Whether you have decided to adopt a puppy from a shelter or buy one from a breeder then you will surely be filled with the excitement of your impending puppy parenthood. Maybe you have no idea what to expect, or perhaps you think ‘ahh it’ll be fine, I mean come on it’s not like a puppy is a baby!’. And you would be forgiven for thinking that. Since it’s true, a puppy isn’t a baby. No, no, they are something much different, they are 4 legged hairy demons hell bent on whining and whimpering and screaming till you consider shaving your head and stuffing the hair in your ears as a way of blocking out the awful sound. Quite similar to a baby in many respects I suppose, on the plus side a pup is a bit easier to keep alive.
Fletcher came home with me at 8 weeks old and he cried all the way. I mean it, all the way. Ok, I’m exaggerating 75% of the journey at least though.
Before you get your little or large bundle of fluff you will have set some ideals for what you would like to do with your dog, how you would like it to behave, what you will let it do, what it won’t be allowed to do, and inevitably how it will be the most well trained little beast to walk the earth. I can tell you now, just forget about it all.
My main rule, (which regrettably I told everyone and now I get reminded of it constantly) included not letting my pup sleep in bed with me, how utterly ridiculous I thought, who would let a dog sleep with them? They are a dog not a person and should be treated as such. That was before I realised how fucking adorable he was and also the level of noise that would emanate from his mouth hole when he was parted from me. Even with him being less than one metre away from me on the floor. As I live in very close proximity to my neighbours and as it may not be favourably looked upon that I have him in the first place I quickly gave in to him to stop his incessant shrieks as I do think those living next door would think I was sacrificing something to Satan.
Aaaaaaaand he’s slept in my bed every night since I brought him home.
Next I’d like to discuss training, I feel like as a person who works with dogs there’s an obvious expectation that my own dog will be a perfectly trained member of canine society. Maybe even have a small part time job to pay for his food and toys. But even after 2 months the extent of his talents go to ‘sit’ and shaking my hand with his paw whilst I say ‘Nice to meet you’. I won’t lie, it’s fucking adorable, but the novelty of that trick has kinda worn off now, we need new material. I am very conscious of the time ticking and him being behind in training and all the other dogs being much more impressive. Well at least he knows his name, most of the time, that’s being trained right?
Next onto the puppy biting, buy yourself oven gloves, chain mail and a flame thrower and be prepared to look like streaky bacon. Luckily I am one of the only people he does this to or I think everyone would hate him. It is literally horrendous as he does it to wake me up a lot of the time (yes I know if he slept in his own bed blah blah blah) and it can be relentless until he tires himself out. Although I usually get tired before him and try bribe him to stop, it doesn’t work, he doesn’t speak English.
However despite all my shortcomings and giving into him, I am quite rigid about one thing. Begging. For. Food. Is there anything more irritating that a dog staring you down and whining at you while you eat? Needless to say I don’t share food with the children in my family let alone a puppy who will probably throw up or shit itself after eating the people food anyway.
Toilet training. I feel like this is a bit of a sore subject for me and Fletch, he knows where he should go and, for a while he did. Now though he just goes where he likes and looks me straight in the eyes whilst doing so. Excellent.
All in all though, Fletcher is a good boy. He’s a complete terrorist in the house and is a needy fucker a lot of the time, but he’s so good with other dogs, kids and people, and behaves so well when we are out and about. So, I suppose you have to take the bad with the good.
To conclude, what I would like anyone about to enter puppy parenthood to take away from this post is to make plans for training, get excited and buy all the cute toys and expensive personalised dog beds. But please don’t be too disheartened when your new puppy pisses all over his expensive bed and would rather sleep with his head in your crotch under the duvet or use your dirty pants and socks as his new favourite toy. Or maybe its just my dog that’s a tiny pervert.
And for anyone who has gone through the puppy stage and stuck to absolutely nothing they said they’d do, I’m glad I’m not alone.