Puppy Love: EmBARKing on a Puppy Journey

By February 4, 2020 April 25th, 2020 Lifestyle
Puppy Love

This past Christmas, Santa surprised our family with a golden retriever puppy. There she was, sweet as can be, all wrapped with a bow under the tree on Christmas morning. Could anything be more magical? Honestly, no, it was one of the best and sweetest surprises ever. It was completely worth it. Since then however, there have been times when I have wondered if Santa may have had a momentary lapse in judgment when deciding to bestow a puppy upon our family.

Chirstmas Puppy
Puppy Christmas

We have had Shirley just a little over a month, and it has been great. She has been our furry bundle of love offering tons of puppy cuddles and nibbles. Although, I have to be honest, it has also been pretty exhausting, stressful, and definitely trying at times. So there you go, I have said it. Not everything about having a new puppy is all wine and roses. It’s a LOT of work. So much so that I thought I would share some of the things we wish we’d have known before going all-in. This is not to dissuade anyone from getting a puppy, if you are ready and able, go for it, but this is a post to help you be fully prepared before you bring home your new fur-baby.

Puppy Love

Before I jump into these tips I need to be honest, this isn’t even our first puppy. We have another dog, Max, who we also got as a puppy.  You would have thought we’d have this puppy thing down by now– not so much.  All puppies and breeds are different.  Both my husband and I are also amazed at how much we’d forgotten in the last five years about raising a puppy. I guess that oversight would fall under dog-mom brain, right? While I don’t know exactly what we were thinking when we took this on, I do know there are few things we wished we’d have remembered before jumping in head-first.

Girl and Puppy
Puppy Basket
  1. You will be tired. Just like babies, puppies don’t sleep through the night at first. When we got Shirley she was eight weeks old.  At that age she was getting up about 2-3 times a night to use the potty.  A good rule of thumb to remember is that puppies can hold their bladder about one hour for each month they are old.  Since Shirley was two months old, she was peeing about every two hours or so. Fun.
  2. There will be feces and urine inside your home.  Often. Seriously, there will be accidents and a lot of them.  We used pee pads at first for the middle-of-the-night breaks, but we took her out at least once in the back yard every night.  Even now, at 14 weeks old, she every once in a while has an accident.
  3. Your lifestyle will change. Puppies can’t really be left alone at first.  You are not supposed leave them unattended unless they are safe in their kennel or play yard.  Even then you can leave, but need to be back before the next potty break — this timeframe is measured in minutes not hours.  This may put a damper on your social life, but don’t worry, the puppy stage goes by quickly and before long they will be able to handle you being away a little longer. This makes crate training a critical part of having a puppy… unless you have lots of budget to replace shoes, carpets, couches, flooring, etc.
  4. Puppy-proof the house.  Puppies get into everything, and just like babies, they put everything in their mouth.  They are also teething, so unlike babies they like to chew on everything (including you) and destroy it.  Even as I am writing this I am pulling my tennis shoe from Shirley’s mouth. Again. This tip doesn’t mean just hide the things you don’t want to get destroyed.  It also means to store things that would injure the puppy if ingested or chewed. Things like household cleaners, small objects, and electrical cords are potentially fatal to a puppy… so of course the puppy seeks them out!
  5.  Patience.  This one I always wish I had more of, especially now.  Puppies like to sleep when they need to sleep and want to play when they want to play.  Unfortunately, the timing of these things sometimes doesn’t always aline with your schedule.  Just remember, you want to play with them as much as you can in order to create a strong bond. But truthfully, though the bond is important, you really want them exert enough energy during the day so they sleep well through the night. Playtime is time well spent as it leads to better sleep time!
  6. Puppies are expensive.  First off, they need a lot of gear. By gear, I mean things like a kennel, bed, lots of chew toys, training treats, food, a leash, and a collar. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but as you can see there are a lot of things involved and those items add up fast.  In addition, puppies need to see the veterinarian, and not just once.  Puppies need to visit the doctor several times in order to receive all of their needed vaccinations, and make sure they are growing strong and healthy.
  7. Four months is the magic age.  Puppies are not supposed to be out and about in public places or socializing with other dogs until they are fully vaccinated.  They receive their final set of vaccinations around four months of age. This period can seem like it lasts forever. I mean, you have a new puppy, so of course you want to show her off.  You also want to take your new puppy for walks to exert some of that endless energy, but oh well, safety first.  We are lucky because we actually already own an enclosed cat stroller. Our lucky puppy has been able to join us on walks without actually walking.
  8. Enjoy the puppy time. The puppy stage goes by incredibly fast. I actually added this last tip after looking through our photos from the last few weeks. It is really amazing how much she has already changed in such a short amount of time.  It seems that puppies, just like kids, grow in the blink of an eye.
There are the things we wish we remembered before we embarked on our puppy journey. Hopefully, my forgetfulness can help you be more prepared for your new puppy adventure.
Puppy 8 weeks
Puppy 12 Weeks
Golden Retriever
Puppy Stroller

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