by Marketing Specialist Lindsey Klyn
There are few things more exciting than the concept of getting a puppy. Doesn’t every little kid dream of getting a puppy with a big red bow for Christmas? However, the reality of actually getting a puppy isn’t always quite as glamorous. In fact, it can be a lot like having a baby and toddler all in one since puppies don’t sleep through the night, move and explore everything, can’t talk, and need to be potty trained!
Assistant Office Manager Kimmy Van Zee’s daughter wrote “Dog please please please please please please” on her Christmas and birthday lists for the past 3 years, so Kimmy decided it was time to start looking into getting one. She ended up finding a litter of Toy Aussie/Yorkie mix puppies through Facebook and fell in love. A couple days later, Kimmy decided this puppy was the one for them. No one was surprised when they named her Indie Bell after the Indy 500 and one of their favorite racers, Christopher Bell, considering they’re such big race fans.
Physical Therapist Kaity Hall and her husband did a lot of research before deciding they wanted a golden retriever. They were looking for a medium-large dog that does well with people and animals, is easily trained, and is fairly active, which led them to look into golden retrievers and eventually find their puppy, Chloe. Kaity thinks golden retrievers are some of the most adorable dogs which didn’t hurt Chloe’s case!
We asked them to share their best puppy parenting advice for those of you who might be considering getting a puppy of your own!
Tip #1 from Kaity – Do your research FIRST.
Make sure to ask questions and make sure you know what you’re getting into. It’s easy to just go for something cute and furry. We did a lot of research before finally officially deciding to get a golden retriever.
Tip #2 from Kimmy – Think through the finances.
If you choose to get your puppy from a breeder, then there will probably be a decent cost associated with your dog. But remember, it’s not just expensive to buy a dog. You also have to keep up with shots, heartworm and flea and tick medicine, and regular vet appointments. Make sure these costs fit within your budget beforehand! And if cost is a concern, consider adopting from a local pet shelter!
Tip #3 from Kaity – Consider the time of year before getting a puppy.
Potty training in the spring or summer is a lot more fun than potty training in the middle of winter in Iowa. Enough said.
Tip #4 from Kimmy – Be prepared to practice patience.
Whether it be when you’re standing outside for 15 plus minutes waiting for your puppy to go potty or your puppy just chewed through your daughter’s favorite pair of socks, patience is key. Remind yourself to be patient, even if your puppy chews on your shoes, potties in the house, or gets into things she shouldn’t. A puppy’s just a puppy, and you’re both going through this learning process together.
Tip #5 from Kaity – Start training and socialization as early as possible.
Puppies are smarter than they look. The more they are exposed to now, the less those things seem scary or new in the future. If they don’t like it at first, give it a little time. Keep exposing them to new things. Chloe was afraid of some of her toys initially, but after being home for a few days they are her favorites now.
Tip #6 from Kimmy – Stick to a schedule.
When I picked Indie up from the breeder, she told me that her dogs are kenneled at 9 PM and aren’t let out again until 6:30 AM. Sticking with this routine has prevented a lot of whining! She also knows our morning routine of potty, food, and play time before she has to get in the kennel again while I’m at work.
Tip #7 from Kaity – Have FUN with your puppy.
Like kids, puppies only stay little for so long, so enjoy this crazy stage of puppy parenting! Chloe is just hilarious to watch. She slides on tile and does summersaults while chewing on her toys. We also love the extra encouragement to get outside more.
Tip #8 from Kimmy – Utilize your support system.
I’ve gotten a lot of tips from friends that have dogs. It’s nice to know others who’ve gone through the “puppy parent” thing too. Having a support system also comes in handy when you’re gone for long periods of time and need someone to dog sit! This is a fun way for your friends and family to have a dog without the full commitment of having one.
In the end, both say that despite the bumps and bruises along the way, they’ve loved being puppy parents! In fact, they’re quickly learning how dog is woman’s best friend.