Puppy Lessons

Pickle is going on 5 months now, meaning we’ve had her for almost 10 weeks. Everyday has been a challenge, and raising a puppy has taught me so many new and crazy things.

1) I am not ready for a human baby. Dogs are independent by nature. Humans are not. The stresses of pet ownership don’t compare to the commitment required for a child. Could you leave your baby in a kennel for 2 hours while you grocery shop? Please don’t.

2) Puppies have small bladders. Never assume that just because your puppy went pee 10 minutes ago, they will not have to go again. Pickle is nice enough to go to the door when she has to go, and it only took one time of ignoring her for us to get the point.

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3) Patience is key. Accidents happen. Separation is hard. Begging happens. A new puppy will chew and whine and push your boundaries until you are ready to break. Take a deep breath, go into a different room, reset and remind yourself that they are babies and are constantly learning. It’s your job to teach them the right way. With love.

4) Don’t get down on yourself for ‘hating’ your puppy. You will never truly hate your puppy, but there will be moments you feel like it. Don’t feel bad. Just remember to be patient and loving, and they’ll return the favor.

5) It takes a village. I take Pickle out at 2 am. My girlfriend feeds her before work. I walk her. She feeds Pickle dinner. You get the idea. Going it alone is almost impossible if you want to have some semblance of a life.

6) Last second planning doesn’t work. There is an entire checklist of things now that I must take out the door each time I leave with Pickle. Leash, collar, poo bags, snacks, harness, crate, you get the picture. Doing anything on a whim is hard enough, let alone having to come back indoors time and time again because you forgot something.

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7) Puppies are great conversation starters. We take Pickle everywhere that allows dogs: to the bar, the grocery store, to parks, everywhere. The upside to doing that is that not only does Pickle get socialized, but so do we! I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had the passed couple months that have started with ‘Oh my gosh, your puppy is so cute!’

8) Not everyone loves puppies. Seriously, I thought everyone would love my puppy. Turns out there are some people that would prefer not to have muddy paw prints on their nice pants when we pass on the sidewalk. Who knew?

9)  Pound puppies are the best! Okay, little biased, but Pickle is my second pound pup. I didn’t think our first could be topped, and so far she’s getting a run for her money. Pound puppies present their own set of challenges (no lineage, no medical history) but every day is a surprise! People write corny things about a rescue dog saving their life and all that jazz, but in some way it feels good to give a life to a pup who has made it this far.

10) Puppies are rewarding. As Pickle has gotten older, each day has brought a new trick, or she reveals a quirky part of her personality that makes us turn to goo. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I could leave the room for the first time without her whining, or the first time she put herself to bed (seriously, it happens!). Everyday is it’s own reward. In exchange for all the chewed flip flops, the 2 am wake up calls, the terrible leash walking and tiny bladder, we get back unconditional love from the prettiest set of brown eyes I’ve seen. (On a puppy. Sorry Kira.)

Is it all worth it? Waking up with a tiny puppy staring back at me curled up beside me in bed, of course it is.

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