First time fur mom here! My boyfriend and I have had our little bundle of joy for about a month now. Neither one of us had a puppy growing up, so we’re brand new to this raising-a-well-mannered dog thing. We asked our friends who have dogs questions and our breeder, and we thought we covered all our bases to be ready for little Rooney, but there were some aspects of having a puppy that changed how we lived our life together that we weren’t exactly ready for.
- Basically wait 4 months before you do anything
Depending on when you get your puppy, you’re going to have to wait until they are around 4 months old when they have all their shots to drop them off at puppy daycare or get him/her enrolled in any classes. This can really be hard if you don’t have a lot of help. Puppies’ bladders are really weak so they need to be let out every three hours or so. If you work full-time like Eric and I do, then letting him/her out during the day can be tough. Not to mention getting enough play time! We wish we could stay home with her all day long, but someone’s gotta pay those vet bills. So what to do? Well my parents have been kind enough to come every once and while, but they live far away so we needed to find some help more often during the week. The app Rover has been a life-saver! Rover finds dog sitters in your area to come over and let your pup out and play with them for 30 minutes (which is what we do twice a week) for $15. They also offer overnight sitting! It’s been great and puts our minds at ease when we’re at work. Definitely download this one, it’s great in a pinch.
2. Our house isn’t totally puppy-proof
Sure we knew puppies chew your shoes and your hands but we didn’t really think about everything little thing in their sight. Like the doorstoppers, weather-stripping on the slider, iPhone chargers in the outlet, the dishwasher…? Rooney is very confused by the dishwasher. She knows not to jump on it now but when it closes she scratches and paws at it wondering where all that food smell goes to. Just keep not the obvious in mind and remove whatever you can. The other things you can’t take away? Spray it with sour apple spray. You can use this on your hands too if you have a biter like we do. This stuff doesn’t taste good so they’ll be less likely to chew on it and won’t come back… hopefully. Sometimes Rooney just wants to bite what she wants to bite and puts up with the sour taste. Whatever Roon!
3. Your puppy won’t listen to you right away
Rooney understood “Let’s go inside!” almost immediately for some reason. Any time I said that after she went potty outside she would dash back to the house. But when I say “No!” that was difficult to understand. This frustrated me as I thought she was just ignoring me on purpose because she understood other things I was saying. Puppies aren’t malicious, even though on the fifth time you say, “NO!” and they continue to do what they’re doing it might seem that way. They’re learning just as much as you are. Patience with puppies can be hard, but just stick with it. They’ll get it sooner or later.
4. My routine is no longer the same
Within just a few months of getting Rooney, my work schedule changed from late night shifts (getting out at 3am, no joke), to early mornings (yay! Normalcy!) after 5 years of nights. It was a welcomed change for me as Eric and I could spend more time together, but the shift to my sleep schedule took some getting used to. Enter Rooney. She has to be taken out at 3am and 7am and I have to be ready for work by 7:30am to get there on time for 8am. Yikes. The first two weeks were a blur. Gym was no longer in my routine. Eating was sporadic. But after a couple of weeks, Eric and I made healthy things like going to the gym and eating right priorities. Also, getting Rooney used to our routine is part of her training as well. So if we have to leave for an hour to work out, she has to learn to love her crate.
5. Putting things on hold
Unfortunately, to make sure you have a happy pup and do everything right that means making sacrifices in your own life. Maybe it’s meeting up with friends for drinks at night or taking a trip somewhere, having a puppy means you can’t really do those things until your puppy can hold its bladder for longer than three hours and they’re old enough to either travel with you, or can be left in a kennel. Half of my family lives in California and I want to go meet my new niece (sooner rather than later!), but Rooney can’t be left at a kennel and a 6-hour plan ride in a crate in the luggage area of a plane sounds terrible! So until Eric and I know more, we’ll only be California dreamin’ for the time being. This weekend we’re venturing to Boston for a concert (tickets were bought pre-puppy). It will be our first time leaving Rooney since we got her. We found a Rover sitter to watch her for 24 hours while mom and dad have some time for ourselves. Will be nice not to have to stress and be cooped up in the house. We’ll see how she does!
That’s about it. Not going to lie, having a puppy is hard and the first few weeks we were really questioning if we could handle it. We were both so stressed and kind of sad we were cut off from the world pretty much. But now that Rooney has adapted to our condo and some of our rules (still having trouble not peeing in the house!), it’s been a whole lot better for mom and dad… but we’re definitely looking forward to when she’s no longer a puppy!