If you know me you KNOW puppies are my kryptonite. I LOVE them, if I could I’d have Five…Hundred…Thousand…but I’d settle for five. I have Loved animals my whole life & especially puppies!!
So, this year Finally owning my own puppy I thought I’d share some tips on Picking, Buying, Training, Owning, & Loving a puppy. I am in NO way an expert or claim to be but as always I hope my words can ease someones mind or help someone somewhere in whatever way it may be. Enjoy!!
PICKING A PUPPY
-There are endless “which puppy is right for you?” tests/quizzes you can find online &/or you may already know what you “Think” you want. My thoughts, DO YOUR RESEARCH!! There will always be good & bad about each breed, that does Not mean you will have the same experience good or bad. Things I hear people say, I’ve heard it in my family, oh so & so has the sweetest_________ were going to get one of those!! THAT DOES NOT MEAN JUST BECAUSE YOU GET THE SAME BREED IT WILL BE EXACTLY LIKE SO & SO’S DOG. Just like people & children each dog is different.
DO your research, narrow it down. Something we even did was watch YouTube videos on the different breeds we were interested in, & came across some that made the decision even more difficult. But we would find videos on YouTube & watch puppy & adult videos of the different dogs to see how they interact & play; so that we could get to know the breed. I also recommend look up in your town or surrounding area & see if anyone local is selling puppies or a dog of your breed of interest. Go see them!! More often then not, with puppies, parents are normally on site. So you can get a rough idea how big they will get & look like when they’re grown & know what to expect somewhat. You can also ask the breeder because more than likely they with have had plenty of experience with the breed.
Also Take into consideration how much you are willing to spend on a dog, think about breed, adopting from a shelter or buying a purebred, long coat or short coat, large dog, medium or small, high energy or a coach potato, a puppy, adult or geezer puppy, one pre-trained or one you train yourself, also something most people don’t take into consideration is breeds that have more health risks than others. All these things play into cost of a dog that most may not think about when they catch “Puppy Fever”.
DO NOT GET PUPPY FEVER
– Oh do I get, have, had Puppy Fever. It is SO easy to fall in love with those adorable puppy eyes, tiny little soft cuddly body, that lil puppy bum & the sweet puppy breath (am I the only one who loves puppy breath?)
Unless you are ready for a baby or toddler, put that puppy down!
PREPARE PREPARE PREPARE
It breaks my heart when people get puppies & then lose interest when they are no longer “cute” or they didn’t do their research & their puppy didn’t turn out to be what they expected or wanted, which in no way is the poor puppy’s fault. Having a puppy is like having a child or toddler, (well a little easier in my opinion but all in all very similar) they need love, they cry, they pee, they poop, they need your attention & time with you.
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO
– Financially, Physically, Time Wise, & Space Wise
Make Darn sure you know what you are getting into, we prepared by doing what I mentioned above & though it didn’t prepare us for everything it prepared us pretty well mentally of what to expect. I had a rude awakening because I had grown up with animals & dogs aside from the couple years of being married before moving to Texas, I never lived in a home without a dog. So I was SURE I knew what I was doing HA just like kids they know how to push buttons or be stubborn at all the wrong times & yeah having your Own is Different.
BUYING A PUPPY
– Most people know if they want to buy or adopt.
I am all for adoption of all kinds, But I personally like knowing the dogs, history, health history, life expectancy, & temperament. I more so had a fear of getting a dog from a shelter & it not being good with kids, or people, or other dogs. But I knew if I did adopt, I’d get a puppy because then I could raise it & raise it up with my nieces & nephews & in the future our own kids. Now I know that sounds awful Because it breaks my heart when I see older dogs in shelters & here I am a stereotypical person who goes for the “cute” “puppies”, Diesel just happen to be our puppy he was everything we were looking for & it was meant to be. Whether he had been months old, years, or decrepit with a milky eye & bald patches I would have loved him the same, I do wish I could have all the old puppies in the shelters because it breaks my heart they are not spending their last years in a comfy home being spoiled.
& honestly there are people who get mad at people for not adopting & to them I say its not Your decision. I don’t think it makes you any less of a person or a bad person for that matter if you choose to buy vs adopt. However there is a sweet experience when you adopt & I wouldn’t trade or would have expected a more suitable fit than our Diesel. Adopting is not for everyone, do whats right for, You.
TRAINING/WHAT TO EXPECT
– BE PREPARED. No matter the dog no matter the age, Puppy proof. If you don’t want it chewed, destroyed, or peed on put it up, do without, or find a replacement that’s pet friendly. Even my dog being almost one he still is like a toddler, any little things are on the floor he grabs it & takes off with it. Get the basics, I HIGHLY recommend a crate, food & water dish, if you have a big puppy or dog or will be big get an elevated bowl or dish holder, puppy food, treats, stinky treats, Leash, collar, name tag, harness if you need, dog bed or cushion, pee pads, shampoo, brush, toothbrush, tooth paste, Q tips, & LOTS & LOTS & LOTS & LOTS of Toys!!
Toys are HUGE Diesel has NEVER well okay minus a couple things, he really has never chewed & destroyed any of our things. I have always made sure he has a crap load of toys to distract him with. Also I am home most of the time so I never keep him in his crate & never do when I am home. When I am gone he is in his crate but home he is always with me, yes there are those times when its suspiciously quiet but most of the time he hangs in the same room I’m in & he’s never really gotten into horrible mischief because he is always with me & I keep a close watch on him. I hear some people just leave their dogs or puppies locked up all day & that just pents up energy & feelings of neglect that they will more often than not take out on things or you because they just want & need attention.
Exercise is HUGE especially in puppies & high energy dogs, I don’t know a dog who doesn’t perk up & get the “Walkie?” wiggles, when you say that magic word. It doesn’t have to be miles at least take them with you to the mail or around the block once or a couple times. Doing this will also help them be good on a leash & not sled dog ya across town.
-Whether your a trainer yourself or need help I Highly recommend getting a dog trainer. They are easily found at your local pet store & most offer classes locally & they are surprisingly inexpensive! I am Great at teaching basic commands & tricks but I needed help in getting Diesel to stay & listen & come better especially as he got older. We’re still working on things, Dogs love being trained, its fun for them & they get to spend time & get attention from their favorite human, You!!
OWNING & LOVING
– I’m just going to share what has worked for me & share some of my favorite products that we love.
I don’t know why but I HIGHLY over shot how much It was to own a dog. Vet visits & vaccinations are surprisingly affordable. Now the price goes up if you spoil your dog like we do, I sometimes feel bad because I hope I can show Diesel as much love as I do now when we have two legged puppies come along one day. Big things for me were the basics:
- Collar Name Tag & Leash- we got our leash & collar from the shelter we got Diesel from & both cost like $8 bucks, the tag we got made at our local H-E-B
- Dog Dishes- we got at our Local H-E-B
- Crate- was actually a hand me down but its kinda wonky so we hope to get a new one from Petco.
- Crate cushion- I actually just used a blanket when Diesel was just a puppy but after he was potty trained I got him a Big comfy Lumberjack (of course) print beddy.
- Pet beds- I actually have two pet beds in addition to his crate, one is by my bed he sleeps in (when he gets shoved out of our bed when he tries to come cuddle) & the other is also in our living room & is his Place bed/ one of his many nap spots. ( a place bed is a designated place or spot where if you choose you can have your pet go when you need them to stay or if someone comes to the door, visitors come, or while your eating)
- Laser- Okay people are Biased on this one but Diesel LOVES Mr. Dot. You say “Diesel wanna play with Mr. Dot” he will drop whatever he is doing (unless cheese is involved) & will chase Mr. Dot til his little heart is content. This may not be the best but its helpful when we have had a busy day & its too late or we didn’t have time to walk him, we will play Mr. Dot in the Backyard & it wears him out & he is a little happy pup.
- Brush- Diesel hates the brush but loves being brushed if that makes sense but no matter the coat, brush your pup.
- Q tips- clean those ears, especially for dogs more prone to ear infections. (just remember to not go in deep)
- Shampoo- most people groom their dogs, that is something I try to save money on expense wise & do myself, I have gotten Diesel Groomed once but no offense I feel like I do a much better job & Diesel is soooo soft especially after a Baffie, & when I got him back he felt course & I was like uh no thanks Plus this shampoo I use I get from Target, makes him so soft & smell sooo yummy, they have other scents too but I love the Coconut Lime Shampoo!! Diesel is either soft by nature or he is soft because this is the only shampoo I have used on him & ask my sister she always is like “Diesel is SO Soft!”
- Nail Trims- this is something I cannot do, I used to clip our family dogs nails & still sometimes do for my mom but its like playing operation. Once I got a teensy bit too short & they yelped & it broke my heart that I hurt them so I just can’t so we go to our local Petco & get it done.
- Toothbrush & paste- just get the paste. They have this gel stuff at Petco that you can brush or rub on their teeth & it works great so Just buy the gel! Unless you have doodie heads at your local pet store, I just ask for a toothbrush when I need a new one. When I take Diesel to get his nails trimmed, they always give me one for free & sometimes more than one!!
I am going to let you in on my secret… it has saved me a shlew of money!! Its….HOME GOODS. To most peoples surprise they have Pet stuff!! I buy my, pet beds, cushions, some treats, some things I will mention momentarily.. but mostly TOYS!!
- Toys- toys can add up and wowza are they expensive!! I’m sorry but you want me to pay how much for a toy my dog will pull the stuffing out in 5 minutes? yeah HOME GOODS. Their toys are half price & I can get way more & I’m not so hurt when they get destroyed because 1. its not my furniture or shoes & 2. their cheap & I can just go load up on more later.
- Tooth Gel- that tooth gel I mentioned, saw it half price at Home Goods.
- Pet Beds & Cushions- big ones I’ve paid no more that $30 bucks for.
- Gulpy– okay if you are a runner or not if you just like going for walks, this thing is awesome!! I love it & its the best one I’ve seen & I’ve gotten all of mine at Home Goods. They have a big size & a half size I like both, one for longer walks & one for shorter ones (also great for road trips). Its a travel water bottle for your dog, its got a trough attached to it they can drink out of so no carrying a bottle & bowl any more!! I love em & its a GOOD thing to have when we go for walks in the Texas Heat. (keep those puppies hydrated!!) Both sizes are less than $5 bucks each at Home Goods.
- Leashes- we have a ton of these, we have your regular 4-6′ leash, a 15′ leash & a 30′ leash. We have a 2 in one that I Love from Petco that you can get a 4 or 6′. It has a short handle which I love, great for training to heel or to keep close to you when other people or dogs pass by or to just keep them close. We also have a harness, we used a pinch collar when he was a puppy, but if I could go back I never would have used one.
- Blankets- also Home Goods, (I’m telling you Home Goods!!) has dog blankets, good to lay on couches if your pet is allowed or to help keep them warm in the winter times.
- Seat belt, car mat, chair covers for the car, divider to keep from jumping in the front of the car- we’ve all gotten from Home Goods.
- Dog Food, Treats, stinky treats- we all get from Petco,but as a special treat/high reward treat, He LOVES CHEESE. I don’t do many bones but every now & then we will get him a deer shed or a rawhide (no knots). Also I highly recommend Nylon bones, we did get Diesel a softer nylon bone & I hated that thing there were chunks of it everywhere, his harder ones no mess I love em!! (got em at Home Goods)
- Poo bags- you can get these in bulk at home goods & most come with a dispenser (please scoop the poop, coming from one who has cleaned multiple pairs of shoes)
Some last tips that have helped me, some of which I have touched on before are:
- Love them. Dogs are the best they are always happy to see you & they just know love. Its so great.
- Spend time with them-where ever you are bring them with you where ever you can especially inside the home, no one likes to be alone & neither does your puppy.
- Walk them. All dogs love walks & need the exercise. No matter the business of the day make time for your buddy, he has all the time in the world for you!
- SOCIALIZE, I wish I hadn’t listened to someone when they gave me crappy advice. Socialize your dog & take them to pet stores, get them out as much as you can & while they are young they will behave so much better in public & around other dogs if you do.
- DO NOT use the crate as time out or make it a bad place for them to be. They will associate bad things with it & not want to be in it or cry, whine when they are in it. We have put Diesel in timeout or tell him Naughty when he has been a turd but NEVER have I used his crate for punishment, with the exception of having to clean up messes & I have put him in His crate to get him out of the way so I could clean up a mess.
- DO NOT get mad at them for peeing or pooping in the house! If they know better then Maybe, but they can’t help it especially when they are puppies they are still learning. You can tell them Naughty & then right away put them outside. Never beat or hit your puppy they are just like babies they are still learning & don’t know any better just yet.
- Let them Think, Patience, have lots of patience, time invested in your puppy in the beginning will pay off later. If your playing with your dog or ask them to get their ball give them a chance & give them the credit they deserve. Dogs are SMART, we’ve done this with Diesel & now he’s to smart for his own good lol no he’s great. But we tell him get your ball, or look your bone is over there, or your kong is in your beddy in the room, we give him a chance to process & think for himself instead of “oh you dang dog its right in front of you!!” Give them a chance they will surprise you.
- Make a big deal, if your dog does something good or praiseworthy, PRAISE THEM, make a BIG DEAL they will get so excited & be like OH I get mom or dads attention when I do this, this must be a good thing!! But make sure you have a difference between praise attention & naughty attention. Dogs Love attention & sometimes good or bad they’ll take what they can get.
- Set Boundaries, are they allowed on the bed, couch, inside, on the carpet? Set the boundaries now. I’m a weakling because I love me puppy cuddles but deep down I’d rather Diesel off the couch & bed.
- Get a Pet store discount/savings card, the savings add up I tell ya!!
There is so much to owning a dog but its just a way of life, its in no way a bad thing or something that takes over your life. Dogs are like kids they change your life for the good, but your life doesn’t revolve around them. They come into your life & yes adjustments are made but you still manage to get things done that you did before, life’s just a little better now is all!!
I hope this helped & was in no way overwhelming. Like I said I am No expert but just thought I’d share my experiences that may be helpful to someone. I am still learning & make mistakes but take each day as it comes.
Last but not least here are some Links you may Enjoy
– If you cannot afford dog training or just want to learn how to teach your dog fun tricks or work on one thing in particular, this guy is awesome & its FREE, His name is Zak George
–Bark Box– these are fun packages that are sent to your home once a month for as long as you like full of toys & treats for your pup
–Wildebeest– I just came across these guys & they are awesome!! They have super fun products.
Also If you too are in the San Antonio, Texas area Hit me up I will give you my trainers Info she. is. AWESOME.
What kind of puppy do you have? (I call all dogs puppies no matter how old they are)
What are some of your favorite pet products?