You've decided to get a puppy! Or maybe you're on the fence and are still trying to decide. Either way, congratulations! I can't even begin to tell you how much that little bundle of joy is going to change your life for the better. If everyone greeted you the way a dog greets you, we'd be living in an incredible world.
However, it's best to go in with your eyes wide open because there are a few things NOBODY TOLD ME before we got our puppy. Know what? I would have liked to have known because life is better when you're prepared.
You don't want to be like this when that puppy makes its way through your doors:
You'll spend hours trying to find the perfect name for your puppy. Maybe you chose a name with meaning, maybe you decided to go for the punny name like “Five Miles” so you can tell everyone you walk five miles every day. Maybe you decided on it beforehand or maybe you waited to meet your puppy to see if the name you had in mind was a good fit.
No matter what name you choose, no matter how perfect it is...for the first three months, your puppy will think her name is “Drop It.”
Drop it will be your new go-to phrase because that little puppy of yours likes to eat, well, everything.
Your sweet little puppy who you’re going to talk baby talk to no matter how much you think you won’t - "because who's the cutest wittle puppy in the world? It's you Ella Bella and I'm going to rub that cute Ella Belly, oh yes I am" - is going to eat everything she can get her little puppy paws on. EVERYTHING. Our puppy has eaten or chewed on all of the following:
The good news is, you’re going to teach her how NOT to chew/eat everything.
The bad news is, my running shoes were unrecoverable.
Maybe you have this image in your head about taking long, peaceful walks with your dog on trails. Or maybe you envision regular walks through your neighbourhood, or even going on an evening jog and "OMG! This dog is going to help me get in shape!"
The reality is that in the first year, she's still a puppy and that little munchkin is going to be curious. Walks will be more like you taking two steps forward and your puppy stopping to sniff the tree, the fire hydrant, a blade of grass, a pine cone, chasing a piece of paper blowing by, and/or eating rabbit poop. It’s a process that needs patience.
Also, she may simply lay down and refuse to move while she bites her leash (see "eating everything" above).
Gentle advice: This too shall pass.
I’m going to be quite honest with you, you’re going to have to let go of your cleanliness standards a little bit. Once, in a moment of desperation, I asked my friends on Facebook the following:
Tips for keeping on top of dog hair throughout your home – Stat.
The answers ranged from:
“Just give in to the dark side of knowing it's practically impossible, short of following your dog around with a vacuum cleaner.”
“I have no tips, just my own tears.”
"I vacuum pretty much daily, use sheets to cover furniture, and dog pillows so I can easily throw them in the wash. I also use those tape pet-hair rollers every time I leave the house to get rid of the dog hair on my clothes."
But I'm also going to tell you, it’s not all doom and gloom. You’re going to find your own groove on how to keep on top of things and the love and laughter your puppy gives you will MORE than make up for the hair.
Repeat after me:
What goes in, must come out.
This is now your mantra for the next couple of months until your cute wittle puppy masters the art of holding her pee and poop.
During the first couple of months with a puppy, you’re going to lose sleep because they just can’t hold it in. It’s not their fault and you need to be patient. Whether you choose to get up and take your puppy out at night or use puppy pads for her to do her business throughout the night, you're going to get woken up.
And it’s going to be the same thing during the day. As soon as she eats or drinks, you need to become Usain Bolt and do the mad dash to the door to get that puppy outside.
Even though it may seem like forever when you're going through this process, the time will go by in the blink of an eye and your puppy is going to learn to let you know when she needs to go.
Helpful Hint: We hung a bell by the door and our puppy now rings it whenever she needs a bathroom break.
So those are the main things I learned when we got our puppy but the most shocking thing I didn't know, was this:
Enjoy these #PuppyMoments because your little puppy is going to grow faster than you think and you're going to look back at photos when she was teeny tiny and wonder why you didn't snuggle her more.