We have written several articles that address various issues surrounding the “how” or “who” when it comes to buying puppies. However, in this post we hope to shed some light on when might be the best time for you to add a new puppy to your family.
But first, the “when” is not always the most important question when buying a puppy. We often caution buyers that finding the right breed/temperament and the right breeder for you are extremely important and that being as flexible as possible on the timing allows you to focus on these more important issues when getting a puppy. With that being said, there are still some factors to consider as far as the timing of getting a pup!
When Should You Buy a Puppy?
Consider the ages of the other family members in your home. We have seen families of all shapes, sizes, and ages adopt doodle puppies and make it work. Still, for most families, raising a puppy and a human baby at the same time is quite difficult!
We see some general trends as far as when most families seem to find it’s the “right time” for getting a puppy. Many couples choose to adopt a puppy before having any children. They are able to raise and train their pup to be a well-behaved member of the family before introducing the inevitable chaos of a human baby. Also, they can take on the costs associated with raising a dog.
Many families also find that getting a puppy works well once their children are past the baby/toddler years but still young enough to romp around and enjoy playing with their pup. This way the children are old enough to understand dog behavior and actually help engage in some of the training. We also have had a fair share of empty-nesters who find they have more time than ever to devote to a new puppy now that their older children are no longer living at home.
Again, no two families are the same so what works for one family may not work well for another. But the age and involvement of your children is always something to consider when adding a puppy.
Consider Your Other Pets When Buying a Puppy
It is also important to consider the ages of your other dog(s). Perhaps you have a young dog who needs a friend. We typically do not recommend getting two puppies at the same time as this provides extra training challenges. Furthermore, dogs learn so well from each other that having one dog who has already mastered much of his training will significantly help when you bring in a younger puppy.
We find dogs that are within two years of age to each other tend to do really well as far as having similar energy levels and playing styles as they grow up together.
Or perhaps you have the opposite situation and currently have a senior dog. You are wondering if you should get a puppy while your older dog is still around or just let your older guy live out his golden years without a nippy puppy on his heels?
This is a common question we get, and it really depends on your older dog’s personality. If he/she is well-mannered and you would want your puppy to pick up their older friend’s manners and social cues, then it might make sense to bring a puppy home sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, if your older dog is no longer moving around well, then bringing home a puppy may be overwhelming and frustrating for him. Your older guy should still be healthy and mobile enough to be able to move away from the puppy and communicate (growls, snarls, etc. are often part of this!) when enough is enough to the playful pup.
Overall, dogs are such wonderfully cooperative creatures that we typically see puppies and seniors doing well living together just fine!
Another Tip for Timing Your Puppy Addition - Consider Your Vacation Schedule & Time of Year
Ideally, you want the whole family around for the first few weeks after getting a puppy. This is a critical time when it comes to bonding and training. An interruption after only a week or two can be very confusing for your puppy who is trying to figure out his new pack, not to mention it can really throw a kink in potty training.
Rhythm and schedule are everything when it comes to house training your new pup—so making sure your life is “typical” for the first month or so will really help get him trained. Adding weekends away, unusually late nights at work, etc. can cause regression in your pup’s potty training. We talk about the challenges of working full-time and having a puppy here.
Even outside of the bonding and training aspects, logistically it can be tricky to travel when your pup is less than 4 months old as many pet sitters and kennels do not accept puppies until they are older than 4 months (and thus are fully vaccinated).
Consider the time of year:
Many people fantasize about unwrapping their dream puppy on Christmas Day. Breeders often seen an uptick in inquiries around the holidays. However, you want to consider the climate of where you live before getting a Christmas or winter puppy. New puppies have to go potty often. It is not uncommon to take your 8 week old puppy out every half hour when they are up and playing and drinking a lot of water. If you live in a particularly cold area, going outside every 30 minutes to an hour in December may sound terrible!
Young puppies are also much more sensitive to cold than adult dogs so this is also something to keep in mind if you are in a colder climate, you will have to really limit your pup’s outside time during the winter which is not ideal for your young puppy who needs to play and run to release all his energy!
Consider Your Flexibility and Free Time
Overall, training a puppy does require a lot of time! Doodles in particular are energetic and especially people-oriented so it is important that you know you have time to spend with your pup before bringing him home. Consider your work schedule—is your busiest season coming up? Do you have any other commitments that will take up a lot of your weekends?
Making sure your schedule is flexible is really important.
Really, this is the ultimate key to the question of “when” to get a puppy. The other factors we have discussed can often be worked around, but there will never be more than 24 hours in a day!
So making sure that you are in a phase of your life that allows you at least a few hours a day to devote solely to training and bonding with your new pup is the most critical piece in the decision of if it’s time to bring home Fido!
Jenna and the JLDD Team