A puppy or rescue dog will require a lot of time, patience and understanding. Your home will need to be puppy-proofed and the first things you will put your focus on are socialization, potty training, crate training, and leash training.
Although I already knew a lot about dogs back then, raising a puppy was definitely different than I expected it to be. Never ever underestimate the responsibility you take on to yourself when buying a puppy. It’s not just that cute little thing that you can throw a ball a few times a day.
Below you will find 10 things that I wish someone told me before getting a puppy and that were quite a surprise for me.
Every Puppy Is Different
If you are looking into resources online that will teach you about puppy training, don’t believe that this is what all puppies behave like. Every puppy is completely different and you will run into your own problems along the way.
Some puppies bark others are always quiet. Some may be potty trained in a day others might take months. My Rottweiler puppy had the worst leash problems that other dog parents never talked about. Just because your friend
Each puppy learns on his own pace and likes his own things. My dog loves to tug and is not so interested in playing fetch. She would rather like to wrestle instead of running with other dogs.
A Puppy Requires a Surveillance System
Everyone knows that a puppy requires a lot of attention and supervision but when I tell you that you couldn’t even turn your back on her then I mean it. We had to watch our puppy 24/7 to prevent any accidents in the house. For the first few days, she only peed and pooped inside.
The only place she wouldn’t do that was the couch and her crate. We always tried to keep her calm on the couch because once she touched the ground even for a mere second, she would pee. And we took her out every 20 minutes, more to that later.
Catching any bad behavior will really set up your training goals for success but that means that you will have to monitor your pup all day long. And it might sound quite easy but try that with 1-2 hours of sleep a night.
You Won’t Get Much Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a real thing and it’s probably the worst when it comes to enjoying your puppy because you will be literally walking around like a zombie. But again, every dog is different and yours might sleep just fine from the first night on.
Whining and crying in the crate at night is extremely common and will probably happen to everyone. Your puppy just got separated from his mother and littermate and is forced to sleep on his own now. From the first night on we placed the crate beside our bed and tired her out in the evening.
We followed all the steps outlined here, introduced the crate, regularly crate trained her throughout the day and so on. But once we put her inside the crate, she would start howling and crying her soul out. You will have to stay strong in this period and never ever give your puppy attention while whining (as long as he is not hungry or needs to pee).
We would put her in the crate at 8 pm and she would cry for at least 2 hours every night. Two hours doesn’t sound so bad but your puppy will have to go out at night. We had to get up every 2-3 hours for night time potty breaks which means that she would cry for at least an hour every time she would be put back in the crate again.
This gave us about two hours of sleep at night for 2 weeks. But if you stay consistent and never give in
The First Weeks Will Be The Worst
After those initially two weeks, things drastically got better. Every puppy has their own problems and strength. Besides her sleeping and potty problems, she was a total angel and the best puppy I could have ever wished for.
Having a puppy is so fun, you will just need to breathe through the hard times. It really helps to keep on researching and engaging in different forums like Reddit or Facebook groups.
Puppies are Exactly Like Babies
Puppies have a lot more in common with babies than I initially thought. It even starts with finding a name for your new companion. You want it to be meaningful, cute or unique and this decision will last for his whole life.
You will probably find yourself napping with your dog during the day just like you would have to with a newborn. A puppy is an angel when it sleeps and it’s the only time you will be able to do something for yourself or the household.
You will have to carefully monitor what your dog puts into his mouth. Just like babies, puppies explore everything and anything with their mouths. They are literally trying to kill themselves every day. Puppy proofing your house should not be underestimated and you can find out how to do it here.
You Will Be House Bound
A dog this young cannot and should not be left alone. You wouldn’t consider working 9-5 with a newborn would you? This could lead to major behavior problems in the future that all arise from separation anxiety.
It would also be a shame to lose so many valuable hours with your puppy. They grow so extremely fast and before you know it he will be an adult. Bonding and socialization will be huge topics during this period. Being housebound doesn’t mean that you won’t actually leave the house.
You will be outside for hours on end, keeping up with the potty breaks, taking your dog for a walk and socializing.
It Can Get Expensive
Of course dog in general costs money but you will only find out the exact number once you got one. A small dog will be significantly cheaper than a large breed and a puppy will have the most upfront cost.
You need to buy essential items like a dog bed, food, bowls, harness, leash but you will also need insurance and vaccinations. My Rottweiler is considered a “dangerous breed” here in Germany which means that I have to pay significantly more for her than other dog owners.
Before we could bring her home, we would need to get different government documents and take tests that all cost a lot of money. In Germany, you have to pay taxes for your dog which is about 96€/year for every breed. But with a dangerous breed, it can go up to 1.200€/year in certain cities.
You also have to pay 400€ for the “Wesenstest” every two years. Germany really tries hard to make it unattractive to have certain breeds. Depending on the type of food you will want to feed your dog, it may be cheap like a commercial kibble or expensive like a raw diet.
I am feeding my dog a raw diet since she is 6 months old and it costs me about 90€/month (the average cost for dog food is $20/month). And this is only for food. Always set some money aside for potential vet bills that can get really expensive really fast.
Finding Out What a Dog Can and Cannot Eat
Everyone knows that dogs cannot eat sugar or at lot of fat but there are many foods that I would have never thought are toxic for them. A dog should never have bacon, avocado, chocolate, garlic, onions, grapes, walnuts and many more.
Believe me, you will feel like a nutritional expert after you have studied all those different ingredients.
Winter is the Worst Season for a Puppy
If I can recommend you one thing then please get a puppy in any other season than winter. Puppies hate the cold and you will have so many problems with potty training. That’s why I wrote above that she only peed and pooped inside for the first few days because it was just too cold for her.
We would be outside for hours and once we stepped inside for a mere second, she would pee on the floor. Nighttime potty breaks feel like hell. It’s freezing outside for you and the puppy and he probably won’t even go.
Socialization will be much harder as there is no one outside. The outdoor puppy classes were closed and we never met any dogs or people. Somehow we managed to make her so social that she now wants to lick every person and play with every dog.
Dog Ownership Is So Rewarding
The most important thing that I wasn’t so aware of is how rewarding dog ownership really is. It’s probably the best decision that I have ever made in my life and I would never regret getting a puppy.
A dog is so much fun and pure happiness every day. She enlightens my heart and I love her so much. Caring for her is the best and she gives so much back. It’s beautiful to have a loyal and loving companion in your life.
Let me know your things that you wish you knew before getting a puppy and what experiences you had during this difficult time in the comments below.