While many kids beg their parents for a new furry friend in the family, adopting a pet is a serious commitment, particularly if that pet is a puppy. Puppies, more than any other age of dog, require tons of work to train and acclimate into a household, and caring for them can be exhausting. Before you commit to bringing home a puppy, make sure you’re really ready to care for them with these tips.

Prepare Your Home

While puppies might be incredibly small at first depending on the breed you adopt, they can be surprisingly destructive when it comes to your home. Puppies can leave a mess on the floor before they’re housebroken, as well as tearing up curtains or sofas and just generally being a bit of a walking disaster. Your favorite baseball bat? It might do well in temperatures over 65 degrees, but it won’t be doing much of anything if your puppy gets hold of it. Make sure your home is ready and prepared to take the kind of abuse that comes with a young, energetic puppy, particularly your floors. Make sure your flooring material is able to be refinished or updated as needed – for example, engineered bamboo floors can be refinished up to two times.

Find A Trustworthy Breeder

When possible, you should aim to adopt a rescue from a shelter – these dogs need a loving family to give them a good home. However, if you are choosing to buy a puppy from a breeder to have more control over the process, be sure you’re adopting from a trustworthy and reliable breeder, not a pet store. Going directly to the breeder means you’re sure you’re supporting a responsible business, and shopping small is always good for the local economy anyway. There are nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S., so do some digging to find a local breeder near you before heading to the nearest pet store chain.

Make The Time

Once you’ve got a puppy in your family, expect to have far less free time than you’re used to. Raising a puppy takes work, particularly while you’re still training them. These little bundles of energy require plenty of activity and exercise to keep them healthy and out of trouble. Most dogs benefit from daily aerobic exercise and a 30-minute walk, but this will vary depending on the breed you go with. Make sure you can take the time off to get your puppy used to living with you and your family – they need company, love, and plenty of patience.

Find Resources For Help

When you’ve got a puppy in your home and it’s your first pet, you’re undoubtedly going to have many questions. How do you keep your puppy away from the curtains? How do you convince them that your favorite pair of shoes isn’t their new favorite chew toy? When in doubt, you can go to the internet for simple questions, but Youtube in particular can be a good source for new pet parents. There are about 300 billion searches on YouTube monthly, meaning you’re definitely not the only one with your question in mind. For more serious or urgent issues, however, it’s good to have a trusted vet on speed dial. Find a vet you trust near you before you adopt your furry friend.

Thinking a puppy sounds like a bit too much work? Consider adopting an older dog. These pets need just as much love, but often have lower energy levels than very young puppies. Talk to your local shelter to see what age of dog is right for you and your family, or if you should consider another type of pet altogether.