They eat their own vomit, love to roll around in stinky stuff and seem to do their business everywhere apart from the puppy pad you neatly lay down on the floor. Yep, if you’ve recently acquired a dog, you’ll know that being a pet owner can be hard work.
RSPCA Victoria has noted a 45 per cent increase in dog adoptions and a 20 per cent increase in cat adoptions during lockdown. Fostering inquiries have jumped, too.
If you’re new to dog life, there are a few things you probably wish you’d known before becoming a puppy parent.
1. You have to wear socks and slippers all of the time
Mouthing and biting is normal behaviour for young dogs, but it doesn’t make it any less painful to have a puppy nipping at your ankles when you’re trying to go about your day.
For some reason, puppies seem to consider feet the tastiest chew toy around, and you can never quite let your guard down when you’re padding around barefoot. Until they learn how to control the urges to swipe at your toes, you’ll simply have to layer on the hiking socks and slippers.
2. You will probably have to wipe their bum
Like babies, puppies go to the toilet a lot and they rarely give any thought to where they do their business (FYI, they won’t think twice about doing a ‘number two’ on your brand new rug).
You know you have to potty train your dog – that’s a given – but if scooping dog dirt off the floor wasn’t grim enough, long-haired puppies often end up with bottoms that need wiping. Yep, you know you’re a fully fledged adult when you have to carry around a pack of baby wipes for your pup.
3. They are up at all hours
For the first several nights and weeks, you have to make peace with the fact you just aren’t going to get much sleep. Puppies are super excitable and are adjusting to their new environment, so you should expect lots of crying, barking and scratching in the middle of the night, while they’re getting used to their new home.
4. They get ‘the zoomies’
Most puppies will have moments where they erratically charge around the house for a few minutes, before collapsing into an exhausted heap. You’ll soon come to accept their weirdly energetic ways.
Zoomies, also known as FRAP (Frenetic Random Activity Period) attacks, are random bursts of energy dogs need to release – particularly before bed. While they aren’t harmful, you should always make sure they don’t run in a place that’s unsafe, such as near a road or around sharp objects.
5. They require your attention 24/7
Puppies can spend, on average, 16 hours a day sleeping, but when they’re awake, they basically need all of your love and undivided attention – so forget being able to focus on that work deadline.
Even after you train your dog, they can still surprise you. Prepare yourself for a lifetime of keeping one eye firmly on the dog.
6. Everyone will want to be your best friend
Having a new puppy means you need to leave the house 20 minutes earlier than you normally would, as you’ll be constantly stopped and greeted with coos of adoration from strangers.
You’ll be more tired, more stressed and forced to be more social when you probably can’t be bothered, but let’s face it, life is just better with dogs.
Do you have a dog? Did you have them from a puppy? What’s the one thing you wish you knew before getting a puppy?
– With PA
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