Getting a New Puppy?
Before you pick up your very first puppy, you’ll probably be thinking of all the joy he’ll bring to your home: snuggles, treats, that cute head tilt he’ll make when he’s trying to understand you. After all, that’s exactly what your friends’ lives with their puppies is like – according to photos on social media. What you may not see how much work it takes to raise a healthy and well-behaved dog. After you bring the little guy home, you may be surprised by how disruptive he can be to your day-to-day life. You may even find yourself getting overwhelmed and upset with what you’ve taken on.
5 Things to Remember
Don’t panic: You are not alone. Every first-time dog owner goes through an adjustment period. The most important thing to remember is that your puppy is not a person and won’t think like a person – especially not an adult. He’ll need you the way a human baby will need you. That means you need to keep a few things in mind when you find yourself getting frustrated:
1. Your puppy will be easily distracted
Everything is new and exciting to him: your home, the neighborhood, objects on the ground, other people, and definitely other dogs. At this age, he has virtually zero attention span. He may decide he wants to go his own way when all you want to do is take him to his favorite pee spot and go back inside. Let him sniff around for a minute; he’ll get used to his surroundings eventually.
2. Your puppy will have a variable appetite
Puppies have no concept of feeding schedules; they get hungry when they get hungry. He may eat a full meal and beg for more, or he may eat half a meal and ignore the rest. He may like chicken one day and beef the next day. What matters is that he’s taking in enough calories to grow at a healthy pace. Experiment with different foods and different mealtimes, and you’ll find something that works for him.
3. Your puppy will have accidents
If your puppy hasn’t been house trained before you bring him home, it’s all on you. Take him out under circumstances he can understand easily – in the morning, before bed, after meals – and he will begin to associate going out with doing his business. This takes time to learn, so you will have to keep paper towels and a bottle of floor cleaner handy. If you’re consistent, he’ll begin to tell you when he needs to go out.
4. Your puppy will get sick
Like you, he can’t help it. Maybe he swallowed something he shouldn’t have that’s now giving him a case of the runs. Maybe he spent too much time in rainy weather and has a runny nose. Maybe you don’t know what caused his symptoms, and you’re worrying yourself sicker than him. A good pet insurance policy will help you with the financial costs of vet visits and medicine. Patience and a commitment to making your puppy better will help you with the psychological costs.
5. Your puppy will need a lot of your attention
As adorable as he is, you may need or want to spend your time doing something that doesn’t involve him. When he makes his play-with-me whine, you might feel annoyed with him for interrupting. Just remember that he’s not trying to be a nuisance; more often than not, all he wants is a reminder that you love him as much as he loves you. Do your best to rebalance your time to allow plenty of play and affection. But fitting him in around work, chores, and hobbies doesn’t have to be too much of a trial. After all, he’ll want to spend most of his time napping!