Today I thought I would share with you the top ten things that I learned after adopting our puppy, Nora. She has brought more joy and happiness to our little family than I could have ever expected, but that joy didn’t come without a few (or more…) times where she drove us near crazy.
We adopted Nora when she had just turned 13 weeks, and was a complete ball of energy. AKA she was 100% puppy. She wanted to play and play and run and run, until she couldn’t do either and collapsed into a heap. She is now turing 6 months old this week, so I thought it was the perfect time to do a puppy post:) Here we go–
- The puppy smell fades way too quickly. This may sound super silly to some of you, but I wish it lasted longer. Nora had the cutest puppy smell and I absolutely loved it, and it seems like went away in like two weeks. Now… she mostly smells of puppy food and training treats. Or– just wet puppy. Not as cute.
- Puppy training takes loads and loads of consistency. We’ve found that Nora picks up on things really well, but we need to do them in small spurts multiple times each day. It may be cute to have her jump up and all over when she is a puppy, but now that she has gained 15 pounds– it’s not so cute. Exception: When she does that when I wake up in the morning. It’s like she hasn’t seen you in weeks, and she can’t even handle how excited she is that you’re back.
- Your puppy will sleep through the night. (It will just take about 3 months.) Not much more to this point… it’s more of a reminder that you will get through this phase:)
- Buy the small bags of puppy food until you find the magical one that your puppy really likes. When we got Nora her foster suggested that we switch to a new brand of food because she was getting bored with the one she had. So, we were typical obsessed puppy parents and spent 20 minutes in the food aisle of our local pet store and picked out the one we thought we be best for her– but in the sample size. Big bags of dog food can be up to 50-60 dollars, and we wanted to be sure she liked it, it didn’t upset her tummy, and it was made with good ingredients before we invested.
- Rescue your puppy/dog. This one is definitely a personal preference, but I just wanted to add it. I think sometimes people view rescues as puppies/dogs who have temperament issues and are very difficult. Getting Nora at 13 weeks, she wasn’t as hard as some can be, but defiantly was harder because she was separated/abandoned when she was so young, and had a hard time around certain people, as well as being nervous when she picked up at all. However, she is one of the sweetest and most loving dogs that I have ever known. You can get a tiny puppy from a rescue. You can get a potty trained dog from a rescue. You can do multiple home visits with a rescue to be sure the dog is a good fit. (How often can you do that in other situations?) If you have a wonderful breeder to work with, and that’s exactly what is going to work for your family that is wonderful. However, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for and you know you want to add a furry family member, check out a local rescue first and save an animal that way:)
- If you are thinking about having children. Get a puppy first. Potty training? Check. Late night wake-ups? Check. Just not sleeping well? Check. Figuring out how to discipline, or just correct behaviors for puppies? Check. Not always being able to go out right when you want to? Check. The list can go on and on:) Children are obviously much more difficult, and changes much more, but I do think it’s a good starting point. 🙂
- Take a puppy or an obedience class. (Even if it’s just for the need to practice during the week.) Nora has a really hard time at her class because there are so many other dogs that she thinks she needs to be best friends with, but we do get a lot out of it. Just knowing that we need to try and have certain things accomplished each week keeps us on top of training and working on things every day during the week. Find a company who has a style of training you like, and try it out.
- They want to make you happy, more than anything else in the entire world. This is a hard one for some people in my opinion. It’s so easy to become frustrated and yell at them sometimes, but unless you are catching them in the act within seconds they don’t understand why you are yelling at them. I think the best thing I’ve found to do when Nora does something to make me angry is to think about the sweet puppy that cannot wait to wake me up on Saturday mornings, the happiest puppy when we are playing fetch, or the puppy who we saved from a horrible situation before. That way I can focus on the fact that this is an isolated thing, and she is learning just as much as we are learning too. Stay calm and try not to yell too much. Think about it– if they hear them name being yelled at them constantly, are they going to think its a good idea to come to you when you say it? Does it sound like something good is going to happen?
- Let them be a puppy. No, I don’t mean that I think you should let them chew everything up in sight, or get away with pulling things off the coffee table, counter, chairs, etc. I do think that you should sometimes let them pick up your sock and cutely dance out of the room with it. Enjoy the cute little quirks of puppyhood. Nora loves pulling our socks/underwear out of the bedroom. She never chews on them, and as soon as we look towards another toy she moves towards whatever else will give her positive attention.
- Your puppy will change everything. You will never remember what your life was like without this little dog who makes your life so much sweeter and happier everyday. Adopting Nora is absolutely the best thing that Zach and I could have done. She is an amazing addition to our family, and I can’t wait to come home to that happy, excited face every day.
Here are some pictures of Nora:
I hope this was helpful for some of you who either just got a puppy, or are thinking about adding one to your family!