Top Ten Things Not to Say to a Puppy Owner



The inspiration for this post has been a month of puppy raising.

10 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say, “Is that a new puppy?” If you do, at best you will get a, “yes.” At worst, the owner will wonder if you lost your mind and answer, “no it is an old puppy.” (I think you could have guessed there have been some long nights, Eberhardt.)

9 If you meet a puppy owner whose name is Tiny, do not say, “What kind of horse is that?” If you do, at best Tiny the WWF champ will think you are kidding. At worst, Tiny just left the vet’s office with strict instructions to cut back on the amount of food he is feeding his Great Dane Puppy. (We all know you didn’t mean to hit a sore spot, Ede. The knowledge is not going to help sooth that pain though, so running is definitely in the cards right now.)

8 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say, “Your arms look like you’ve been using.” If you do, at best the owner will laugh at the statement. At worst, you’ll be handed the puppy so you can experience the joy of those needle-like teeth for yourself. (One way to get a puppy to release is to offer a chew toy, Edwaldo. Oh, you don’t have a chew toy? Next stop the ER.)

7 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say, “How much did that puppy cost?” If you do, at best the owner will ignore you. At worst, you will have to be patient as the owner details all the expenses so far. ( It has been ten minutes, Efrem and now it looks like you are going to miss your bus. Aren’t you glad you asked?)

6 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say, “Is that a purebred?” If you do, at best no one cares. At worst, you will have touched on the one item on which the owners violently disagree. (How were you to know these two were on the verge of a breakup over the question of pure breed or not, Ekewaka. Well, it looks like the whole argument has flared again. Best to quietly walk away.)

5 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say, “How are you adjusting?” If you do, at best you’ll get a stiff upper lip response with no detail. At worst, your question triggered a very loud and tear-filled explanation on how hard it has been. (Even though you are not totally comfortable, Elden letting this person sob on your shoulder is the right thing to do. I would tell those people they can move on and quit gawking.)

4 If you meet puppy owner, do not ask, “Is your puppy house trained yet?” If you do, at best the owner has no concerns about house training. At worse you might have to listen to a lecture on the psychological damage owners inflict on poor puppies expecting house training too early. (Well, I guess it isn’t going well, Elhanan. What is your guess?)

3 If you meet a puppy owner, do not ask, “Which is easier Puppies or kids?” If you do, at best the owner will be honest and say “kids.”. At worst, you’ll get a stink eye from hell and a request to step aside. ( Looks like both jobs are a problem, Elisha. I would step aside before someone gets hurt. Namely you.)

2 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say, “Why did you pick that name?” If you do, at best the owner will assume you are not being critical. At worst, the owner will think you are questioning the choice and go to extremes to make the name choice seem plausible. (I think the owner believes everyone names their puppy Little Poop, Ellen. I, like you, wanted more information about that choice. Oh well, maybe next time.)

1 If you meet a puppy owner, do not say,  “What made you get a puppy?” If you do at best, you’ll get a heartwarming story. At worst, after the crying stops, you will feel sorry for the owner and the puppy and are now the proud owner of a new puppy. (I have to say, Elmore that puppy is better off with you.)


  1. Mmmmm! Great, very dramatic & heat-touching suchi-set, dear John…I guess it is a bit dangerous to ask all these askies, for the puppy might not like you & do something eccentric to show that 🙂 🙂 🙂 The puppy is cute, anyhow!

    1. Thank you, Maria. I like the word ‘askies.’

      1. 🙂 You are welcome, dear John! 🙂 Keep this notion for curious ones!

  2. Lol! You had me laughing from the start, John! Happy Monday! 🐶

    1. Thank you , Jill. That is the goal. 😀

  3. You have to laugh at these – ’cause how many of us have been guilty of asking a couple of these questions?!!! 🙂

    1. Me? Yeah me too. Thanks, GP.

  4. Took me a minute to figure out #8. I can kind of a understand #10 since it feels more like bad wording of a ‘new pet’ question. Pretty sure #5 is asked of pet owners and new parents with similar results.

    1. You are so right about new parents, Charles. Thanks. I think you could sub the word baby for puppy on all of them except for the teeth. 😀

      1. Babies do bite eventually, but definitely not like puppies. The pure-breed question would be awkward.

      2. Ha ha ha. I forgot that one. Awkward wouldn’t even cover it. 😀

      3. Just say 100% mutt.

      4. Which would be true.

  5. Yeah, I rarely ask about the choice of names no matter how strange it may be.

    1. Good advice for humans as well. Thanks, Andrew.

      1. You have me laughing. Never thought of it, but it really is.

  6. Oh those little teeth. I know them well.

    1. I’m sure you do. Thanks, Craig. 😀

  7. I guess dog owners’ arms look like they’re users – cat owners look like cutters. Especially after the cat slips out the front door and hides in the bushes while his family is late for a Derby party. Oh – and it’s pouring rain.

    1. Ha haha. Oh my, Teri. You paint a great picture. 😀

  8. John, sorry to say if I met up with you and your adorable puppy, I would probably ignore you (and not ask questions) while I’m loving up the white wonder. She’s so cuuuuuuute!!!

    1. Ignoring me is a good thing, Mary. In fact that is what pretty much happens. 😀

      1. LOL! Really, I’d probably talk to you long enough to tell you how cute your puppy is (which you already know) and go back to puppy kisses and tummy rubs.

      2. Ha haha. I’m good with that.:-D

  9. I’d add just one more: never ask, “Has that dog taught you to sit, stay, and fetch yet?” At best the owner will laugh. At worst he’ll bite your arm. Great list, John!

    1. Thanks, Linda. A good one for sure. 😀

  10. Great list, John. We’ve been through hour pups. I think we’ve heard them all. Nobody is in the ER, but some came close.

    I’ll go with “oh my goodness, that’s the most adorable puppy – ever!!”

    1. Very safe and wise, Dan.

  11. Gwen Plano · ·

    Loved your list and of course the photo of Twiggy. We had pups when the children were still young. The kids handled everything, except, of course, potty training. That was mom’s responsibility. 😀 Love the memories, especially fresh by your sharing Twiggy with us.

    1. Thanks, Gwen. Many memories for sure.

  12. “Which is easier Puppies or kids?”

    Depends on whose kids.

    1. Or whose puppy.

  13. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    I have heard what made you get a puppy more than once…lol Great list John– another Monday Monday smile 🙂

    1. Super, Denise. Glad you liked it.

  14. The picture of Twiggy is adorable, and your list entertaining. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jan. Always appreciate your comments.

  15. Aw, it’s probably Nature’s design that ALL puppies are so adorable. That’s why we “forget” how much time and attention (not to mention expenses!) they require and gleefully fork over all, just so we can have one around. Then they wrap their tiny paws around our hearts and we’re hooked forever. Nicely done, John.

    1. Thank you, Debbie. So well said.

  16. Reblogged this on DSM Publications and commented:
    Author John Howell is back with another top ten list. This one has the Top Ten Things Not to Say to a Puppy Owner. Get the full list from his post on his Fiction Favorites blog.

    1. Thank you for the reblog, Don.

      1. You’re welcome.

  17. John, you nailed it! So funny, and the picture of Twiggy is just so darn cute. Have an awesome day! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Natalie. You as well.

  18. Twiggy is adorable, John, and thanks for the laughs. These are great!

    1. Thank you. Lauren.

  19. I don’t question the choice of names, but sometimes ask why, and what the name means.

    Having experience with children, and a puppy I think puppies/dogs are far easier to train and raise than kids. They mind much better too. 🙂

    1. Definately mind better. Thaks, Deborah.

  20. As per Number 3, while I don’t rightly feel it’s appropriate to say puppies are easier since I have kids, I will say that puppies are better company than kids.

    1. Ha ha ha. That is a great observation, Marc.

      1. Having worked with the public basically my entire life, I can tell you with all honesty that when a puppy makes the scene, it always makes my day. Kids . . well, they have the opposite effect.

      2. I can understand that for sure. 😀

      3. You get me, John. 🙂

      4. Oh . . . today’s the day! A new series by John Howell!!!!

      5. I loved it John!

  21. Brilliant, John, this reminds me of when I was a new mother.

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, Robbie.

  22. I love the thought of Tiny having a great Dane, John. Just imagine if he too was called Tiny? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked of our two “are they sausage dogs on little legs?” or “why did you cut off their legs?”

    1. Ha haha. Makes you wonder.

  23. #8 hilarious …but in general- say nothing, just look at the puppy and enjoy

  24. All great comments and I assume were learned when you got your own cute-as-a- button puppy!
    Usually I see owners on walks with theirs and comment, “Nice to see your puppy taking you for a walk!”

  25. Another winner, John. I laughed (and grimaced) through each one. The last time we got a puppy (Golden, 8 weeks), I was in tears by the second week, wondering what the heck I was ever thinking of. I wanted to return that puppy. But my other family members remarked they’d return me, but the puppy was staying. I made it through, and Henry became our 3rd child (well, the other two think he became our #1 child). 🙂

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