New Puppy: Our Decision Process

by DFS-Pet-Blog on February 17, 2011

**Guest post from Ellen B.**

I recently have often found myself thinking about getting a second dog. If one is great, two is better…right?

If you’re thinking about getting a puppy (or any pet), there are many important considerations you should think about BEFORE you buy or adopt. Dr. Holly Nash wrote a great post with these important questions for prospective new pet owners. Here is my story, and I hope it helps you think through your decision. Pet ownership is a long term commitment, so the decision should be thoughtfully made.

Kobe and I took a dog agility class last summer!

Kobe and I took a dog agility class last summer!

A bit about my dog, Kobe. He is a complete joy! He’s a snuggly lap dog that treats me like a rock star. His “encouragement” gets me out for regular walks and I think he was a “gift” given to me coincidentally just as my children started to leave the nest.

Why get another dog? Sometimes I take Kobe to doggie daycare and he generally enjoys playing with other dogs. I say “generally” because he seems to have gotten less social in the past few months. That worries me because in the past he got such delight from socializing with other dogs.

About a month ago, Kobe met our friend’s dog and he had so much fun playing that I decided he needed a fur-companion. Plus, since I became a first-time dog owner in 2004, I have become somewhat of a dog “nut.” I cared for my brother’s dog last summer and really enjoyed both dogs. Yes, I would look for a second dog.

Lucky was my first dog. He passed in 2009, but left us with many good memories.

Lucky was my first dog. He passed in 2009, but left us with many good memories.

Animal shelter or breeder? I rescued both my current and previous dog from our local animal shelter. I was never concerned with having a particular breed of dog; I wanted just wanted the right dog. My dog search always begins with many trips to the shelter, until one day I just know when the right dog arrives! It worked in the past, so I started my regular trips again to the shelter.

The right dog…sort of. A few weeks into “keeping my eyes open” for the right dog, I met a sweet young, smaller lab mix with a wonderful demeanor. She was dropped off at the shelter with her 10 one-day-old puppies. I brought my son to meet her, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the puppies!


My insistence on “no puppy” started to fade as I talked with other puppy owners, read A LOT of puppy info, and most of all; my son was relentless about getting a puppy. It helped knowing there are three of us in the family who would participate in training, even though my son will head off to college next year.

Once we decided to adopt a puppy, we observed and interacted with all the puppies several times before deciding which would best fit into our family. Kobe’s doggie daycare owner also came along twice to help me pick a puppy who would likely get along with Kobe.


Enter Izzy.

We’ve only had Izzy, who we believe is a lab/boxer mix, for 2 ½ days and it’s been a complete whirlwind! The shelter needed to get the puppies out early because they needed the room, so the Drs. Foster & Smith Puppy Center was very helpful in quickly getting all our puppy supplies. It took us 2 days just to name her, and that was after thinking about it for a few weeks. Bonus: my daughter will be home on her spring break 2 weeks into puppy ownership and we’ll be glad to have the help!

Have no doubt; there will be many more posts to come as we go through all the puppy stages. IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR CARING FOR A YOUNG PUPPY, I WOULD BE MOST APPRECIATIVE IF YOU LEAVE A COMMENT!

Articles That Were Helpful In Our Puppy Decision Process:

  • In the Market for a New Dog – Points to consider before taking the big step of getting a new a dog or puppy.
  • Pets With Pets: The Fun They Have! – Might your pet like a companion pet? Enjoy these stories of multiple pet situations helping to keep each other mentally and physically active. (Fun videos, too!)
  • Pet Adoption: Think it Through – Adopting a pet is a big commitment. This animal will spend years of his life with you. So, before you go to a shelter, ask yourself these questions.
See All Posts in Ellen’s “New Puppy” Series:

  • Our Decision Process – Pet ownership is a long term commitment, so a new pet decision should be thoughtfully made. May this story help you think through your decision.
  • The 1st Few Days – What to expect when you first bring a new puppy home, and a few tips to help start your puppy’s life out on the right paw.
  • Housetraining a Puppy – Housetraining is one of the biggest challenges of owning a puppy. These tips and “must-haves” for housetraining a puppy will help ease the process.
  • Puppy Chewing – Why Puppies Chew & How to Stop Puppy Chewing
  • Puppy Training Classes – The foundation for a well-behaved puppy starts with a well-trained owner!

Puppy Newsletter

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Dennis Bourgoin February 17, 2011 at 8:22 am

Ah Ellen Izzy is so cute! What a wonderful addition to your family! How does she get along with Kobe? I would love to have another dog, but for now we are getting by. Congrats on your new member of the family.

Ellen B. February 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thanks, Dennis! Let’s just say it’s not love at first sight for Kobe, but starting yesterday I do see a glimmer of hope. You’ll get another dog when the time is right. Until then, let the many wonderful Fritzie memories fill your home!

Bonnie Ramba February 17, 2011 at 9:13 am

First of all, the picture of your first dog Lucky, almost made me cry. He must have been a wonderful dog.
Izzy looks precious. We had adopted our first dog as a puppy. Jasper was a beautiful sheltie. He passed away in 2006. Since then, we have adopted two greyhounds. Clarence was almost 5 when we adopted him and Isis was 9. They are wonderful and I plan to keep adopting older dogs – but … I think there are some advantages to adopting a puppy –
– You are “mommy dog”! They will not remember life without you. That makes for an incredible bond.
– I think it is so easy to get behind in good medical care, ESPECIALLY dental care. With a puppy, not only can you start out with the right nutrition but also the right dental care. When I adopted Isis, her teeth looked like the classic picture of horrible teeth that you see in the vet’s office. Although they look good now, she has to take antibiotics monthly.
– Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks … but this is the secret to why puppies learn so much for us – we BELIEVE they can learn! It’s kind of like that song from Cinderella about “the daft and dewy-eyed dopes that keep building up impossible hopes”. My sheltie Jasper, learned to do amazing things and I believe it was because I believed he could do it! A few of the things Jasper learned were to bow, say he was sorry by putting his head down and paw up, and even to stay on his blanket until the kitchen timer rang.
Congratulations on your new puppy, Izzy! I’m sure there will be lots for you to share about the joys of “new parenthood”! 🙂

Ellen B. February 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

Bonnie, Thanks for sharing your wisdom – much appreciated! Yes, Lucky was a sweet, sweet dog. We adopted him at the age of 6 and he really paved the way in making our family love dogs. I totally agree with you that older dogs can absolutely learn new tricks! What a crazy myth. I never thought we’d get a puppy, we always had adopted older dogs. The points you made about puppies were some of our considerations. It’s going to be a ride!!!

Rosemary February 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

Puppies are cute, adorable, and more work than I care for. Might I suggest a crate and a schedule for the puppy, and Valium for you? I love my Lucky dearly, but we almost didn’t survive the house breaking stage. I hate to wake up in the middle of the night with a desperate puppy and pouring rain. And then there was the time I overslept one morning, and he peed all over me on the way to the door.

Puppy Ilka was easier, because she was older (about 4 months) when I adopted her. Personally, I’d rather adopt an older puppy or adult, just because I don’t have to take them out 20 times a day. And I also don’t believe that an older dog won’t “bond” with you. I adopted Gin when she was 2, and till the day she died at 15, even though she was so sick at the end, she would have defended me or my kids with her life.

Kaira February 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Our dog, Emma, went through a season where she enjoyed playing with our new puppy and then she most definitely did NOT enjoy him. She was a rescue dog and was unsocialized. We had a great experience with boarding training for her. I would stick with the doggie daycare and if there are any signs of aggression, maybe see if there is any training they could work on to help. Sometimes dogs, like people, just aren’t in the mood. If all else is well, maybe that’s just Kobe’s personality.

Your Izzy is really cute. I am no dog expert but I’m enjoying blogging through the learning process. We did have some struggles with potty training when we got Remy and we followed our vets advice and it made all the difference in the world. Give us a holler if you want help in that area. Just be glad your Izzy doesn’t have hairy ears – my goodness, that’s a big job!

Kaira February 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

p.s. I love the names your dogs have. 🙂

Christine February 17, 2011 at 1:58 pm

OMG I have a 5 year old 100 lb male yellow lab… boy the things we went thru with him chewing up all our furniture, got Carol Loftquist from Tomahawk to train him and he turned out much better…. until 2 weeks ago when he decided to snack on five $20 bills off a table. LOL Here’s a tip for your co-worker, use Kongs filled with a mixture of small treats and cheese/peanut butter. Give one to the little guy when you go to bed and you both will do much better at night, and less chewing habit during the day. 🙂

Tammy February 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Invest in good, durable chew toys. My 5-year old Lab, Sydney, left the socks and shoes alone as long as she had her own things to chew on. The Nylabone “Double Action Chew” is my favorite. I would also get Izzy interested in interactive toys – things you can hide treats in and she has to figure out how to get them out. Crate training is key…Syd develops separation anxiety if she’s not crated during the day. Some people think crating is mean, but I believe dogs want a safe place to be if their person isn’t around.

Best of luck! As Izzy gets older, the sleepness nights will be a distant memory!

melissa February 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Crate training is key, just like many have said (and I’m sure you’ve read up on!). My parents weren’t into it at first, but perseverence paid off and now their 2 year old dog LOVES her crate at night, during the day, in the car… Anywhere. Much easier to housetrain as well this way. Don’t let those sad puppy eyes fool you either! Steel your heart against them! 🙂 You are a wise doggie mom, so I am sure you will raise a wonderfuly socialized and happy pup. Kobe might take awhile to warm up to her. Mocca could tell Kobe a story or two about puppies! They jump! They bite! They get IN THE WAY! They are always trying to lick your face! They take away MOM time! Keep your head held high Kobe!! Soon enough you’ll see them playing, might take a bit though, don’t worry. Can’t wait to meet Izzy!

Marianne Case February 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

From you best dog lovin’ friend…I’ve NEVER been without a dog in my life for more than a year. I could go on and on, but I will speak only to the immediate essentials. Firm and consistent discipline will make you, Ray and Christopher the Alpha DAWGS. You must all be on the same page here. You cannot give ENOUGH praise to a puppy when they go potty outside, maybe even a treat. If you see her starting to squat in the house, immediately pick her up and put her outside. Hopefully, she will finish outside and then PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE. There will be accidents that you will find and in a dog’s mind, they really don’t remember. Scolding after the fact is ineffective if you didn’t see it happening! I was told once to never let my puppies see ME cleaning up their accidents…this shows them that you will do it for them forever. Soon, smart Izzy will get it. You have an advantage with Kobe, She will learn from Kobe.
On another note, as I am sure you have EVERY toy imaginable for her to chew on while she’s teething, there will be times when she decides that the coffee table leg is much better. A firm NO and some Bitter Apple on the spot that she liked should do the trick.
It’s like being a teacher….firm and consistent, yet friendly, loving and trustworthy. You already know NEVER to spank her as she will not connect the concept of what she did wrong and this will lead to her not trusting the hand that scolds her, even if it feeds her.
Another little suggestion is to handle her paws and nails as much as possible. This will hopefully cure any fear she has of getting her nails trimmed and save you money. It worked with Jena. Pablo and Chico let me do it, but it is a bit of a struggle. Jena would hand me her paw to get her nails cut. Love her UNCONDITIONALLY and don’t give up!!!! She will need guidance, love, affection, discipline and your trust. I could write a book, but this is what comes to mind tonight. Kobe will adapt and it will be a bonus for potty training as Izzy will pick up the scent. I am sure you have the proper size crate for her size and as she grows, you can get a bigger one. I’m here for you if you need anymore of my amateur expertise. Oh, don’t forget Puppy School. Maybe that could be Christopher’s night out with MOMMY. Love you, Marianne Alice Case

crystal February 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Congrats! Well Ellen, I do believe u r gonna be just fine with Izzy=) Sounds like u have done a Great JOB as a mother with ur son goin 2 college and ur daughter already in college. U have the support and patience it takes to handle ALL those puppy moments…Being that u adopted Izzy, I’m guessing she is spayed or at least will be in the near future? I suggest from my own experience, you find a Vet. that u and Izzy feel comfortable with and purchase a Puppy plan. Stay currant with her shot’s and don’t sell her short with the cheaper dog foods. It will pay off in the long run for the both of U! Good Luck and Sorry for your loss of Lucky- animal’s bring Joy to our heart’s and Unconditional Love…something every mother NEEDS, especially when our own leave the nest! P.S. I train my own dog (Rhodesian Ridgeback) since she was a puppy, with Liver Treat’s. She is now 4years old and the Perfect Dog=)

Ellen B. February 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

So many good tips AND words of encouragement – a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to all for helping me out. Yes, she’s a lot of work. Your encouraging words are very helpful. I’m hoping she will sleep better very soon, that will make everything easier for me! Again, I appreciate you input and definitely will use the tips that I haven’t already tried.

Marianne Case February 18, 2011 at 11:19 am

Sleeping: Have you heard of the alarm clock ticking trick? I never had to do it as C and P had each other, but I have heard that very young pups miss the sound of their mommy’s heartbeat at night. You’ll need the wind up kind that makes a good ticking noise. Try not to give in to her balling at night. Once or twice to go potty ONLY. It’s separation anxiety right now and just like a baby, she wants YOUR attention. It’s tough, but get some ear plugs so you don’t agonize over her wanting attention. It will STOP if you don’t give in. She is a baby and just like human babies they have to learn to be patient and also learn that YOU are not going to give in…but that you LOVE her unconditionally. Patience is a virtue.

Ellen B. February 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Marianne, I had heard about the ticking clock so I put one under her blanket a few days ago (it’s flat, and I have it in a large plastic baggie). Anyway, I think she likes it! She seemed to always take her blanket off it though, so now I have it outside of her crate – still close enough to her the tick. The nighttime “waling” is a bit pathetic! Thanks again for your tips – I know you have A LOT of puppy experience!

Maryanne F (The Proper Pup) February 19, 2011 at 8:40 am

Congratulations on your new baby, Ellen! My Top 3 tips for new puppy owners are 1) socialize early, 2) crate train and 3) socialize early! Socialization is key to ensuring that Izzy will be a well-balanced, healthy dog and family member. And crate training will help you with house breaking, and keep Izzy safe when you and/or your son are not able to keep an eye on her. Oh…and one more tip… KONGs – stuffed with food and treats they make great puppy-sitters and can also help as Izzy starts to teethe. Best of luck to you all and I hope that Kobe is enjoying his new little sister!

Alison@The Other Winnie Cooper February 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

Congratulations on your new addition!

bichonscot1 Michelle February 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

We have always had two dogs and it has always worked out. What has worked like a charm for us is the dogs doing everything together…even the puppy within reason emulating the adult dog. That’s how they learn. I was very fortunate to have (and still do, she’s 11) a very patient, well bred Scottish Terrier who was always sweet to our new addition (I fostered many dogs). Having said that our next door neighbor has 2 labs and they are chewers! They “ate” their dog house and chewed on everything while pups. I will echo what others have said about plenty of chew toys. My neighbors took their dogs on long walks when they got home from work to tire them out a bit. Labs are sweet dogs and very trainable..enjoy Izzy and let Kobe help’s amazing how much can be learned from the older doggie sib. Good luck and have fun!!

Vanessa February 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Hi, congrats on your new addition. About 2 years ago I added a puppy to my family. I already had a 6 year old pom/jack mix who didnt do well with other dogs on a leash, but enjoyed puppies. So i decided that getting aa puppy would help her socialization and provide her with added company. We slowly introduced them and stayed close by anytime they interacted. Every time we put them together they wouldl play for a good hour straight. it took about 6 months before I could leave them alone unsupervised. After about a year they were sleeping together. They are best friends! Dont worry your dog will get used to your new addition!
For some puppy tips, crates are great, but dont use puppy pee pads in the houe! they teach dogs to go against their natural instinct and eliminate in their “den”! trust me, my uncle didnt take this advice, and a year later his pup still isnt potty trained. Another thing, young puppies can be molded very easily. Make sure to get him used to nail clipping, brushing teeth grooming and handling. Do this with positive reinforcement.. Even if you just trim one nail and reward, then pretend to do the others, you will get your pup used to this excersise. With big dogs obedience is pretty important, teach her to walk on a loose leash and how to greet people properly. Also teach her that your are the boss, have her do simple things like sitting before her meal, so she respects you. Another thing with puppies is toys, they need to chew so provide them with many to teach them what is to be chewed and what isnt. Lastly, dont forget to pay attention to your older dog. Give her special attention, the puppy won’t notice, but it will reduce jealousy and help them get along better in the long run. Enjoy your new addition.

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