How to know when you are ready for a puppy

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, July 7, 2023
Gladys Newborn puppy back
Gladys from the Genius litter

So, you think you might be ready for a new dog or puppy in your life soon, do you?

I know you’ve been doom scrolling cute puppy pics on Facebook.

I hear your sighs and cooing from way over here in eastern Washington state!

There is no denying it!

Those puppies flopping over on their backs for a tummy rub are ADORABLE.

I hear you.

Because… I do it, too. Ha!

(Not the rolling over for a tummy rub thing… the doom scrolling thing! )


Pouring over precious puppy pictures and actually purchasing a new puppy are two different things.

Are you ready…

truly ready…

like, really ready

for a new puppy in your home?

Well, here are the 10 essential questions you should answer to find out for sure.

  1. Have you done your research?
    This means you’ve read the ENTIRE website, spoken with American Dirus owners by joining our Facebook groups, read the Dire Wolf Project book, AND asked me any questions about the breed you still have by email or phone.
  2. Do you have the time?
    Puppies are needy just like a newborn baby. If you have a rigid, packed schedule without flexibility, then now is not the time. Puppies require vet visits, training classes, potty training, learning to sleep through the night, regular walks or play sessions, and a frequent feeding schedule.
  3. Are you ready for poop, parasites, puke, drool, mud, and hair?
    There is a reason the saying is “you dirty dog”. Dogs are frequently gross and filthy. Being a dog parent means dealing with all kinds of nasty fluids. Make sure you are prepared with poop bags, wipes, carpet cleaner, x-pens, crates, and various grooming supplies.
  4. Do you have the extra cash on hand?
    Puppies love toys and chew treats… which are NOT cheap. Vet bills are often much more expensive than you think, even for routine check-ups. Grooming and various training supplies could start to rack up. What if you have a training issue that you didn’t anticipate and now you need a special piece of training equipment? Make sure your budget can accommodate another living being needing your full love and support to thrive and grow.
  5. Do all of your family members agree?
    Dogs should not be an impulse buy. Take the time to speak with all in your household to make sure everyone is ready and willing to accept the responsibility of a new furry family member. It is a good idea to outline a plan with each member of the family so that everyone is prepared for their role in raising the new puppy.
  6. Do you have a good vet?
    There are lots of different types of vets out there. In fact, there are so many that it is down right intimidating to be able to choose just the right one. That is why it is essential to research your vet BEFORE you acquire your puppy. Do you need a holistic vet, a country vet, a general vet, an emergency vet, or a specialist? Where are they located in your area and are they taking new clients? What are their prices? Hours of operation? And how much of a wait is it to get in to see them?
  7. Do you know the best type of dog training method for your new dog?
    Do you want an all-positive, traditional, balanced, emotion-based, relationship-based, or science-based dog trainer? Do you know the differences between them? And do you know which type(s) will be best for the American Dirus dog breed? The type of dog training you do will mold your dog into the behavior it is going to grow up to exhibit. And don’t forget… not formally training is also training! Your puppy is learning whether you are training or not. So, set your puppy up right and PREPARE yourself for the type of training you will do with your new puppy.
  8. Do you live in an appropriate home for a new puppy/dog?
    High rise apartments in the city will not cut it. If you are planning to move in the next six months, its better to wait. You must have an ability to get puppy outside quickly to potty. You must have a space nearby where puppy can safely and securely play without being bombarded by strange dogs or people. Is there a busy street outside your front or back door where puppy could get harmed?
  9. Do you know what you are going to feed your new puppy/dog?
    Some people are adamant about feeding only an all-natural, species-specific, whole prey raw diet to their dogs. Is this something you know nothing about? Has grain-free kibble now been proven to cause health issues in dogs over time? Can a dog eat grains? If so, what kinds and how much? Is there an unsafe kibble brand? What type of treats are bad for dogs? And on and on! Make a plan for the best diet you can afford for your puppy BEFORE you bring that precious little furry love bug home.
  10. Do you have space in your home for a giant, fluffy, tail-wagging beast?
    If you already have three or more dogs at home and you live in town, what is your motivation for getting a “companion” dog? Our dogs are meant to BOND with humans, not be another member of the pack. We aren’t selling collectibles. Our dogs seek a relationship with their people. They aren’t at their best if they have to vie for attention from the many other animals you have to take care of. Can you provide that intimacy a new puppy needs with the amount of animals you currently have in your home?

If you’ve answered yes to ALL of the above, then you are ready for your new furry friend.

If not, though, you’ll want to wait until you can answer them all in the affirmative before getting a puppy for your family.

To help you along on the journey, the Winged Wolf Clan would like to invite you to join us. This group of American Dirus dog owners and enthusiasts meets together on Zoom to share and talk about the training needs of this unique breed of dog. Many of our owners have specifically trained their dogs as service dogs. These highly-trained dogs can provide much information to others about how the American Dirus dog’s mind operates.

Especially if you were stumped by number seven above, this opportunity to become a Winged Wolf Clan participant will be invaluable to you.

Read more about the details below:

Dear Dire Wolf Project Inner Circle Members,
As one who loves to learn about our DireWolf Dogs and service dog training and handling, I spoke with Jennifer about creating an informal group online where we as owners and enthusiasts can come together and discuss questions, topics or experiences we have had with our breed.

This online circle is only open to subscribers of the Dire Wolf Project Inner Circle Newsletter and to those members who are either training for, or already earned their Winged Wolf status.

This circle is specific to only our breed.

We will “meet” once a month on a Zoom portal, which will be approximately one hour long.

Jennifer will pop in on occasion and we will have special guest speakers from time to time. 

Monthly meeting will be the last Wednesday of every month beginning July 26 PM, 5PM, EST. 

Pawferctly Yours,
Jo Maldonado 
Enoch The Chosen, F4 (Buck/Sela)
Baruh A Baba, F4 (Stanley/Candy)


Meet author and co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project!

Thank you so much, Headmaster Jo!

And, as a special bonus… if you sign up by TONIGHT before midnight EASTERN, I will send you…


You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?

Better click the link below to find out!

I will send you…

P.S. We have now closed the DireWolf Express for this upcoming July 13th trip. Other than the puppies/dogs already sold, no others will be permitted to ride this round.

(If you purchase a puppy from us in the near future and you want the DireWolf Express to hand-deliver your puppy, you’ll need to wait until the next DireWolf Express trip heading out sometime this fall.)

We can’t wait to meet everyone with their new dogs!

Remember to follow Jay Stoeckl on the free PolarSteps app to get regular updates and track him in real time as he travels.

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.