The decision to purchase a dog for your family is a big one, it's a bigger decision that deciding to buy a new car or a new home. This decision is one that many people don't realize it's magnitude until after they have the dog. This is quite unfortunate for many of these dogs because some of them end up in a pound somewhere or being sold or given away to other families, or worse put down or neglected.

The idea of a puppy in the home is one that kids everywhere beg their parents for - they ask and plead, promising to take care of it fully. Parents usually know better-the novelty of a puppy only lasts for a short period of time, or until the kids have to pick up their first puppy present on the living room carpet. The fact of the matter is that kids can't actually fully care for a puppy, a puppy needs an adult who can train and teach in house training and obedience.

There are a number of things that you need to research before you decide to purchase a dog and it starts right in your own home.

Step one - Look Around Your Home

The first step to the decision is to look around your home, even if the decision has already been made, take a last look at the way your home used to look, because in the near future, it probably won't look the same once you have a puppy. If you are quite fond of your furniture, you may want to look at where you can house the puppy until it learns not to chew the legs off your chairs and the arms on your sofa - if you don't have an area like this, you will have to consider other methods of containment or rethink your decision.

Take a look at your carpet. Remember, puppies don't come house broken, and there is a pretty good chance that they will have an accident or two on your living room carpet. It's not the end of the world, but you have to be willing to clean it u p with pet odor spray for carpets or perhaps even a rug shampooer.

Do you have knick-knacks around your home? If they are low to the ground where a puppy could get to them, or easily knocked over onto the floor by a large beating tail or a running-out-of-control puppy, you will want to relocate these objects.

These steps are known as puppy proofing your home. If you have children, it is similar to baby proofing your home, except that it seems a little more extreme in some cases Babies don't ruin furniture and carpets, but puppies can.

Step Two - Decide How Much Time You Have

Puppies take time — a lot of it. You should expect that your new puppy will require at least two hours of your time each and everyday, including that of your children. All together, a puppy(depending on the type)can eat up to five hours of your time each day.

You will need to allot time each morning to take your puppy outside, have someone to be there through the day to take the puppy outside once every half an hour until they learn their housebreaking. You will also have to allot time throughout the day and evening for walks, for a puppy, 15 minutes of a walk is plenty, but that should happen at least twice a day. As you puppy gets older, those two walks a day will need to increase in time and intensity so that your dog has enough exercise and playtime.

If your family can't find two hours each day to care for your puppy, then the decision is made — a puppy isn't right for you at this time. However, once you have established that everyone can and will allocate time to the puppy of at least two hours, not including extra play and training time, a puppy may fit well with your family.