Things to know about getting Puppy

On December 17, 2013 by mattywater

I recently got an email from someone who had stumbled across this Bender blog. She had a few questions about getting a new puppy. I’m sure she had scoured the internet for answers but honestly the web is kind of a terrifying place when it comes to puppy questions. People get really really really opinionated and self righteous on the internet, with no room for discussion.

For example, we got Bender a dog door and now he goes outside whenever he wants. He has taken to sleeping on the couch in our (un-insulated) sunroom, even last week when it was less than 10 degrees outside.

Golden Retriever puppy, Bender, lying down in the snow

Excuse me? It’s too chilly? I’ll come down with a cold? These things mean nothing to me!

So I googled “how long will my dog be ok outside in really cold weather?” I found one slightly helpful article from a sled dog vet. And a slew of comments like this on Yahoo Answers (for the record, I heartily advise against ever going on Yahoo Answers, it’s a terrible terrible place):

“Livestock lives outside. Dogs and cats are called house pets for a reason: they live in the house. Tomorrow take him and your cats to a shelter so they can be adopted by someone who actually wants to take proper care of their pets.”

“If I was your neighbor, you’d already have animal control over at your house ticketing you. That’s how serious this is.”

“If it’s too cold for YOU to be out, it’s too cold for the dog.“

Similarly, I googled “Ways to keep my dog off the couch” here are some choice answers:

Golden retriever puppy, Bender, on the couch practically clinging to it

This couch is comfy, and I REFUSE to move

“Dogs mean more to me than the sofa. I also ditched fabric in favor of leather. Much easier.”

“My dog has free reign of the house. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Why would you want to keep the dog off of the sofa? I enjoy my dog sitting next to me with her head on my lap.”

“If I didn’t want a dog on my furniture I wouldn’t own a dog.”

First off, I’m not LOCKING Bender outside in when it’s 2 degrees, he goes out there and plops down on the couch! I’m just wondering when I need to go out and scoop him up because he forgot he can come inside. And “just let him on your couch” is not good advice for “how to not let him on my couch.” Come on people.

Not to mention the fact that, on a daily basis, the internet likes to tell me I’ve poisoned, spoiled, harmed, or otherwise ruined Bender forever. “You fed him a whole almond?! He’ll be dead by morning!” “You gave him a dog door?! Too much independence, he will never love you!” “You let him outside by himself?! Say goodbye to at least one of his legs!!” People are bonkers.

Golden retriever, Bender, poking just his head through a dog door

Just checking in but I think I’ll stay outside this time.

I think in general everyone’s best bet is just talking to a trainer or a vet, and, like I said, staying far far away from Yahoo Answers. Anyway, the questions this reader had for me were as follows:

1. How did you choose your puppy?  I know the part about the lineage of the pup, but when you went to see the litter, what made you chose Bender?

2.What reading can we do to help prepare for bring our puppy home?

3.What supplies are absolutely necessary and what do you feel like you bought but did not need?

4.What kind of dog food do you use and why?

5.Best advice?  What would you have done differently?

So I sent her back essentially a novel talking about my answers to those questions, probably way more than she bargained for. But I thought they’d be good blog topics, so this is your heads up, I’m going to write out my answers and share them with you all in some upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned.

12/18/13 ADDENDUM: Check it out! The company we buy Bender’s food from, Eagle Pack, (their food is awesome!) just wrote a blog post on dog safety in the cold. It is full of lines like this: “A St. Bernard will be thrilled with the drop in temperature.” and “While many dogs will be prefer to be inside during the winter, the cold weather breeds (and some cats) will want to enjoy the snow more than you.” (Don’t worry, they also include lots of love for pups who might not be digging the snow so much.)

Dear Eagle Pack, thanks for not thinking I’m a terrible, heartless pet owner for letting Bender hang out in the snow. Sincerely Yours, Matty.

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