We debated for a few months about getting a puppy. It’s been almost 15 years since we got Cali as a 7 1/2 week old puppy. We knew absolutely NOTHING about raising a puppy when we got her, but we quickly read books, found a puppy class, learned how to use a clicker, and learned that a tired puppy is a good puppy. Somehow, we blocked out the first few weeks of crazy puppy, because we do NOT remember Cali ever being as wild as this one. This one is an adorable, stubborn, sharp toothed maniac.
We keep saying, “I don’t remember Cali being like this” . . .but we are starting to have flashbacks. “Oh yeah, I remember this!” It must be like childbirth – obviously you forget how painful it was, or else you would never have another baby! (purely speculation, since I’ve never had a baby!) We keep saying “good thing she is so stinkin’ cute . .but maybe we are biased, you judge for yourself!
Here’s what we have learned so far:
Puppy teeth are sharp like little razor blades. Make sure you have plenty of chew toys on hand to replace your bloody fingers with. SERIOUSLY.
Puppies need LOTS of sleep. Like 20 hours a day of sleep. You know what happens when you don’t force allow them to sleep enough? They become tiny little uncontrollable maniacs with snapping jaws.
Puppies need a schedule. It was much easier when we weren’t working from home because we had more of a “real” schedule. We HAD to be somewhere every day at a certain time . . we didn’t get to stroll to our desk in the next room, check email, and then decide whether or not we should shower today. NO, we had to get up, shower, make breakfast, feed the dog, walk the dog and hit the road. The dog knew exactly what to expect every day. We need a schedule – a REAL schedule!
8 hours of interrupted sleep is not the same as 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It’s been two weeks and we are exhausted, but it will get better (right??)
You are responsible for potty training your puppy. If your puppy has an accident in the house, roll up a newspaper, go in the bathroom, look in the mirror, and whack yourself on the head (I read this somewhere, it made me laugh!). Take them to their potty area when they wake up, after they eat, after a play session, before you put them to bed – the more you take them out, the better! Kenzie has had two accidents and we have accepted full responsibility for them – bad humans!
Your puppy is going to cry for your attention. If you are certain that your puppy doesn’t need a potty break, you will have to learn to ignore them. We have a little playpen area for Kenzie with a few toys, a water bowl, and her bed. We put her in there for some independent play time because we want her to be an independent dog. Sometimes she whines, cries, and howls for attention (it’s SO CUTE), but we have to ignore it. It’s tough, but unless you want to entertain your dog 100% of the time, you will need to teach them that it’s okay to be separated from you.
Crate training is one of the most valuable things we ever did with Cali. She learned to relax and she never got into trouble while we weren’t home. She never counter surfed, destroyed household items, or raided the trash. We have been super lucky with Kenzie so far, when we put her in her crate for a nap or bedtime, she settles right in and goes to sleep. I know it’s not right for every dog, but it works for us.
You’ll want to get your puppy to the vet right away. My hubby had to go to the office every day the first week we had Kenzie (we only have one car), so we didn’t get her in until the following week. She got her first shots and we found out she had worms (EW!) as most puppies do. She had roundworms, which are transferable to humans (double EW). It would have been nice to know that sooner, than later!
This is a crucial time to socialize your puppy. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors over. People of all shapes, sizes, and colors. (If you introduce kids, make sure they are NICE kids that know how to behave around puppies!) Make sure everyone loves on your new puppy and gives it plenty of yummy treats. When your puppy has had some shots, start getting it out for walks so it can experience the world. Do NOT take your puppy to the dog park.
Sign up for a puppy class!! Even if you have had a puppy before and you “think” you know what you are doing – it’s a great bonding experience for you and your pup, and your pup will get to do some socializing with other puppies – they NEED that!!
That’s it for now. I know I’ve left lots of things out – I blame it on the sleep deprivation! Do you have any advice for new puppy owners? I hope you’ll share it in the comments! I’m off to wear her out!