Now you have more time to take on the responsibility of dog ownership, have you considered the benefits? What about a retirement puppy?
Our partner Vicky Carne, The Dog Coach writes about the health benefits of getting a puppy in retirement and the things you’ll need to consider to ensure your new canine companion matches your lifestyle and grows up to be a well-behaved and happy dog.
Dogs have spent some 20,000 years perfecting their role as our best friends. With the right guidance (training) they perform it very well.
They’ll also ensure you get regular fresh air and exercise – just make sure you find a pup whose adult exercise needs will match your own. And, did you know that being responsible for a pet in later life (not necessarily a dog, other pets too) has been shown to have additional health benefits, including reduced stress and lower blood pressure?
Of course, you need to make sure you get a puppy or rescue dog that’s a good match and whatever you choose, be aware of the time and financial commitments you are taking on.
Select your breed carefully
Read up on them, take advice from family and friends and when you’ve decided what will suit your lifestyle now and for the next decade or so, either speak to local rescue centres or make sure you’re buying a puppy from a recommended breeder. The Kennel Club or breed societies are good starting points for a pure breed. But whatever breeder you find, at the very least make sure to visit, perhaps ask for references from previous puppy purchasers, and always meet the puppy’s mother so you can be sure that she is a confident, friendly and happy dog.
Whilst you’re waiting for your new arrival, do take the time to find out the best way to care for and train your puppy. Over the past decade or so, our greater understanding of how dogs learn has led to significant changes in the best way to train them. It’s well worth updating yourself if you’re relying on memories of the family dog you grew up with over 60 years ago!
Biting, barking, chewing, digging and going to the toilet in inappropriate places are all perfectly natural puppy behaviours. Your new retirement puppy will be only too keen to learn how to behave at home and out and about on walks, but you do need to teach them.
The key that unlocks the secret of training is to keep in mind that what gets rewarded gets repeated. For example, if you always wait for your puppy to sit before you give him a meal (hold the bowl above his head and eventually he’ll sit so he can look up at you and the food!) he’ll quickly learn to ‘sit’. Similarly, if you give your cute puppy lots of attention when he jumps up at you, guess what, you will eventually have a larger, often muddy, grown dog doing the same thing.
Your puppy’s environment
The easiest way to begin teaching your puppy to do the ‘right’ things is to limit his options for getting it wrong. You can easily do that by managing your puppy’s environment. Don’t give your puppy free rein of the house – there are too many opportunities for wrong choices of toilet area and chewable items. Do find out how to make best use of crates, pens, gates and doors!
Have fun with your puppy!
For everything you need to train your perfect retirement puppy from day one, see Puppy Home School which is available at a special discount through The Joy Club.
You can also download a list of items to get before your puppy comes home from The Dog Coach.