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Raising a Puppy: Basic Guidelines

            Ever think about getting a dog? It sounds like a great idea. Having a furry companion is like having a friend, so it can be very fun and exciting. Dogs are also great protective creatures, which means you will have extra protection when you are with them. But you must remember that getting a puppy requires a lot of responsibility and attention. That is why, you should be well informed on what you are getting yourself involved in before you adopt a puppy. Here is some advice and guidelines on  how to treat dogs, if you so wish to adopt one. If you already have one and are looking for ways to take better care of it, this article may also apply. 

            Before getting a puppy, you must do your research. If you want a purebred dog, you’ll have to do some searching and decide which breed you want. They all differ in many factors, mainly in size, energy, hygiene, and friendliness. Finding your preferred dog breed can be quite difficult, especially in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico does not have many breeders, but there are still some. Your best bet is to find someone who breeds a specific breed through connections. Your local vet or Clasificados Online can help you find the breed you are looking for. On the other hand, if you just want to adopt any puppy, no matter if it is a specific breed or a mix of breeds, go to your local shelter and adopt a dog in need. They are given neutered and with their first vaccines. 

            After finding what kind of puppy you want, you need to consider the impact this puppy will have on your life. Having a dog is a huge responsibility that usually lasts over 10 years. It is your responsibility to ensure your dog has a good life because, although they won’t last your entire life, you will be in theirs forever. You will be their world and all they know. That is why, it is important to consider how your everyday life will change with them in it. You will probably have to walk them every day, bathe them at least once a week (depends on the breed), feed them every day, wake up early so they can use the bathroom, pay for veterinary visits (which are at least once a year and expensive), play with them and train them, etc. It is hard raising a puppy, but it is not impossible, and your efforts will be rewarded. 

            After you’ve done your research and accepted the responsibility a puppy requires, it is time to start looking into how you will treat and take care of your puppy. Here are some puppy care guidelines:

1.     Food

A puppy, specifically during the first three months, needs a lot of attention. Puppies must be fed around two times a day. Your vet can give you more specific instructions about the diet and food supply of your puppy. 

2.     Potty Training

Puppies tend to sleep for most of the day, but they have very little bladder resistance. Therefore, it is common for them to be constantly peeing and pooping around the house during the short periods they are awake. For potty training, a kennel is recommended. The puppy will learn the kennel is their territory and they will resist the urge to pee and poo in it. However, you have to be vigilant of your puppy’s sleeping schedule. That way, you will know when they have to go potty (just after they wake up). Decide if you want to potty train them outside in the grass or in a pad. Where you decide to do it, that is where you should place them after they wake up. Most likely, they will pee or poo automatically wherever you place them. Make that a routine until they know where specifically they should pee or poo. 

3.     Hygiene

For your pet’s hygiene, make sure to ask your vet when you can bathe them. There are some puppies too weak to take baths. In that case, your vet will probably tell you to use Baby Wipes. When they grow stronger and bigger, depending on the breed and how often they get dirty, you decide when to bathe them. However, too many baths can give your puppy skin allergies. Also, make sure to take all of the shampoo off your puppy when you bathe them because leaving excess shampoo after a bath can cause skin rash. 

4.     Extra Training

There are various activities your puppy should learn from a young age. For example, you should train your puppy to answer to their name. The name of your puppy is very important because it is your way of communicating that you are asking for their attention. That is why, having them learn their name is vital. To do this, say their name and give them a treat when they look at you. This way, they will learn to expect a treat every time they hear their name. Slowly, they will pay attention to you every time you call them and know that is your signal for their attention. Another important training exercise you should do with your puppy is to teach them to walk with a leash on. Training a puppy to walk with a leash can be irritating because they will most likely be confused and try to take off their collar. Patience is essential in training. Try to walk them with a leash every day. They will eventually get used to the presence of the leash and understand they should keep close to you when out of the house. There are many types of leashes you can use and they depend on the size of your dog. However, for a puppy, any collar or a harness are a good way to start. Visit your local pet store to choose from the variety of collars and harnesses. 

            Raising a puppy is hard, especially if you are doing it alone. It is even more stressing when you are a student and you have limited free time. That is why, it is recommended to heavily consider your situation before adopting a puppy. It is always a challenge to raise a puppy; you are teaching another species how to act! And essentially becoming a parent. However, it is very fulfilling when your puppy reaches maturity and grows into a good girl/boy. Dogs can be great friends/companions who can make you happy very easily. They are definitely worth all the hard work. 

Puertorriqueña 100%. Bookworm al extremo ;)
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