Life with a New Puppy

My family has been talking about getting a dog for years. About a year ago we got serious and started discussing what breeds of dogs would be a good match for us. We eventually decided on a Golden Retriever due to their sweet dispositions and the fact that my husband wanted a larger dog. We knew we wanted to get a puppy because we already have two cats, one of which is very territorial (Milo). We felt that by introducing a puppy to Milo, the puppy would adjust to our cat’s dominate behavior. After about 9 months of waiting for a puppy to become available through the breeder we chose, we found out in May that we would be bringing home a little girl in just a few weeks.

I was so excited. I have never had my own dog before and this has been a life long desire. I couldn’t wait for the Saturday to arrive when we would make the 3 hour drive to pick her up. When that day came, we loaded into the truck at 5:30 on that rainy morning and made the trip to go pick up our girl. She was the sweetest chunky puppy. There were only 3 puppies in her litter, so she got her share of milk and it showed. We had a few top names picked out, but we chose Sadie after meeting her. Faith and I sat in the backseat with her on the way home and she alternated between us. She would cry, then she would sleep, and then she would cry a little more. She adapted fairly quickly to our home and our family.

Fast forward about 7 weeks and she has just about doubled in size and my summer has gone by in a flash. I knew puppies were challenging, but I didn’t fully understand how challenging. Sadie is full of energy and has a spunky personality. After the first few weeks I was at my wits end with puppy biting, accidents, and jumping. I talked to multiple friends who all recommended obedience training classes, so I got her enrolled as soon as she was old enough to attend. These classes have made a HUGE difference for us. Both my husband and I are learning how to train Sadie and her bad manners have improved greatly. It is a lot of work training her, but it is worth it to have a well behaved dog!

Sadie and the cats have found their rhythm with each other. Sadie and Milo “play” together, as in Sadie plays and Milo stands his ground. I think they keep each other entertained. Ace likes to be in the same room as everyone, so he just knows to stay up high on the furniture to avoid Sadie.

Needless to say this adventure has been a learning curve with a new puppy. Here are a few lessons I have learned along the way:

  1. We now know we must shut closet doors and bedroom doors to keep Sadie from stealing shoes and underwear. This has been a big lesson for my 11 year old daughter.

  2. We recently realized we have to limit the toys she has out on the floor to just 1 or 2. Otherwise she jumps from one toy to the next and seems to be overwhelmed. Limiting the toys also makes clean up at night a breeze.

  3. I have set up “puppy baskets” next to our front and back door which have all of the essentials we need quickly like a leash, poop bags, ball for fetch, a brush, nail clippers, etc. These have been a great for consolidating the puppy gear into a few spots.

  4. Crate training has been key to us keeping our sanity during this time frame. We have been able to sleep well most nights and she has a safe place to go when we are not home.

  5. Obedience training is worth every penny. Take the classes and do your homework with your dog. All of the dogs in Sadie’s class are showing a ton of improvement and we are half way through.

  6. Don’t buy every new gimmick out there for dogs. We have purchased plenty of things we already aren’t using because they didn’t work for our dog. Talk to other dog owners before purchasing items to see what their favorite is and why. Some of my best advice on products came from a neighbor with a 9 month old puppy. My favorite being a dog hammock for my car. This thing is awesome!

Life with a puppy is a challenge and it is extremely rewarding. Sadie is my walking partner each morning and evening. She is ALWAYS so excited to see me. A dog’s love is unconditional and we are so happy to have her be part of our family.