Outside of random forum threads we couldn’t find an honest account about the truth of owning a puppy. Despite being brothers Lars & Monty are such different dogs and we’ve had really different experiences. This post is for all the thinking about it dog parents, the ones in the thick of it and just the dog owners who will relate. Lars’ update is coming soon but here’s my version of Monty’s first month home.
Montys First Month
Before Monty came home I spent hours and hours researching the best first steps of dog owning. I had lists everywhere – what commands to use, how much food he needed, what to do to settle him in. However for the first day it all just went out of the window. I had a lot of other social commitments in that first weekend that seemed fine in planning as Steve could take the reigns but in reality it just didn’t work out. We ended up having a lot of unexpected guests on the first day – we’d read not having people over was the best thing to do but in reality people just dropped by because we had the cutest bundle of fluff. Obviously we let everyone hold him as it just seemed like an idyllic situation at the time. We were fully rested & happy as anything to have him home.
We settled him in that first night to sleep in his beautiful little pen with his little pad & water station set up thinking what a lovely little den. He slept a maximum of two hours that first night. The second day I was hosting a baby shower so deliriously got through my day hoping for something better that night. We made his pen a little smaller and removed his water as per online advice. He again did not sleep a single wink. To make things worse it was the Sunday before the kids went back to school so after hours of trying not to give in to his cries a little knock on the wall from the neighbours at 4am pushed a very emotionally tired me to sleep next to his crate.
Sleeping next to him in the kitchen did make me realise that the kitchen was not a sanctuary at night. Our fridge seemed to whir every two hours very loudly. Our boiler kicked in at about 3.30am and the lack of blackout window coverings meant it was actually not that dark at all. After having a full on emotional break down to Steve in the morning he researched the hell out of it and we moved him to a little square under the stairs and he loved it. A little crying to start with but he settled in quickly and slept through. Don’t get me wrong you can’t wee in the night without him thinking it’s morning time and jumping for joy. But he does now sleep through and goes to bed with no crying or whining. It’s a puppy miracle.
Once the sleeping arrangements were sorted we could get on with a little routine. He’s learnt to sit, to poo outside & nearly to wee outside every time (we do have the odd accident). He’s extremely active so despite sticking religiously to the recommended food amount have upped it a little bit and he’s coming on leaps & bounds since doing so. He’s ridiculously affectionate & lives for food making training with treats quite straightforward. We’re still working on perfecting walkies to be something a little more controlled but he is getting there.
I completely underestimated how hard this first month has been. He wee’d inside straight after being let out. He chewed holes in more clothes than I’d like to count. He fell down the stairs & crashed into radiators most days through sheer excitement for the next opportunity to play. But every single day he gets a little wiser & is turning into such a lovely little dog.
What did I learn?
- Don’t lose your shit. No matter how hard your patience is tested the minute you lose it – that little fluffy puppy has won and he’ll see himself as the dominant one in your family pack.
- Eat before him. A strange one but pack mentality states that the head dogs eat first. We found that after feeding him when we’d finished he quickly understood who was boss and stopped trying to be so in control of us.
- Every dog is different. Monty was hysterical when he was in the kitchen I do agree with sticking to a routine until they become used to it, however he was genuinely frightened of the noises, the light & large space so moving him on the 3rd night gave him some sanctuary. If I’d of persevered with the kitchen I think I would have had a mental breakdown through lack of sleep.
- Always have treats to hand. I couldn’t always reward good behaviour as the treats were in the kitchen. Since I’ve had a little bag with me whilst I’m home he’s been learning a lot quicker.
- They grow really fast. Be prepared to keep adapting as before you know it that little box he couldn’t get up on will become a launch pad. In just four weeks Monty has gone from 1.7kg to 4kg and he’s showing no signs of stopping.
- It’s so worth it. There were times at the beginning when I was trying to juggle a large project at work along with bringing him up and I could have lost it a little – Steve would probably say I did. I didn’t paint my nails for four weeks (for me this is so rare) and I’ve cleaned up more wee’s & poo’s than I could count but he really is the missing piece to our little family & when he’s snoring away next to me having his mid-afternoon nap I can’t imagine him not being here.