When You’re Expecting a Puppy!

Read this page in its entirety before adopting. Please only fill this out AFTER you have completed an adoption application. Once you are finished, you can submit your signature below and a copy will be emailed to our adoption coordinators. Alternatively, you can view and print our Puppy Expectations using the link below and bring this with you to your meet and greet or an adoption event.

Are you adopting your first puppy, or maybe this is just the first puppy you’ve had in a long time? There’s a lot to plan for and educate yourself about, and we want to guide you through it. Many animals lose their homes because owners aren’t prepared. In other cases, families and dogs are mismatched. To prevent such painful situations for both dogs and people involved, we carefully evaluate adopters.

If you’re like most of us, falling in love with a puppy is easy. And no wonder! Sharing your home with a four-legged friend is of life’s greatest joys. Dogs give us unconditional loyalty, provide constant companionship, and even help relieve stress. Dogs require lots of time, money, and commitment—more than 12-14 years’ worth if you’re lucky. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt.


Do you have time for a puppy?
Dogs can’t be ignored just because you’re tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care, and companionship every day. Many animals in the shelter are there because their owners didn’t realize how much time it took to care for them.

Can you afford a dog?
Licenses, training classes, veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, gates and other expenses can add up. The first year without any emergencies can cost nearly $1200.00 (vaccines, routine vet visits, supplies) for a puppy. Food, Heartworm/ Flea/Tick preventives can cost $100/month depending on the size of the dog.

Are you prepared to deal with the challenges that a puppy can present?
Fleas, scratched furniture, accidents from animals that aren’t yet housetrained, and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.

Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet?
If you’re a student, military, or travel as part of your work, waiting until you’re settled is wise.

If you have kids, are your kids old enough to understand a dog needs to be treated gently and with respect, and is a living thing, not a toy?

Are you committed to training? Well-behaved dogs need to be taught. Training your dog can include formal puppy socials, puppy kindergarten, and even private training in addition to your own efforts at home. Our training program is available by emailing PLRDogTraining@gmail.com.

Extremely close supervision is essential to successful housetraining, and training your puppy to spend their resting time in a crate is the foundation for housetraining. A puppy can be expected to hold their bladder while awake for the same number of hours as their age (for example, a 4-month-old puppy can hold it for 4 hours).

If you’re having trouble house-breaking, follow these guidelines:
1. Overnight crating.
2. First thing in the morning, take puppy QUICKLY and DIRECTLY outside to pee/poop; stand quietly outside waiting for puppy to do his business; no playing, no touring the yard, no distractions.
3. Once puppy goes, he “earns” some playtime or a treat (inside or outside);
4. Continue to closely watch puppy once you are back inside.
5. Keep leash on indoors if needed to keep him close.
6. If you are not DIRECTLY supervising puppy, he should go back into his crate.
7. If more than 30 minutes of free-access playtime has gone by, either go outside until puppy urinates again, OR it is time to go back in the crate.
8. Every time puppy comes out of the crate, take him QUICKLY and DIRECTLY outside to pee/poop.

SOCIALIZATION doesn’t just mean interaction with other dogs and includes meeting other dogs, meeting new people, interacting with children, having their nails clipped, etc. Start early!

INTERACTIONS with your furry family members can be stressful. They might not be as excited as you are about a new puppy! Introduce your new dog to other pets in a supervised, neutral location until you’re sure they are getting along well together. Expect a transition period; your other dog/cat will likely not immediately become best friends with a new puppy. This will take more than a couple days, and may require that you limit the areas a puppy can go in your home, so your other pets can retreat, until they are more used to each other.

VETTING your new puppy is very important. They will have had their first round of vaccines, but will need additional vaccinations. Some are considered “core” or required by law, while others are lifestyle-dependent/optional. Your new puppy has already been given a dewormer, but repeat treatments with a dewormer are expected. Prevention of heartworm, fleas, and ticks is necessary. Consult your veterinarian for recommended products and a vaccine regime.

Okay, so, are you ready for a puppy?

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