Maybe you just got a puppy, or you’ve been thinking about getting one.
Adding a new puppy to your family isn’t a decision to take lightly, but in my opinion it’s one of the most worthwhile things you can do. When I first got Bailey, she was ten weeks old and barely over 3 pounds. She was probably the smallest dog I had ever seen – in fact, her breeder had to walk us through how to feed her, how often to feed her (every four hours, even in the middle of the night), and how to check if her tummy was full or not.
Right away Bailey was a ton of work, but as I sat cuddling her and watching her sleep in my lap on the car ride home, I knew I was going to do whatever it took to give her the best life I could.
But it wasn’t long before Bailey was terrorizing our sweet, 13-year-old golden retriever, Casey, and having accidents all over the carpet. Having a puppy definitely hasn’t been as glamorous as our Instagram would lead you to believe, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! If you’ve got a new puppy in your life or you’re planning on getting one, this blog post will be a helpful guide on what sorts of things you can expect in the beginning.
Your puppy’s personality might change.
When you first bring your puppy home, she might be the sweetest, cuddliest, and most perfect pet you could imagine. She sleeps all day and wants nothing more than to be by your side. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations. The first few moments of honeymoon puppy bliss will more than likely melt away as your new family member gets accustomed to your house – ahem – I mean their house.
Don’t expect your dog to be perfect. There will be barking, messes on the floor, and lots of biting. The most important part is to be patient, and remember why you brought a puppy into your family in the first place. I promise it’ll be worth it in the end.
You’re going to have to be creative about exercising your puppy.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but young puppies can’t go outside for walks or adventures until they’ve had all of their shots. You’re going to have to get creative with keeping your dog active and mentally stimulated to protect your fingers, toes, and favorite souvenirs from Europe.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Teach your dog a new trick
- Play fetch with a favorite toy or ball
- Stuff a Kong toy with your dog’s favorite food and freeze it
It could take a while to potty train your puppy.
This was the hardest thing for me to come to terms with simply because of the consequences. Young puppies have a hard time holding it and also have trouble understanding where is okay to go to the bathroom and where isn’t. Expect frequent bathroom trips, especially after playing, eating, and sleeping. Stay consistent and try to take your puppy out to go to the bathroom as often as possible to avoid accidents.
One of my biggest tips for making the whole potty training process easier is to crate train your dog. A dog’s crate is a comfy, quiet space that totally belongs to him. Because dogs naturally avoid going to the bathroom where they sleep, your new puppy will be much less likely to have accidents when in his own little home.
If you decide to crate train your dog (which is almost essential, I think), you need to be very consistent and not give in to barking or crying. If your puppy is crying and you let him out of the cage because you want to comfort him, it does nothing but teach him that he just needs to cry to get what he wants.
Your schedule is definitely going to change.
Puppies don’t care about your sleep schedule. If they need to go outside for a potty trip in the middle of the night, you will definitely know about it.
You’ll have plenty of vet appointments in the first few months to take her to, and you’ll probably need to adjust your work schedule to accommodate your puppy’s tiny bladder.
Making sure you feed your pup at the same times each day can make their potty schedule much more consistent, but it’s still important to remember that you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.
You’re going to be completely and utterly in love.
While the puppy blues are definitely a thing many new dog owners experience, there is nothing more rewarding than raising your puppy into an awesome, adult dog.
Be patient, stay positive, have lots of treats ready to reward behaviors you like, and enjoy this time with your pup. They’ll be fully grown before you know it!