Growing up I always wanted a dog.
In the summertime I remember watching dog shows on Animal Planet every afternoon and wanting to go to my friends’ houses who had dogs, not to play with my friends, but mostly to play with their dogs.
My family never got a dog because my sister is allergic to them, and instead of putting her up for adoption, my parents decided to forgo getting a dog (questionable call on their part, but the past is the past).
So, 20 years later, I married a fellow dog lover and we decided to get a dog together.
More specifically, we decided to get an adorable golden retriever puppy made by these two sweethearts.
About a week before we were to pick him up, my mom asked me, “Have you been around puppies very much?”
I was curious as to why she was asking that, but didn’t pursue it.
Honestly, I hadn’t really been around puppies that much, and when I told her so, she just smiled a mysterious, knowing smile.
A week after we brought our puppy home I found out what she was smiling about.
Puppies are a lot of work.
I found myself often texting my friends who have dogs, asking, “Is this normal?”
For your encouragement, here is a list of 8 things you might run in to, future puppy owner.
P.S. Before we dive in, if you’re about to get a new puppy, you’ve got to join the 30 Day Puppy Challenge! You’ll learn exactly what to do (and what not to do) during those crucial first 30 days. Click here to learn more.
1. It’s not always love at first sight
On TV you see kids opening up a box on Christmas morning with a puppy in it, and the puppy is so excited and can’t stop licking the kid’s face.
It’s love at first sight and the two youngsters are instantly best friends.
In reality, it doesn’t always play out that way.
Think about it…you’re taking a puppy away from their siblings and parents, and bringing it into a home that is unfamiliar and full of strangers (even if those strangers are full of love).
The loving bond that you fantasize about before owning a dog takes time to develop.
It doesn’t happen instantly, like I somehow thought it would.
It requires playing with your pup, teaching them, caring for them, feeding them (this will really make them like you), and in general, just loving them before they love you.
2. Your puppy needs to go out. A lot.
I remember Facetiming my friend the day after we got our pup.
We were both doting over how adorable he was when he popped a squat and started peeing in my living room.
The crazy thing was, we had just taken him out about an hour before that.
Puppies need to go out a lot, and guess what?
They don’t care how the weather is.
Your pup still has to pee.
3. Your puppy’s favorite activity is biting your fingers
Puppies explore the world through their mouth, and their adult teeth are slowly making their way in, so puppies are constantly biting you (and pretty much everything they come into contact with).
I specifically remember wishing I could just pet my four-month-old puppy in peace, without him trying to eat my fingers.
4. Puppies get sick
Like I said above, puppies explore the world with their mouth.
Unfortunately, some things they put in their mouths get them sick.
Puppies, like children, don’t have fully developed immune systems to keep them healthy.
Our puppy got sick a few times, and unfortunately, we spent quite a bit of time in the vet’s office.
Which leads me to my next point…
5. Puppies are expensive
Not even considering the cost of actually getting the puppy, taking care of them is expensive!
They eat a lot, need lots of toys (you’ll be surprised at the rate they can destroy their toys), need several basic immunization shots, get sick and need to go to the vet, need basic puppy things like a crate, leash, and food and water bowls, can destroy things in your house that you need to replace, you might take them to training, and you might need to take them to doggy day care.
6. Your puppy will destroy things
I will admit that we definitely lucked out in this department.
The only thing our puppy has destroyed in our apartment was the carpet where the bathroom tile and carpet meet.
It was nothing a little replacement carpet and glue can’t fix, but I’ve heard some horror stories.
Stories of puppies eating entire baseboards, cords and phones; tearing up leather couches or chewing up wooden chairs.
You’ll definitely want to keep a close eye on your pup.
7. Your puppy will wake you up in the night
For the first month, our puppy woke up three times per night.
And then after that, it was two times per night.
And then it was one time per night, and recently (he’s almost 7 months), he’s started sleeping through the night about every other night.
With a puppy, you’ll quickly learn how little sleep you can actually function on.
8. They’re worth it
No matter how much money I’ve spent, how many hours of sleep I’ve lost, or how many band-aids I’ve put on my fingers and arms, it all pales in comparison to how much love and fun our pup has brought into our house.
It’s been an absolute joy seeing him grow up, having him greet me at the door when I come home, teaching him commands and manners that he only follows 10% of the time, and cuddling with him on the couch.
The puppy phase goes by faster than you can imagine, and pretty soon you’ll actually be reminiscing about your little guy trying to pounce on your fingers, or his tiny, sweet bark in the middle of the night.
It’s a tough ride, but that’s what makes it worth it. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t change a thing.
P.S. If you’re about to get a new puppy, you’ve got to join the 30 Day Puppy Challenge! You’ll learn exactly what to do (and what not to do) during those crucial first 30 days. Click here to learn more.