bow on top! When the 'present' is unboxed, the squeals of joy will not stop anytime soon!

Of course, you have to careful while placing the puppy inside the box or basket. Make sure you put the puppy just minutes before you are about the spring the surprise. This will avoid any discomfort from the puppy's side. However, a typical puppy can still make cute noises from the moment they are put inside the box, so you could put in a treat or two with him, or a toy to keep him quiet.

Even if he does make some sounds, it still makes for a great surprise as everyone is startled by puppy noises in the room. Make sure you leave a gap in the box for ventilation. Putting a small Santa cap on the puppy is sure to melt everyone's heart.

Surprise Visit

You can make the puppy the star of your Christmas dinner! Gather everyone around for the grand Christmas meal and make everyone is in the same room while they are eating. Confide in a friend and let him slip the puppy into the room. Everyone is sure to be caught off guard when they see a puppy exploring the room all by himself. There are going to be frantic inquiries while some will leave their seats to cuddle the little bundle of joy.

After the puppy has managed to surprise everyone, introduce it to the family. This surprise always works the best with children because not knowing that the puppy is already a part of the family, they will insist on keeping the puppy that has just walked in. Tell them they cannot, and you have to return the puppy to whoever it belongs- maybe a neighbor. Then, when you finally tell them the truth, they are most likely to shed tears of joy.

Treasure Hunts

Can there be a treasure hunt better than the one which involves a puppy? Surely not. Organize a treasure hunt for Christmas and leave clues around the house for everyone, telling them this is how they find their gifts. In the meantime, hide the puppy in a well-ventilated basket and place it in a safe corner of the house.

As the clues lead your family towards that spot, they are sure to be intrigued by that basket, which in all probability, will also be swaying a little. Tell them to open it and the boundless joy on the faces as they greet the new puppy is going to be the best Christmas gift for you ever.

Car Surprise

With all your Christmas shopping just about over, ask your family to help you with all the bags that you have in the car. Tell them to open the car door carefully, because you have some very precious shopping inside. As they open the car door, Tada! There is the puppy, sitting snug on the backseat, looking all pretty with a bow! This surprise is sure to bring all your neighbors to your driveway because of course your family would be screaming in joy!

With a car surprise, remember to keep the windows down when the puppy is inside by a couple of inches. However, the doors should be locked so that they do not accidentally open while you are telling your family to get the bags. You should also avoid doing this if it is very hot or very cold. Some Christmases can be freezing, so you could consider leaving your car heater on. But overall, do not leave the puppy inside alone for more than a few minutes. You could also confide in a friend to hold the puppy if it is very small or is particularly restless.

With these ideas, you are sure to surprise your family in a novel way. While there is no dearth of gifts on the shop shelves for the festive season, a puppy will bring your family way more joy than you could have ever imagined. It will be your best Christmas ever.

National Cat Lovers Month: 10 Reasons We Love Cats

It's National Cat Lovers Month! Time to celebrate everything we love about our little furry friends. There are good reasons why dogs and cats are the standard pet of choice.

While both make great pets, many have a great deal of love for cats in particular. So whether you already own a pet cat or getting one, here are ten reasons why they’re often the pet of choice.

They're Independent

Some consider cats to be arrogant as they go about their business like they own the place. But they still have their ancestral instincts, often cautiously looking out for themselves. They don't constantly need your attention or approval.

They Clean Themselves

Due to their independent nature, cats will happily clean and groom themselves so you don't have to. They can spend half the day cleaning (if they're not sleeping), which means your cat is happy, comfortable, and most of all, clean.

Quiet Creatures

A dog can drive you bonkers with barking. But a cat is barely audible at all. They might meow when hungry, but they move around gracefully and quietly. When they're not, they're probably sleeping, so they're far more peaceful than a puppy.

Cats Are Curious

Cats are curious about everything. They love to explore the great outdoors as well as every nook and cranny at home. This makes them interesting, and oftentimes hilarious to watch as they discover something they didn’t expect.

They're Intelligent

While they don't work the same way as dogs, cats can be trained, just not in the same way. They behave in accordance with how you treat them and will communicate this to get what they want. They know just how cute to be when they want attention or food!

They Help You Relax

After a long day, it can be nice to sit down and stroke your cat while it happily purrs away. Science has shown that this positive bonding, rhythmic stroking, and focused attention is a great way to relax and relieve daily stresses.

Good For Our Health

They also play a huge part in our mental and physical health. Interaction with them helps lower blood pressure and releases dopamine and serotonin. This helps improve our mood, immune function, and reduce the risk of illness and disease.

Majestic and Adorable

The way they move and position themselves can be both adorable and funny. They have elegant agility at times and can bend themselves into all sorts of shapes, making them interesting and fun to watch.

Excellent Reflexes

They can climb almost anything and fit into any small space. Some like to play fetch and some like to catch bugs. They're so quick they can even catch and dispose of pesky flies, making them great pest controllers.

They Show Love

They may not jump about and lick us like a dog, but they show their love in other ways. Whether it's rubbing against your leg, meowing, or cuddling up on your lap, they can be very lovable and affectionate.

More Than a Standard Pet

As you can see, cats are wonderfully adorable and intelligent animals and are so much more than just a standard pet. With all of their quirks and peculiarities, they are the majestic moggies we've come to love.

Good for our health and great for our soul, making them one of the most loved animals in the world. For more about pets, come and check out our blog today.

Top Dog Breeds for a Busy Family

What to do, what to do? Your family wants a dog, but with work, school, social and sports commitments, how do you work in owning a dog and what breed would be the best? Since each family is different, the answer to that question isn't a one-size-fits-all response.

What is a low-maintenance dog?

What is low-maintenance for one family is a huge hassle for another. Defining low-maintenance is a subjective exercise. Does it mean the breed needs little exercise? No grooming? Tolerant of being left alone? No shedding or easily trained? No dog breed is maintenance-free, but because purebred dogs have been specifically bred for certain traits, choosing a dog based on the needs of its breed can be more satisfying. Here's what the experts say.

Large Breeds


If your heart's set on a really big dog, the Mastiff may be just the dog you're looking for. This giant breed actually has low energy, so lazing around is its idea of heaven. In fact, Mastiffs have low endurance, so long walks are not something they look forward to. They are happy alone for long stretches of time and are generally docile in temperament. Not aggressive, they do tend to be somewhat aloof and prefer the company of their family. The Mastiff likes pleasing his people, so training is fun and easy. His short coat does not require much grooming. Like most large breeds, however, the life span is somewhat short, from about 8-10 years. Height 27 – 30 inches, weight 120 – 220 pounds.


Still quite a large breed but smaller than a Mastiff, the Bullmastiff enjoys his daily walk as long as it's not too far. Endurance, like its larger cousin, is still quite low. His short coat requires little maintenance and he loves to lie around watching the big game with you. Affectionate with his family and very tolerant of children, he nevertheless makes a formidable guard dog. Training him is different from most obedience training with other breeds, but not difficult. His lifespan is on par with the Mastiff at about 8 -10 years. Height 24 – 27 inches, weight 100 – 130pounds.

Medium Breeds


Contrary to popular belief, the racing greyhound doesn't have a lot of exercise needs. They really make wonderful couch potato companions. A daily walk and occasional run are plenty for this incredibly sweet-natured hound. Easy to train, gentle and quiet, this elegant breed might take over your couch but will not demand constant attention. Their short coat requires only minimum grooming. Greyhounds live 10-13 years. Height 25-30 inches, weight 60-80pounds.

 Basset Hound

Bred to be a working dog, on the field the Basset Hound is very active. In the home, however, this gentle, calm dog is a totally different dog. His long, soft ears and droopy expression captivate dog lovers the world 'round. A once-daily walk is sufficient to keep him happy and his grooming needs are quite low. He is most content when with his people, and is friendly and accepting of strangers and other pets. Early on, training is a necessary part of owning a Basset Hound so his natural propensity to stubbornness is overcome. Standing just under 15 inches, he is a medium sized breed due to his weight, 40 – 60 pounds on average. The average life span is 8 – 12 years.

Standard Poodle

Except for grooming, this may be the best option for busy families or even seniors. The Standard Poodle is calm and gentle, very intelligent and easy to train. A daily walk will satisfy their exercise needs. Their coats don't shed and are hypoallergenic, which is often the deciding factor for families who suffer from allergies. A plus is that this excellent breed doesn't mind being left alone while his family is away from the house. Weighing in at 45 – 70 pounds and standing over 15 inches tall, the Standard Poodle's grooming needs can be taken care of by dropping him off at a grooming salon and picking him up later. Although his life span is relatively long at 12 – 15 years, some Standard Poodles have lived up to 17 years. 

Small Breeds


Although Dachshunds are energetic little dogs, they can get too much exercise, which can affect their long backs. Climbing stairs and jumping off of things can also injure them, so keep that in mind if you have a two-story home. The short-haired variety has very low grooming needs, and all three varieties (short coat, long coat, and wire coat) stand under 9 inches. The miniature variety is even smaller. Weighing in at between 11 and 32 pounds, the sometimes clownish Dachshund is a favorite everywhere. Early training is important as they can be stubborn if not brought up to obey. The lifespan of this sweet-natured dog is from 12 – 15 years. 


The Papillon (French for butterfly) has beautiful, erect ears that trail long tresses that fan out to look like a butterfly. Some have drop ears as well, looking less like a butterfly but just as beautiful Although his single layer coat is long, brushing a couple of times a week is adequate and he doesn't require hair cuts. With no doggy odor and hypoallergenic coat, he is considered low maintenance on grooming. This breed loves to play and is affectionate with children and other pets. A daily romp in the backyard or at a dog park along with his daily walks will keep him healthy and happy. He's a tiny spaniel, half lap dog and half court jester. Perhaps a little difficult to house train (as are most toy dogs), he is highly intelligent and learns easily with consistency. He stands just 8 – 11 inches high and weighs 6 – 10 pounds, a bundle of energy and love. With a long life span of 14 – 16 years, he is there for the long haul.

Easy DIY Cat Toys

We're sure your cat loves some of the random things laying around the house. In that case, why spend a ton of money on cat toys? Here are 15 easy breezy cat  inchestoys inches that you probably already have at home.

Cat toys made with household recyclables.

  1. Easiest cat toy ever. Wad up a ball of aluminum foil. It's lightweight and skitters across a room with the gentlest touch of a paw.
  2. Wine corks, feathers and jute glued into a cork with a hole in it will keep your kitty entertained for hours. How-to here.
  3. An empty paper bag or cardboard box is preferred by cats of all sizes and ages. Cut holes for them to poke their paws through and let them at it!
  4. Toilet paper tubes with straw poked through them will demonstrate your feline's more interesting antics which are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
  5. With little more than an old t-shirt, a couple of wire coat hangers and a piece of sturdy cardboard, you can make a cat tent that rivals the expensive ones sold in pet supply stores. Here's the how-to.
  6. Another way to use toilet paper tubes is to cut the tube into four rings, inserting one inside the next until you have formed a ball. Stuff treats inside and watch Fluffy go to work trying to get them out.
  7. Pull yarn through an empty thread spool and tie knots so that the yarn doesn't come out. Leave the yarn long enough to make ribbons.
  8. Cut the top and bottom off of an empty soda bottle and then cut the rest into a spiral. Cats find this irresistible!
  9. Cut the bottoms off of three (or more) paper bags and link one inside the other to form a tube. Toss some catnip or kibble into the tube to entice the kitty in.

Crafty cat toys

  1. Make a wand from a dowel, some string or yarn, and a homemade pom-pom. Your cat that prefers to pounce instead of chase will love you for it!
  2. Instead of pom-poms, attach ribbons and jingle bells to the dowel for a more lively attraction. Cats seem to love the tinkly sound of the bells.
  3. Use a clear plastic food storage container to make a cat puzzle toy. Cut holes in the top big enough for Fluffy's paws to go through and put ping-pong balls (or other small toys) inside the container. Secure the top and shake it where Fluffy can see the balls inside.

Other things cats love to play with

  1. Give second life to a plastic easter egg by enclosing a couple of beans inside. Cats love things that rattle and are light enough to bat around.
  2. Drip tubing makes a great tease toy! Cut a piece 18 inches to 25 inches long and wave it near Kitty's nose. Its movement will entice her to swat at it.
  3. Laser pointers are among the most beloved of all cat toys (dogs love them, too). Point it at a wall and move it around. Just be careful not to aim it into your cat's eyes.

Puppy: A Guide for First Time Puppy Parents

Yes, they are adorable. The little pitter-patter of their tiny feet as they follow you around, the tiny yips and barks, even the puppy-breath smell is irresistible. So arm yourself with knowledge so you know just what you're getting yourself into.

What about the costs?

The cost of obtaining the puppy is only the beginning. Even if you are given the puppy for free, owning a dog is not. Let's look at what expenses are involved so you are fully prepared to bring your puppy home!.

You'll need some equipment. 

  • Start with a crate. Dogs are by nature den animals, and once your puppy is used to the crate, he'll go there on his own anytime he wants some alone-time. (Never use his crate as punishment. NEVER.) 
  • You'll also need some steel or ceramic bowls to feed and water him. (Always keep his water bowl full of fresh water. FRESH.) 
  • He'll need a good leather or canvas leash of about a six-foot length and a soft, leather collar. Rolled leather collars will not break the hair on his neck. (NO CHAIN OR SPIKED COLLARS!) 
  • Get him a bed (or two so you'll have one for when you're washing the other). 
  • Buy a few high-quality chew toys (but avoid rawhide, which can be swallowed and cause intestinal blockages). 
  • Lastly, you will want to invest in a pet gate (or a baby gate) to partition off areas where you don't want him to go or to keep him confined to a "safe place."

Puppy-proof your home before you bring him home.

  • Get down on his level. What does he see? Can he chew on it? Can he knock it over? Can he get tangled up in it? If any of the answers are yes, change the environment so that all the answers are no.
  • Get a trash can he can't open. Believe me, if you don't, he will.
  • Put his new crate in your room, near your bed. It may make for a few nights of sleeplessness, but in the long run, you'll be glad you did.
  • Watch the clutter. If you're in the habit of leaving your shoes by the door, don't. Shut doors to rooms that have expensive furnishings. Close closet doors and keep your stuff out of his reach.

Sign up with a vet and consider pet insurance.

If you have friends with dogs, ask for their recommendation on veterinarians. Make an appointment to meet the vet and ask about pet insurance. Get his or her advice on puppy food and routine vaccination schedules. Then set up your first appointment to bring your new puppy in for a check-up. It is best to schedule this visit within two or three days of bringing your pup home.

Supervise your new puppy!

Your puppy should only be out of his crate or a small area you have set up for him (his room) when you can watch his every movement. By supervision, I mean your eyes on him. No telephone calls, TV, or other distractions. The second you take your eyes off your puppy, he'll get into trouble or disappear. If you must take care of something else, put him in his safe place first.

  • Take him outside to his "potty place" every time you let him out of his crate. Carry him outside and wait for results. 
  • Set a routine and stick to it. Potty training goes much easier if your puppy knows what's coming next. Feeding and immediate play outside should be the same time every day so that digestive upsets are minimized and potty training is easier.

Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Don't leave a child with the sole responsibility of caring for your new puppy, and be sure that every member of the family knows the rules and routine for his care. It's fine to have more than one person caring for your pup, but designating one person as the main caretaker will smooth the transition from pup-less to puppy as a member of the household.

Don't expect good behavior unless you train him to know what that means.

Enroll your new puppy in a "kindergarten" class. In these pre-training classes, puppies and their owners learn how to socialize with other dogs. This is a very important part of dog-training so that your puppy develops a confident, non-aggressive social personality. Without this kind of training, your puppy could end up being timid or aggressive around strangers or strange dogs. DON'T SKIP THIS ONE!

After your pup "graduates" from kindergarten, enroll him in the next training class so that you can learn how to train him to be a happy, healthy member of your household. It's best to have one person doing the training. Don't switch out another family member because it's as important for the person training the puppy as it is for the pup to learn the details and develop the techniques that will result in a well-trained dog.

Embarking (pun intended) on your new adventure with a puppy will be immensely rewarding. You will gain a friend that will love you no matter what, loyal and constant. Throughout his life, you and he will find out what other dog-owners before you already know. A dog is man's best friend.