“I promise I’ll walk him… PLEEEASE?!!!”
Your kids are dog crazy. Your better half is dog crazy. The only one who’s not dog crazy? You got it. But after all the begging, promising, pleading, and crying, you’re starting to come around. Uh oh.
Go for it.
Yup, we got a dog. Lola’s been “doggie” crazy since birth, Jack’s always up for more
insanity fun, and Alex loves dog-walking on the school-run. So about six weeks ago we visited Bonnieview Kennels*, fell in love with a goldendoodle pup, and started our “doggie-home” countdown. Here’s what we learned in the panicky day before we brought her home and the one week since:
- Use a crate. Less indoor accidents (hint: carry her outside asap so she doesn’t pee on the way out the door), less chewed shoes/toys/books, less overall frustration. And, bonus, if introduced properly the crate actually becomes the comfort zone. ‘Properly’ means she can have toys or a blanket with her litter’s scent, she can’t have food or water, put her in if she’s fallen asleep elsewhere, don’t let her out if she whimpers when you put her in, and don’t use the crate as a punishment.
- Don’t neuter/spay before her first birthday. If you’re buying from a breeder who throws this in as a perk, look elsewhere. Something about hormonal imbalances resulting in greater likelihood of cancer and hip dysplasia… read this for more.
- Puppy food is not necessary from about five weeks. Adult dog food should be moistened with cold water (hot and even lukewarm destroys enzymes in the food). TLC pet food was recommended for our seven week old pup and they deliver for free. Awesome.
- Global Pet Foods and Petsmart are THE places to stock up on gear and treats.
- If she has an accident indoors, clean it with Nature’s Miracle Spray so it doesn’t become a habit and your couch/rug/shoe doesn’t become her toilet.
- Use Bitter Apple Spray on stuff you don’t want her to gnaw on. For us that’d be our plants, cabinet knobs, and furniture legs.
- Don’t leave a pup’s collar on if you’re not in the same room. The odds of her catching it on something and choking are slim, but why take the risk? Our collar’s only for outside and comes off when she walks in the door (at which point she immediately begins to chew it).
- If she bites anyone, give her a sharp jab in the side with a cupped hand Dog Whisperer style. If she continues to bite/snarl, pin her down on her side with one hand holding above her front legs and the other holding above her rear legs until she’s chill. This technique is a little controversial but it’s extra important to reiterate who’s boss when you have munchkins smaller than your pup. Lola’s two and even five-year-old Jack can get overwhelmed, so I’m okay with enforcing a doggie timeout.
- Give her a rubber ball, rope/rubber pull toy, chicken-flavoured Nylabone, and a Kong and she’ll love you forever. Skip the tennis balls – the seams disintegrate resulting in rotten teeth. Yuck.
- Give kibble (dog people speak; translation: food) for treats and don’t let her eat anything off the menu for a week or two after bringing her home. Yup, that means no grass! Once her grace period’s over, good treats are Zuk’s minis, Blue Buffalo, and Crump’s. Skip anything made in China, anything with colouring, and anything rawhide.
We’re new to this dog thang, but so far it’s going great and that’s despite the wicked gastro bug that three of us caught the day before we brought her home and the invasion of flying ants in our family room the day after. Seriously. Forget about teaching her how to sit, the bug-killing-clicker training has begun. Hope she’s fast enough to catch the leggers!
Dogs provide love, comfort, and a boosted immune system, but they’re almost as needy as your newborn so make sure you think it through. There’ll be late-night walks, early morning walks, pee/poo/vomit/eye gunk and every other disgusting bodily fluid, crazy vet bills, and even more insanity trying to get out the door. There’ll also be inseparable new best friends. Sweet.
Leave a comment below or email us if you have anything to add or ask!
*We had a fantastic experience adopting our dog from Lorraine at Bonnieview Kennels. She clearly knows a lot and really cares about her pups, and she continues to be helpful with our never-ending list of questions. We also owe a great deal of thanks to our friend Martina, whose canine wisdom and expertise (and clickers!) have all come in very handy. Thanks Lorraine and Martina!