As we move on to week 2 of our new adventure, I must say that things haven’t gotten any easier! The sheer volume of daily decisions as new dog owners is overwhelming and non-stop. Plus, of course, there is more than an inkling of truth in the saying that having a new puppy in the house is like having a new baby! (P.S. It’s been 25 years since that happened for me!) What we have going for us: wisdom and ability to handle tough situations. What’s against us: hey, we’re no longer spring chickens!
From making decisions such as what kind of food to feed our new pup, to setting up and "baby-proofing" our home to accommodate him, to handling bathroom duties, there has been so much information to absorb and process that I have felt like my head is going to explode! I’ve had a few people, from the breeder to vet(s) to pet store owners to friends give their two cents worth—and I do appreciate you all—but in the end, my husband and I have found that we can only figure out what’s best for our puppy by trying things out ourselves. If something doesn’t work, then we try something else. Learning as we go is the only solution because every family/dog experience is different. And when we were feeling especially stressed out, we appreciated a visit from my son and his wife—who have their own two-year-old pup—because they showed us by example their best tips on how to make a puppy happy—which in turn makes for a happy household.
We are only nine days into this journey and already have pondered whether this was the right decision at this time of our lives. I am about to launch the two books I have been working on for a year—When Sleeping Birds Fly: 365 Amazing Facts About The Animal Kingdom is launching this week, and The Underdog Duckling launches in September—so my dance card is really full. However, I feel deep in my heart that we are going to be able to make it work; because, despite the fact that he keeps us on our toes from morning to night, Theo is SUCH a lovely puppy.
Here’s some random things I have learned this week:
Puppies can sound like kitties.
Puppies can have stinky gas if you feed them dog food they’re not used to.
Puppies do best with routines.
If puppies aren’t getting enough rest, they can become very wound up and bite-y.
Crating puppies for at least two two-hour quiet times during the day is the most loving thing you can do for them and yourself.
Puppies can be amazingly trainable.
There are certain massaging techniques (such as rubbing the inner and outer ears) that can calm your puppy down instantly.
Puppies will try to eat anything and everything! So you must remain vigilantly on guard.
If puppies start to bite you/your socks/your hands, gently hold their snout and/or give them something such as a bully stick to chew on instead.
Puppies can steal your heart with one look.
I promised last week that I would share a photo of our new puppy Theo, but I am going to leave that for a week yet! In the meantime, I would love to hear from you what are YOUR top tips for raising a puppy. Inevitably your tips will help out someone somewhere—maybe even me!—so I may include your tip(s) in a future blog.
So please comment below!
Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? When you sign up here I will send you a PDF of my award-winning puppy story “No Greater Gift” as a special thank you! This story was published in Christmas with Hot Apple Cider (2017).