One of the awesome things about being an adult is that we no longer have to beg our parents to let us do stuff. And by do stuff… I obviously mean get a puppy. Come on, what else are we going to use our adult powers for? Our very own bundle of snuggly, face-licky love, that’s what.
Which, for the record, I just did. I got a puppy. And boy, oh boy, was I unprepared.
Look, having a dog is totally awesome. She is awesome. She’s been here for seven days and I absolutely cannot imagine life without her. In the days leading up to getting our hands on her, I was bouncing off the walls, I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t sleep… I should’ve known it was not going to get any easier.
So, in the spirit of total unpreparedness, if you’ve been considering using your adulting powers for the best possible reason and inviting a furry friend into your life, I am here to share my wisdom.
Here are the top seven things I learned in my first seven days of being a puppy “paw-rent”.
Puppies need A LOT of stuff for a happy, healthy life
Confident, well-adjusted puppies need training and mental stimulation and lots of attention. This requires toys and clickers and harnesses and leads and treats galore. Not to mention at least two (did someone say four?) beds…
Then there’s vet bills, pet insurance, food, puppy school, walking or day-care. Puppies add up. It’s super important to make sure you’re taking all your new best friend’s needs into account in your budget. With adult decisions come adult responsibilities, and this tiny life is now in your hands. Yes, you’re getting a lifetime supply of unconditional love and snuggles, but you’re also making a commitment to your new pet that she will be properly cared for. This is big.
You CANNOT take your eyes off them
Look, I don’t want to brag or anything, but we do seem to be acing this puppy parenting thing. Look at us being all responsible. 99% of the time, Pepsi is a beautiful tiny (slightly bite-y) black curly angel. But in the 1% of the time we stop to turn off the kettle, or tie our shoelaces, or god forbid, blink – that is when the accidents (or mischief!) are guaranteed to happen.
We’ve had one potty accident, and that’s because I didn’t notice she’d woken up from her nap under my desk and get her outside quick enough.
They need their sleep
Puppies are supposed to sleep 18-20 hours A DAY. Their tiny bodies and brains need lots of rest for all the learning and growing they’re doing and when they get over-tired, puppies get cranky. And bite-y, and honestly, a bit feral.
This means lots of snuggly lap naps during the day (and also, puppy’s choice of the aforementioned 4 beds…), but it also means that it’s super important for baby pups to get their eight hours a night (not to mention, it makes life a hell of a lot easier for exhausted puppy parents if they don’t have to listen to heart-wrenching puppy crying all night).
To this end, in my extensively researched and scientific opinion – Little Buddy Heartbeat Sheep is a non-negotiable. Look, I have only researched one particular puppy, and I haven’t put her to bed at night without Little Buddy, because why on earth would I?
Puppies grow up in a litter and they're used to sleeping next to their brothers and sisters. When they leave the litter, they lose that sense of security. That's where the Little Buddy Heartbeat Sheep can help with providing a soft toy to cuddle and a little heartbeat to calm your puppy.
Her first night, Pepsi fell asleep in my arms while I scratched her tiny soft belly, I gently transferred her into her crate with Little Buddy and she snuggled in without a whimper. We didn’t hear a peep from her until sun-up.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that I slept like a baby that first night. I was a mess, everyone told me she was going to cry all night and I was so stressed that she wasn’t making a sound. I wanted to get up and poke her and make sure she was alive, but…
You have to be strong
I thought I’d prepared myself for staying strong in the face of night crying, but I did not realise how hard some of the other stuff would be!
Like not getting up at 3am and poking her to make sure she’s still breathing (I am reliably informed that this is a pretty common occurrence in new parents of all varieties) or letting her walk and not carrying her 24 hours a day because I love the snuggles, or (and this one’ll getcha) not making a big deal when leaving or coming home.
Of course I want to give her big smooches and cuddles when I leave (even if I’m literally just zipping to the supermarket and will be gone less than twenty minutes – I MISS HER!) and make a huge fuss when I get home. She’s so excited to see me! Her little butt trembles with excitement and her eyes are filled with such perfect and unconditional adoration. I want to just scoop her up and shower her with puppy love.
But I did my homework. I am fully aware that this kind of behaviour is a recipe for separation anxiety, and I do my best to play it cool, while a single tear leaks from the corner of my eye and inside my heart is exploding a million times a day.
Treats are your friend
Because if you can’t show love through food, how else do you do it?
Pepsi gets pretty much all her food as “treats” right now. We’re following a “Learn to Earn” regimen, so every time her tiny butt hits the ground, she gets a click and a little taste of her Royal Canin kibble, or if we’re exploring somewhere new that might be a bit stressful, a little bit of wet food reassures her and shows her that new experiences are not only fun, but delicious!
And if we really want her to pay attention? A little nibble of Ziwi Peak and suddenly the learning is going much more smoothly.
Also, it’s lucky bum-bags are in back in fashion, because it looks like I’m going to be rocking my EzyDog Snakpak Treat Bag for a while yet.
You will never be the same
This tiny bundle of black curls has completely stolen our hearts and turned our lives upside down in just seven short days.
Imagine what she’s going to do given a lifetime.