The Do’s and Don’ts:
Don’t: Be inconsistent!
Being inconsistent with a dog’s training is incredibly unfair to the animal. How are they supposed to learn what’s right when anyone and everyone is teaching them to do something different? Consistency is KEY to training a dog anytime, but especially in a college atmosphere.
Do: Make a training and feeding plan and stick to it!
One of the hardest things for my roommate and I is to stick to the same training regimen. He wants to give treats as praise and I want to give cuddles as praise. He wants to be more rough and ready when the dog disobeys, and I want to try and show the dog what he did wrong. We both have our strong points, and we both have weaknesses, but trying to work together and come up with a consistent regiment will help the dog learn more quickly, and to keep his owners appeased with each other! It’s stressful having a puppy in college-- It’s not all a walk in the park!
Do: Get the dog vaccinated immediately and stay up to date on shots!
It’s very easy to get a dog vaccinated and incredibly important for a variety of reasons. Many illnesses can affect young puppies before their immune system is built up and literally kill them before you, as an owner, even notice their sick. Parvo virus, for example, can be deadly to unvaccinated puppies. Vets are more than happy to work with new owners to come up with a vaccination plan that works for you, and the animal. Do it! Don’t lose your puppy to an unnecessary illness! Unfortunately, shots and check-ups are a routine part of a dog’s life, just like physicals are part of college students. Stay up to date on all shots, especially rabies (it’s the law)!
Don’t: Get a dog if you can’t afford to feed it!
This is pretty obvious—don’t get a dog if you can’t afford it. A lot of college students get bored when they move off campus and feel like a puppy will be the perfect solution to all of their problems. This can be the case, but if you can’t afford the puppy, then the decision will only stress you out more! Volunteer at a shelter or go to a friend’s house that already has a dog and get your furry fix in before making the leap yourself! They are an expensive and long term investment.
Don’t: Get a dog if you don’t have time for one!
This is similar to the don’t listed above. If your schedule is already jam-packed than a puppy probably isn’t for you right now. Many students I know are simply too busy to have time to give a pet the time and love necessary for creating a warm and welcoming home. Pets take a lot of effort to train, and need the necessary exercise to live healthy lives. If your schedule is busting out of control already, give yourself a rain-check and get a pet later on when things calm down—there will always be a furry friend available in the future!
Do: Love and enjoy your new family member!
If you have the time, money, patience, and love to give to a puppy or another pet, I say go for it! They really are a source of great comfort and quickly adapt into your life as a life-long friend. Don’t forget to document every step of the way because if you get a puppy, they grow QUICK!
Recently my roommate purchased a Great Pyrenees puppy. He did consult me prior to picking the dog up at eight weeks, but I was not consulted with the checklist of accompanying tasks necessary to take care of said puppy. Anyone unfamiliar with the breed Great Pyrenees should take a moment to Google it. They are extremely BIG and extremely FURRY creatures. They are also incredibly loving, and have a life goal of accumulating as much time and slobber on the couch as possible. My roommate expects the puppy to weigh up to 130 pounds at 12 months. Anyone who knows K-9’s knows that a one-year-old dog still constitutes as a puppy. They are rambunctious, crazy, and usually are still going through their adolescent phase where no means yes and yes means no, a.k.a. say good-bye to any computer charger you may have and want to keep intact.
I grew up with dogs my entire life, and felt like I had a pretty good handle on what it would be like to train one myself. Boy, was I off. This puppy, whose name is Frisco, is a whole ‘nother story. When we first got him home he refused to go up the stairs by himself and made us carry him up and down. Now, two and a half months later he’s mastered the stairs and thinks it’s hilarious to stop right in front of you, or to catch up with you and then stop abruptly. Either way, he’s stopping and looking at you like it’s an awesome game. Really it’s just a guise to trip you. He also has gotten big enough that he can walk (yes, walk) onto any bed or couch. The counters are no longer off limits, and God forbid he finds a glove. He’ll shake the sh*t out of that thing. Tearing up newspapers is a morning work-out, and sitting on your face while you try and enjoy a movie sounds like a good evening activity. Even with all his trickery I’ve literally fallen in love with this fur ball, and can’t wait until he’s fully grown!