1. Crate and/or pen
A crate will be key in teaching your puppy a sleep cycle among many other things. A pen will help keep your new and rambunctious friend contained to an area if you are not able to provide them your full attention. Think of the following: cooking dinner + curious puppy wandering = inevitable destruction. With a pen you are able to corral these tiny balls of fluff within arms reach while providing them a safe play zone. I am SO thankful we utilized both the crate and pen with Goose.
His pen — and I call it his because he learned it was his area to calm and collect himself — was a savior the mornings Victor left early for work and I needed a few moments to blow dry my hair without having to entertain a puppy. It now acts as a gate around a house plant that Goose has taken a particular liking to… At least we are getting our monies worth.
His crate is a godsend when we need to leave the house. Have you ever watched a YouTube video of an owner who documented what their furry friend(s) did while alone at home? No? Check out this one for some insight. Luckily, our schedules are cohesive enough that there are only two days of the week where we have to crate him for extended time.
Goose does sleep in the bed with us now, but he still loves his crate. I know bad Lauren, but he is just too dang cute to say no to! Just look at him!
With proper training, we have been able to teach Goose to sleep from 9:30pm to roughly 10:00 am, with one quick potty break thrown in there around 7:00am. If we’re home with him, he takes little micro naps throughout the day. If we have to crate him to do things like go to work (silly work, I have a puppy at home, c’mon), he has no problem taking a nap in his crate because we have taught him to love his space.
There is nothing wrong with letting your dog roam around the house, sleep in the bed with you, whatever. However, I do think you are doing yourself and your pet a disservice by not crate training them. A crate symbolizes your puppy’s safe haven if trained properly. His crate is not a tool to use for punishment. It has their favorite toys, maybe a towel or bed to sleep with, and lots of treats in the beginning to reinforce the good behavior of going into their crate.
There will be a point in your pet’s lifetime where they will need to be crated for one reason or another. Can you imagine how traumatizing it would be to expose your dog to a crate in the event of an emergency? They will continue to associate the crate with that traumatic experience.
2. A Great vacuum
Whether your dog sheds or not, get a quality vacuum. Dogs track in SOOOOO much debris from the outdoors. Couple that with a dog that is an excessive shedder and you will be baffled at how much a subpar vacuum will leave behind.
We purchased a brand new vacuum after bringing Goose home and before he began shedding his puppy hair. I did one run with my previous vacuum, followed by one round with my new, amazing vacuum. I wish I had evidence to showcase how much debris was in the new vacuum even after I had already done a once over with the other. I swear my rugs looked and felt significantly cleaner. However, this is coming from the weirdo who constantly mentions to Victor how crisp the air feels in the apartment after it has been cleaned.
I vacuum weekly and I still question how it is possible I am able to accumulate so much dust, dog hair, cat hair, human hair, etc in a week’s time. You want to make sure your tool is doing its job well. Your AC system might thank you also!
3. Savings / Pet Insurance / Care Credit
There are various things that could occur during your dog’s life that could land them at the vet. Having money set aside is always helpful, but you run the risk of not having enough to cover a catastrophic event. It’s also great to have a some dough set aside for various other incidentals such as toys, treats, training, etc. It adds up quickly, and having extra resources certainly helps.
Pet Insurance is a great way to supplement a savings account. We currently have FIGO for Goose, and have had a pleasant experience with a few issues he has already had (thanks again Goose for literally filling your intestines with sand on a beach trip and pooping pure sand for 24 hours…). With FIGO you are able to customize your deductible and how much the plan will cover once the deductible has been met. There are some key items that are NOT covered under pet insurance, so be sure to review the summary or contact the insurance provider directly for clarification.
Care Credit is a line of credit you are able to open through Synchrony Bank. I am not encouraging anyone to extend their line of credit, but it is an option. What is great about Care Credit is the card can be used for charges incurred by you and your pet. As long as your physician is a provider on the network, swipe away my friends! Not literally though. Depending on the agreement with the physician and Care Credit, you are able to finance certain purchases for a set amount of time at 0% interest. This came in handy for us personally when our cat Dexter needed eight teeth removed and we did not have savings or pet insurance to help with the vet bill.
4. Time and Patience
These two go hand in hand.
As I mentioned briefly above, Victor and I have different days off from work to be home with Goose, which means he has someone at home with him four days of the week. The other three he has a maximum of four hours alone. A puppy requires ample TLC. The more you are willing to sacrifice and commit to this sweet little babe in the beginning, the bigger the reward when they are full grown. Goose spends as much time with us as possible, and typically has our full attention.
Patience seems like a given, but there are frustrating moments. You’re tired, had a long day at work, and you don’t make it outside fast enough for little guy to tinkle. It’s not his fault he relieved himself inside, his bladder can only hold so much. And it’s not your fault you didn’t get him out exactly twenty minutes after his last potty break (I wish I was kidding, it really is every twenty minutes). This is a learning experience for you both no matter how many dogs you’ve had in your past, all dogs are different.
5. Support System + Plan of Action
Again, these two go hand in hand. Whether your helping hand is your significant other, friend(s), or a trainer, have a few individuals you can lean on for help. Also it is extremely beneficial to socialize your dog to various individuals.
In addition to resources, have a game plan of how you’re going to raise your pup. How often are you going to socialize them? What things do they need to be exposed to that you interact with daily? Are you going to raise them to assist on hunting trips? Agility training? Maybe an expert cuddler and companion is what you seek. Your new babe is most impressionable the first 16 weeks of their life, and legally a puppy can not be sold/adopted until they are seven to eight weeks of age, which leaves you with only nine to eight weeks of key development.
If you are getting a puppy, what are you most looking forward to? If you have a dog, what are some other tips and tricks you can pass on?