As I found myself running through our neighbors yard in my teal bathroom and fluffy socks at 5:40 AM this morning yelling at our almost one year old German Shepherd puppy to “come!”, it occurred to me as she gleefully ran away: I have become that crazy neighbor. Luckily my husband and I have developed good relationships with those around us that our plight may gain me a little sympathy for my crack-of-dawn screaming. But still, no one wants to be THAT neighbor!
Last February we picked up our sweet little seven weeks fluff-ball, Ingrid at the breeders and from that point on, I unknowing enrolled into what I like to called, “Why the hell did I get a dog?!” School. Here are some surprises that caught me off guard when it came to owning a puppy that perhaps may prepare any one looking at getting a puppy.
- All puppies are assholes. They’re seriously cute assholes. But jokes aside, they pee and poo everywhere. They are just now learning their names, the rules of the house, and commands which makes them unpredictable and unruly. You have to watch them every second of the day. So DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT leave them unsupervised in your house! They need attention and constant oversight.
- It is always your fault. Yeah, you heard me right. You are the owner. If the dog disobeys and runs away or chews on your favorite pair of shoes, it is your fault. So punishing your dog for behaviors you haven’t taken the time to train out of them is 100% your fault. You’ve heard it said that dog training is more about training the owner, right? Well, it’s true. So get used to taking the blame for your dog’s behavior and up your training game.
- Keep bandaids on hand. Puppy’s include a set of Parana-sharp teeth that will instantly make you bleed. I can’t tell you how many bandaids I wore that first couple of months and I still have some scars to prove it! Here’s a tip: teach the “no bite” command early and NEVER let them play with their mouth!
- 2 to 3 hours PER day of walking and socializing your puppy at the dog park will make for a happy and calm puppy at home. Raising a puppy isn’t just about training but about exercising and socializing. You will be at the dog park so much, you’ll start making friends as much as your dog does. AND here’s a little tip for dog parks: to avoid fights, watch the owners as much as the dogs! If an owner seems aloof, distracted or nervous move onto another dog/owner pair that is more engaged.
- Be prepared for your heart to grow a couple of sizes. I really did not like my dog when she was young (see #1) but now, my heart could just burst open because I love that darn dog so much. She has filled our life with adventure and has challenged me to the point I realized I had a lot of anger I needed to deal with. She increased my patience level tenfold and I am so thankful that she is in our life.
There you have it! For those of you looking at getting a puppy underneath the Christmas tree this year, I hope I didn’t scare you off. Though you might think about starting those puppy training class in January!