The Top 5 Things I Learned From Bringing Home a New Puppy

by | Jan 16, 2014 | Uncategorized

As most of you know by this point, Mark and I brought home our new puppy, Django, at the end of October.  We knew going into this that having a two month old puppy in the house would mean less sleep, less “adult time”  and less time with our adorable cats, Indy and Zoe. But regardless of how much you prepare, there are some things you’ll learn along the way.

We love all of our pets as if they were our children, but unlike a cat, a new puppy is really like having a baby.  You’re up in the middle of the night, you constantly have to keep an eye on him and if there’s anything minutely wrong, you’re scared you’ve accidentally killed the puppy.

In order to help those of you that will be bringing home a new puppy in the future, here are the top things I learned over the last few months (in my mind, it’s a survival guide).

1. When doing any kind of training, don’t use gimmicks.

I think it’s very trendy right now to incorporate objects into basic training. Our puppy class instructor wanted us to use a bell hanging from our back door to teach our new puppy how to ask to go outside. She also gave us a “shaker can” (really an old bleach bottle with pebbles inside) to agitate whenever the puppy was getting into something he shouldn’t. A lot of classes want you to use a clicker to teach the puppy the difference between right and wrong. While all of these things seem wonderful on the surface, when you think about it, it’s a huge pain in the neck. What happens if I’ve taken Django over to dinner at my parents place and he needs to go outside? I have to bring a bell? And if he’s chewing on the firewood over there, I need the shaker can to discipline him. If you become too reliant on outside sources, your dog will never learn to listen to you.

2. Cesar Millan was right… Be Dominant!
Cesar Millan showing one of his pit bulls who's in charge.

Cesar Millan showing one of his pit bulls who’s in charge

And while we’re talking about discipline and training, the biggest thing you can do to help your pup is show him who’s boss. Your dog will never listen to you if he doesn’t respect you. Yes, jumping on the coffee table is cute when your puppy weighs 8 lbs and is all floppy, but what happens when he’s 50 lbs and can bite back? It’s OK to run after your puppy when you say come and he’s not listening (he can’t yet run fast enough to get away) but what if a car is coming? It may seem a little harsh at the time, but letting your dog know who’s boss is better for him in the long run.

3. You can never have enough paper towel.

Puppies are messy (my cats are looking at me with disdain right now). They throw up after eating things outside, they pee and poop in the house, and they just generally create a mess. Regardless of how much you watch them, something will happen to your carpets, especially in the beginning. You may also want to get a good quality, all natural carpet cleaner. You can use it on things like your couch and pillows as well. An all natural cleanser means your dog won’t be ingesting any hazardous chemicals, and it also won’t give off a scent which could invite your new puppy to relieve himself on the spot again.

4. Feed your puppy well from the beginning.

Sardines are a great source of healthy Omegas

Sardines are a great source of healthy Omegas

There’s a lot of talk out there about specialty foods for puppies or life stages. But the reality is, if you’re feeding a high quality, whole food like Lucky Dog Cuisine, then there’s no problem. The main differentiating factor in puppy food is that it’s higher in calories. Like children, puppies are growing and need lots of energy to fuel them. Instead of using a dry dog food with synthetic vitamins and added fat, feed Lucky Dog three times a day, and don’t be afraid to load his bowl right to the top. If you want some added Omegas to help the growth process, you can always add some tinned sardines (packed in water, not oil) to the lucky boy’s meal.

5. You will never love anything more.

Meghan Pritchard with her new puppy, Rousseau

Winter buddies

Raising an animal, whether from infancy or later, will bond you like no other. You will be the light in your dog’s eye and no one will make him as happy as you will. Having a dog is a lifelong friendship and is one of the most loyal relationships you’ll ever have.