26 Secrets That Current Puppy Owners Want Future Puppy Owners To Know
It's extremely hard, but worth it.
Recently, I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me things that no one told them before they got a puppy. Now they've spilled the secrets and we all get to learn them. Here's what they said:
1. You're going to have to learn your dog's personality:
"I had my last dog for 16 years, and I knew everything about him; we’d lock eyes and I just 'knew.' No one told me that I’d have to get to know my new puppy’s personality! What does she like/hate? What is her motivation behind doing this/that? How does she show love/dislike? What can I trust her/not trust her to do? It’s been a totally new, wild, and joyful experience."
2. Some love to eat poop:
3. That apparently everyone on the street is eating chicken and throwing the bones on the ground:
"There are somehow chicken bones everywhere. And your dog will try to eat every. single. one."
4. Anything about the teenage phase:
"People don't realize that your cute little puppy who follows you everywhere becomes a 'teenager' at about six months. They are still a bit dumb but have noticed there are many things to do that are more fun than following mommy and daddy. They still have puppy energy but are big enough to start doing real damage. And they learn that pushing your buttons is a great way to get attention. That is why you see so many 6- to 9-month old dogs in shelters, when people are overwhelmed by the sometimes defiant little menace that their adorable little fuzzball has turned into. Patience, lots of exercise, and about another year or so is required."
5. Seriously, teenagers are scary:
6. That you need to be assertive:
"Even if you're not assertive or strong willed...learn to be with them. A dog needs an alpha to see you as the leader of your pack. If not, many will assume the alpha role and will run you for the rest of their lives."
7. Clever potty training tricks:
"It’s easier to train a puppy to ring a bell to go outside than to train them to go on a potty pad. It prevents barking and accidents!! We trained both of our Alaskan Malamutes to ring a bell when they want/need to go out and it’s awesome."
8. Puppies are like silly puddy:
9. A sleeping dog is a GOOD thing:
"A tired dog is a good dog. A lot of times, they chew things out of boredom. I have two high-energy dogs and when they’re tired, they sleep in the house. When they haven’t had enough exercise, they start getting in trouble. Time to get them outside and exercised. Once you get them through the puppy phase, they will be your best friend. Just remember, you are their everything. You can do it, lots of us rooting for you. Hang in there. Every dog is different, that’s what is so great!"
10. That your puppy will grow out of that "puppy look" very quickly:
"Puppies grow very fast and they don’t stay little for very long. The cute stage ends very quickly. Savor it while you can."
11. The whole baby teeth situation:
That they lose teeth, just like human kids, and have what I called “death mouth.” Essentially, the open sores in their mouths from the missing teeth harbor bacteria and smell like rotting flesh. Lasts about a month or so. 🤢
12. And allll the nipping (with their razor-sharp puppy teeth!):
13. You are basically getting a forever toddler:
"A puppy is just like a newborn for the first couple weeks...and I had no idea, especially since I wasn't a mother yet. She cried all night (even though the crate was in our room) so I would have to get up and get on the floor with her, open the door, and touch her. I slept on the floor many times during the first couple weeks. I was up every couple hours to take her outside to use the bathroom (which is the best way to get the puppy house broken, IMO). I was exhausted. I cried. I even contemplated giving her back. But I didn't. I stuck it out. I was patient. Now she never leaves my side and is my son's bodyguard. A pet is a forever addition to your home. Please be responsible when adopting/purchasing a pet. Make sure you can provide for them. You are all they have."
14. Food can be complicated:
15. Raising a puppy is NOTHING like the movies:
"People in movies and on TV get puppies and then go about life as normal. This is so inaccurate! A puppy disrupts your life the same way a human baby does. They bite, and bark incessantly, throw tantrums and eat things they shouldn’t. You can’t get anything done and your life is completely overturned! But, for all the awful stuff, you love them and wouldn’t give them up for anything."
16. The human is to blame for accidents in the house, sorry:
"If your puppy has an accident in the house, it's not their fault — it's your fault. Get them on a potty routine and watch and learn their body language."
17. Energy is everything:
"Having a puppy can be as exhausting as having a baby or toddler in the house. And even after puberty, a grown dog still has a sort of ‘mental capacity’ of a toddler. Meaning: it will learn from you when to feel safe, when to be scared, when it’s time to play or sleep. Also, puppies (and adult dogs) react to the energy you project. If you’re calm, confident and caring, they will trust you. The best practical tip is crate training from the start: a crate is not a punishment, but a safe place."
18. Your puppy might want a job:
19. Some days will be good and some won't be:
"My top tip when getting stressed about thinking whether I’m good enough or not is to remember dogs are like people — everybody has bad days and nobody is perfect! Everyone starts somewhere when getting a dog, just like learning to drive, it takes some time for both of you to learn and then you’ll be amazing together! :)"
20. Dogs get their period:
"I didn't know that an unspayed dog will get an actual period. I was living abroad when I got my puppy and didn't get to spay her until after she went into heat for the first time. I was vaguely aware that she would have a cycle and maybe some spotting; I didn't know she would bleed all over the place, leaving my apartment looking like a crime scene."
21. That you'll definitely suffer from some feeling of "what have I done?????":
22. That you should definitely get pet insurance:
"Pet insurance is one of the best things ever. My first puppy was diagnosed with epilepsy at 1 year and without pet insurance, I wouldn’t have been able to give him the best vet care before he passed."
23. How important training is:
"Training. Training. Training. No dog is born perfectly well-behaved. Train your dogs. Do not give up on them. Pay attention to their needs and body language. Work together and build a relationship with them."
24. Dogs have a mind of their own:
25. How hard it is:
26. They will take over your life, but one day you'll realize it's better that way:
"Dogs will fill your heart. Dogs will kill your bank account. Every time you go anywhere, you will have to think, 'can I bring my dog?' But when you are walking on a beach with your dog some place in the Northwest Pacific, you will think, 'this is the best life possible.' You will, eventually, prefer dogs to humans."