Getting a puppy is a super exciting experience. They are tiny, cute and will be part of your family for many years to come. You’ve done your research, spoken to your breeder (or rescue) and have been shopping and bought ALL the things for your new arrival, you’ve got this! But do you got this? (Just kidding, you’ll be fine, especially if it’s not your first rodeo, or if you have actual human children). BUT, here are a few things you might not know when it comes to getting your bundle of joy.
Puppy Blues are a Thing
You’ve heard of postnatal depression, how about pawsnatal depression? Puppies are amazing, but puppy blues can hit at any time. When we first got our pup I cried, A LOT. I was scared to leave him, scared to be around him and convinced that everything was wrong, and I would end up killing him (he was fine, he still very much is. I am too). But you may question your sanity during this period and wonder why on earth you got a puppy. They are A LOT of work. There’s a lot of fun, training and getting to know each other in the first few weeks but you’ll soon get the hang of things.
You may experience anxiety, sleepless nights and a lot of stress, but the good news is, it doesn’t last forever. The first few weeks of pup life are definitely very testing, though. You may even regret your decision, but hold on and be patient, as long as you put in the work towards the dog you want as pup grows up, it will all be worth it.
They are Sharks With Four Legs
Puppies bite, A LOT. Not all puppies, granted, but it’s how they figure out the world, especially the new world they now live in. Puppy biting, or more specifically how to stop it is probably the thing most people ask when they get a new pup. Biting with those teeny, tiny shark teeth HURTS, they’re like tiny needles of doom intent on figuring out what each thing is one nibble at a time. There’s plenty of advice online on what to do if your pup enjoys being attached to you most of the time, so check it out and figure out what works for you.
There are a lot of great resources out there, as well as some good YouTube videos and Facebook groups. Be mindful that not everything will work for you (for example, saying, “OUCH,” for us just turned our pup into a gnashing lunatic who thought our noises were delightful and sent him into attack mode). It’s about finding out what does work, what your pup responds to and above all, being patient (I know I keep saying that).
They are Basically Tiny Terrorists
They will wee (and possibly poop) in your home, they will chew things they are not supposed to, they will wear you down until you’re a shadow of your former self and you question the very meaning of life. They are also stupid cute, eager to learn (well, some breeds), very loving and will change your life. Be prepared to want to kill them (but don’t, please). I will admit my pup tested me to the point I wanted to give up and strangle him (I didn’t, never have but it doesn’t mean I didn’t want to). They are hard work, I know I’ve said that a few times too, they really are. You have to watch them, set boundaries and teach them what you want and what is acceptable. It may take some time to sink in, but it’s worth all the effort.
Being a Pawrent is Many Things
Being a new dog owner (*cough* pawrent) is quite the experience. As you settle into your routine, get to know them, and they get to know you, the dynamic gets better. Reading things online is a terrifying experience and you may think you’ll end up doing everything wrong but you probably won’t. People will tell you what to do, they will tell you how to train them, how to raise them, and what to do in every given situation. It is your dog, you will know them best and you can do your own research. Training and teaching have changed drastically over the years. Gone are the days of sticking their face in their wee if they mess inside (newsflash, if they mess inside, it’s on YOU, it’s your job to train them and to take them out enough, their bladders are basically a pea). Also gone are the days of pack mentality and the like, you’ll find a lot of talk of positive reinforcement, and there really is nothing better than celebrating with your pup and learning how YOU can be the best teacher. It really is super rewarding.
Trust your gut, get to know your pup and do what works for you. By all means, ask for advice and be prepared to get given it even when you don’t. Mostly (and sometimes it’s really hard) enjoy it, you may think I’m mad for saying so, sometimes I thought people were mad for saying it, but having a pup isn’t all bad, in fact, it’s pretty awesome.
Different Breeds Need Different Things (Obviously)
We chose our pup based on what we wanted out of a dog. Something active, something we could take on adventures and one we could eventually train up to come with us on our mountain bikes (that makes me sound like I’m a health nut, when in fact I’m really not, ha).
Each dog will have different requirements, and I really do mean DOG. Just because it’s a certain breed doesn’t mean it’s going to be exactly like your friend’s, mum’s, cousin’s beagle. Each dog, like each person has their own personality. Obviously, you can work with that, and dogs tend to work around you and your life but it’s worth doing the research into the breed. You will hear horror stories for any, it’s like anything in life, just because it’s that way for someone doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same for you.
We also knew going into it that training would be important, especially at a young age. We work with and have a lot of fun with our pup to give him lots of mental stimulation and enrichment. You know when he’s bored because he’ll start looking for something to do. Not great when that something means he wants to eat the wall (true story, thanks, Barti). You’ll never know everything, you’ll never be perfect, but as long as you put the time and effort in, you will lay the foundation for the dog you want. It’s just as much about teaching them as it is about teaching yourself. Owning a dog will teach you a lot about yourself, and as I said, it will change your life. Give them your everything and they will give it back tenfold.
I should definitely add that I’m no expert, this post is just intended as a bit of fun. I’ve owned dogs all my life but Barti is the first my partner and I have owned together. There was quite a lot we didn’t realise for sure, but would we change it? Absolutely not.