Puppies are beyond cute. Every time I see one, I want one. I’ve only ever had two dogs in my life, and now three. You can read about Tyler and April and reasons to own a pet here.
Pets bring such life into a home. They bring joy and happiness, as well as discipline and patience. Things I noticed and learned when owning a pet, that I explain more in the previous blog, are discipline and patience, that the floor is a dog’s second plate, they’re someone to talk to, they’re funny, they know when you’re sad, we learn from them, and they offer unconditional love.
I learned so many things by being a pet owner, but I realized I was never there or old enough to remember what the puppy phase is REALLY like.
New Puppy Alert: Ginger
About six months after we had to put April down, we decided to get a new dog. We’re all about adopting and giving a needy dog a good home. However, we knew we wanted a puppy to train it properly, but at shelters, puppies go quick. Before COVID, anyone could walk into a shelter and sit in a room and see all the animals.
Because of COVID, the shelter put in measures to keep everyone safe. We had to look online for a dog (they updated the site every three hours) and book an appointment to visit one. We refreshed the site all the time, keeping an eye out for a puppy. Puppies are the quickest to go in shelters, and we were looking for one that fit our wants.
We made an appointment to see this 9-month-old dog named Max. Poor Max was likely abused and was very scared when we met him, and as much as we wanted to give him a caring home, we were hoping for a high energy open puppy.
Two weeks later, we made an appointment for two puppies the second we saw them on the site. The next day, both of them were off the site, meaning they either got adopted or we got the appointment to meet one of them. That day we got a call to meet Tulip in two days, and were so excited and nervous that someone would adopt her before we had the chance to meet. We spent all the time in between thinking of names to give our possible new puppy.
We went to the shelter and were able to visit Tulip. She ran into our room beyond excited, jumping all over the place, and pooped on the floor; what a great first impression, right? She was sooo cute and thought that it didn’t matter that she pooped. I tried to calm her down with treats telling her to sit, and after a couple of minutes, I had her trained! I was so proud of myself and knew this dog, and I had a connection–I didn’t want to leave this puppy. The workers let us take the puppy into the outside play area to run around with her. She was such a happy, energetic girl, and super cute. We knew we wanted to name her Ginger then and there, and we took Ginger home with us.
What It’s REALLY Like Having a New Puppy
When getting a new dog, you really want to know what kind of dog you want–high energy, lap dog, protective, lazy. Different dog breeds all have different personalities. Since we wanted to adopt a puppy, we weren’t too picky on the breed and just wanted one that was happy and energetic. Little did we know that Ginger’s breed, the Black Mouthed Curr, is a high energy dog. We found out Ginger was adopted two months before and was returned, and we kinda know why; she’s a very needy, hyperactive dog.
Puppies are just like babies and need a watchful eye, a lot of love, attention, and guidance. Untrained, puppies seem like a nightmare: chewing whatever’s in reach, peeing inside, and barking and jumping everywhere. People have many different approaches to training their dogs and what they require from their pets. For us, we don’t want the dog to jump up on the beds or couches, on people, or run out the door. The first thing we taught her was to sit and stay, never wanting her to run away when the doors opened.
While dogs sometimes seem crazy and dumb (if you’ve seen any sort of dog video, you’d know what I’m talking about), they are actually very smart. They can sense when you’re mad or sad, and I believe they can understand us. Ginger is a special dog. I swear she is part cat, since she lays sprawled out, paws at objects, and whines to get attention but doesn’t want it once you give it. She never wants to be alone, follows me everywhere, always wants to know what you’re doing, where you’re going, or what you’re holding on to, and she enjoys comfort. But she’s my special girl, and I understand her and love her.
Keep in mind my tips are what work with my dog, and, and as I previously mentioned, all dog breeds are different. What works for Ginger might not work for your dog, but I try to keep these tips as generic as possible.
1. Training Treats
It’s very important if you’re training your dog to have LOTS of training treats. The difference between training treats and regular ones is that they’re smaller and chewy, easier for puppies, and come in large packs so more than enough for training time. The best way to reinforce behavior is providing a lot of treats and praise.
2. Have Patience
Puppies are so hyper and explorative that it can be very annoying if pupper is still chewing on your slippers after telling them no a dozen times. It’s important to be patient and remember they’re still a puppy and are learning, and they’ll eventually calm down. It’s not helpful to be constantly yelling at a puppy when they mess up. We use a soda can with pennies and give it a quick shake when Ginger is doing something she isn’t supposed to. It gives her a little startle, and she knows not to do it again.
3. Play Time
All puppies, no matter the breed, are high energy and require a lot of playtime to get the wiggles out. I found it’s very easy to hold the end of a rope, toss a ball, or give her a bone to get the energy out. We also give Ginger a walk in the evenings, so she’s all tired out before bedtime. If your dog is weird like mine and even after all this, they’re not tired out, consider getting calming treats. The reviews say they usually work, but my dog is just special, and calming treats make her more happy than mellow, ha!
4. Keep a Watchful Eye
Puppies are notorious for eating whatever is in sight: grass, rocks, shoes, lizards (don’t ask). It’s important to watch what they eat because it could hurt their stomach and cause vomiting. This happened to us about a month into having Ginger. We didn’t know what she ate, but she was throwing up nonstop. The vet told us to take care of it just how we would for ourselves– take a nausea pill and eat plain foods. I felt so bad watching Ginger throw up uncontrollably, not knowing what was happening to her. Always keep an eye on your pup.
5. Enjoy Puppy Time!!
I cannot stress enough how FAST puppies grow. They don’t stay tiny and adorable for long, so pick them up, squish them, and love them while you can. Ginger is now seven months old and is getting to be a big girl. While I’m grateful she’s getting over the puppy phase, I miss my tiny little pup.