Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to Dominate Being a Puppy Parent

Man, so here we are, about 6-7 weeks into being puppy parents.  After all this time, we have learned some pretty important lessons!  So today I present with my top ten pieces of advice on how to dominate being a new puppy parent!

1.  Do your research.

Well, there are a lot of things you should research for your puppy.  But this applies to your puppy directly-what kind of breed is best for you?  We knew we wanted an active breed, and a large dog, and one that would be kid-friendly in the future.

2.  Prepare before you bring home puppy.

Here is a sampling of what we brought before we even knew Barley existed:  food and water bowls, chew toys, rag bone, lead, Nature's Miracle, etc.

After we got him we bought his crate and pad, food, treats, collar, and other things that are more breed and size-specific.  

3.  Be patient!

Um, you WILL get frustrated with your new puppy.  Guarantee it.  I would say on a daily basis, one of us has a freak-out because he's barking so much, or won't go to sleep, etc.  There will be days where he/she is an angel, and days where you swear Satan has taken over his/her soul.

4.  Decide on your parenting style.

Will puppy sleep in your bed at night?  Is puppy going to be allowed on the couch?  Will you plan on taking him to obedience classes? Crate or baby gating during the day?  Can you both (if you are co-parenting) stay on the same page about discipline and obedience techniques?

Definitely take some time to talk this over with your spouse/boyfriend/etc.  It's easy for one person to slip off and be all, "oh but he's so sweet, just let him pee everywhere."  This is when you need to be benched, and the other parent gets called in.

5.  Research your pup's food.

Barley eats Blue Buffalo large breed puppy.  We knew it had a solid ingredients list, and didn't want him on a corn-first diet.  Total personal parenting preference, plus we know my mother-in-law's dog loves it too.

But make sure that you check it out and see what is out there--when you walk into a pet store and see the millions of options, you will be overwhelmed and it's easy to make a snap decision that may not be what's best for your puppy's breed, potential size, and overall health.

6.  Find a great vet.

A great vet makes all the difference.  Barley had some tummy issues when we started to introduce new food (we are back to the old), but our vet was closed!  Luckily their voicemail directed us to a 24 hour pet clinic we could call.  I spoke with a vet tech who assured me it was the food change, and I felt so much better.

Our vet has also been really helpful with getting him de-wormed, getting us safe flea meds for him, and just generally giving us good advice.  Worth it! 

7.  Repetition, repetition, repetition.

When training, repetition is key.  And we aren't really training aggressively right now besides curbing jumping and working on potty training.  Part of repetition is making sure that you and your co-puppy parent are on the same page! 

8.  Crate training is rough.

This is probably more about you as a parent than about puppy.  But puppies will cry, whine, scratch, basically do anything to get your attention to make you let them out of their crate.  

Barley sleeps in bed with us, and basically always will.  We are totally cool with that.  But daytime means crate time for him.  And now he knows that, and is good about it.  No more whining or crying when I put him in, maybe a few half-assed barks, but he knows it's ok in there.

Just don't fall victim to the sad whines and cries, because then your puppy will think that all they have to do is go absolutely ape-shit and they will get their way!

9.  Have a variety of toys ready for puppy to play with.

Barley has a Kong, a stuffed porcupine, a stuffed Kong alligator, bully strips, a Nylabone, a rag bone, a water bottle holder elephant thingy, a tennis ball, a bouncy football...the list continues.  

Puppies need entertainment, and they need it on the regs.  So make sure you have a wide variety of options for him or her!  Barley's attention span lasts anywhere from five seconds to an hour depending on his mood and the toy, so it's great for him to have a huge variety of options we can rotate for him.

10.  Love, Love, Love!

Most importantly, just love your puppy!  He/she will make mistakes, pee on your new rug, put chew marks on your shoes, pull on his/her lead, try to eat your dinner, maybe chew your furniture, I mean it's all possible.  But just remember to give lots of kisses, pets, sweet words, and snuggle time (if they like that), and your new puppy will figure out that you only want to love them!

Now CLICK QUICKLY to Ms. Adriana's page by following the button below and read posts from other fellow animal lovers/bloggers!  And next Tuesday (I got my days mixed up this week!) be sure to link up your own post about your animal!

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  1. yay thank you so much for posting this! I still can't believe how perfect the timing is since we get ours today. I'm pretty sure we need to go buy more toys asap. we're also doing crate training (even at night) and I'm terrified. hopefully all that hard work is worth it!

  2. I NEED A PUPPY. Boyfriend says we can get one after we get married and buy a house so basically NEVER. BOO! Yall are precious puppy parents!!

  3. These are all SPOT ON. We did a lot of these before we got our first pup, and are definitely still working on the repetition and consistency. I would also add that some dogs do better in different types of crates, we learned that one wayyy too late. Great post!!

  4. ah man. just makes me want a puppy even more!

  5. Totally agree! I would also add to check your finances. Just because an animal is free to take home doesn't make it free to keep up with and I can't stand it when people don't realize that! Buying half of Petsmart is expensive!

  6. Such a great post, and you highlight some really good points like crate training. It is a must for puppies! They are cute, but a lot of work, and talking about how you are going to set boundaries and rules makes the process a little bit easier. We recently fostered (and then adopted) our 5th animal and were lucky to make it almost 5 months without any major casualties, until I left my favorite pair of sandals out last night. Goodbye shoes. (sniff, sniff)

  7. Great post. I have never been a puppy parent but looking into it.


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