puppy countdown

Heidi

It’s inevitable. When I share that I am getting a puppy, many people will ask me if I am rescuing/adopting.  My reply is, “No, I am buying a puppy from a reputable and conscientious breeder.”

This is such a controversial topic, and no one is wrong. There are many wonderful and legitimate rescue organizations out there. I’ve encountered and loved many dogs that have come through the rescue channels. I have friends who work hard for rescue organizations. The dog I got when I was 10 years old was an adopted mixed-breed. And I rescued all 6 cats I’ve owned. When I lived on the farm, I re-homed many kittens born in the hay loft.

However, as individuals, I believe that we need to think seriously WHY we are getting a dog and what is the best way to get the dog we want and need.  These are the questions I ask myself.

What do I want in a dog?

What do I need in a dog?

I want a well-bred dog whose breeder has taken all possible precautions when it comes to health clearances, temperament, and bloodlines. I want a well-grounded, confident, happy companion to live with me.  

I need a dog that will have the potential to be a therapy dog and work in schools and colleges. I also need a dog I can confidently take with me when I walk in a wide range of territory and terrain.

Once I can answer these questions, I then ask myself – rescue or purchase? I know immediately that I don’t want to take the risk in adopting or rescuing a dog with an unknown or questionable background. I want a clean slate to socialize and train my own puppy, capitalizing on my past experiences and via obedience classes.  It’s up to ME to be responsible and kind, being positive, consistent, and firm when I train.  Our animals mirror us. I will write more about this when I start sharing my approach to socialization and training.

Then we come to the question of breed. Twelve years ago, I started researching breeds I admired. Two were too high energy and one had an unsuitable temperament for therapy dog work. That ultimately led me to the Labrador Retriever.  This breed was the perfect candidate for the dog I wanted and needed. I have had two Labradors since 2007, and I’ve fallen in love with them. So, it’s a given that I am getting another Labrador puppy.

Puppy pick up has been pushed a day earlier, so now she will be coming home on January 10.

Time to start thinking about puppy-proofing my family room!

Stay tuned. . .

a new puppy

I am getting a female black Lab puppy in January, and I’ve decided to chronicle the process of raising and training her. My end goal will be that hopefully she is a suitable candidate for therapy dog work, so that will be an additional target in my training along with my focus on raising a calm, grounded, and well-adjusted dog. I am not a professional dog trainer, nor do I present myself as a canine expert, but I enjoy training puppies. I guess it is the teacher in me.

My scheduled puppy “pick up” date is January 11.

Fortunately, I already have everything I need and will not have to purchase anything.  Crate, toys, feeding bowls, collar, leash, dog bed, grooming tools. . .

For me, it’s not so much what I need to get for the puppy but how I envision establishing a successful routine for housebreaking, training, and socialization.  When the puppy arrives, and I get a handle on her demeanor and needs, the routine will quickly fall into place. 

This will be my first “winter-time puppy.” The cold weather will carry with it a different approach and challenges compared to raising a warm weather puppy.

As January 11th approaches, the most important decision I need to make is her name.  I do want to have a name chosen so that I can start using it immediately when she comes home. 

When I consider names for my dogs, there are two things which are important to me.  First and foremost, I must like the name and it fits the dog.  Secondly, it needs to roll off my tongue easily. I favor 1 or 2 syllable names because they work best in training.

I haven’t made a final name decision yet, but I’m currently leaning towards Leia, pronounced LAY-ah. I researched the name meaning and discovered it is Hawaiian for “child of Heaven.”  I’m sure the fact that I am a bit of a Star Wars junkie also plays a part. 

Eighteen more days to wait. . .

Stay tuned.

Puppies I photographed from a litter several years ago.