Getting a dog is a huge decision, and not to be taken lightly. Once you bring that new fur-baby home, your life is going to be completely different. I knew all of this before getting my puppy, Bear. However, there are some things I didn’t know about having a new pet that I wish I had.
You wont sleep ( for a bit )
Being taken away from their litter and mother is very traumatic for a puppy, and being taken to a new place with all of its unfamiliar smells can be very scary. The first night is going to be TOUGH. Your pup is going to be scared and confused. Do your best to comfort him and try not to get frustrated with his whimpers. With Bear, when we picked him up, we brought a stuffed animal and rubbed it on his mother, litter mates, and whelping pen. The familiar smells might help calm your new family member. Our personal experience was, Bear was very difficult at night. He hated being alone in his crate. I slept on the floor next to his crate, played soothing music for him, with my hand on him through the bars, and talked to him through the night while he cried. I barely slept for weeks. I was only able to sleep when Bear slept during the day.
Get them on a schedule.
Having a puppy on a schedule is really important for the first week or so, especially with potty training. Regular potty trips will let your puppy know when they are supposed to go outside and that they are NOT supposed to being going inside. The more reliable you are with doing things at the same time everyday, the better behaved your puppy will be. Here’s a schedule I found really helpful when we first got Bear.
A dog is expensive!
I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of how much Bear has cost us, but Petfinder says that within the first year of life a dog cost from $766-$10,350! With all the vet visits, medications, neutering/spaying and just things they need in the first year alone, you are paying out a lot of money. Always be sure to have something set up in case of an emergency even if it means having a care card set up for your pet, you never want to have to rush your your dog to the vet and not be able to pay.
Training is hard, have patience.
Training a new puppy can be really hard, especially when you are trying to train them to stop a bad habit. Some tactics can backfire. When Bear was younger he was quite mouthy while he was teething. This is very common for his breed. To get him to stop, we would hold his muzzle shut for 3 seconds after a nip. This backfired on us because Bear started to hate having his nose touched at all. Stay away from negative training techniques. It may seem easier and quicker but the consequences outweigh the benefits. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a new pup, so load up on those training treats!
You have to register your pet
This one may seem simple, but I was unaware that you have to register your dog with your county and re-register them every year. An unregistered dog can land you a hefty fine so make sure you get that tag and put it on their collar.
Cherish this time.
Moms say it all the time about their children, the time flies. Our puppies are small for an even shorter amount of time. Cherish it, document it and soak it up as much as you can. Bear was so small when we first got him, just 14 pounds, now he is a whopping 72. He is only 8 months old and he is already a big dog! I wish I could go back to the days where I could actually pick him up and hold him, carry him in my arms. So, cherish your fur-babies while they are still small and sleep all day.
Having a new puppy is a bumpy road, but I am glad I chose this path. I wouldn’t trade Bear for anything. This was a big task to take on and I’m really proud I was able to handle it. If you are thinking of getting a dog or puppy, check your local rescues. An older dog might be better for you if you have a busier schedule. If you do get a puppy feel free to email me with any questions, at firstname.lastname@example.org and good luck!