*note: We are by no means dog experts. Please consult your veterinarian or dog professional if needed. This is just based on our experience as puppy parents.
We hit a major milestone recently in our house! Macie is now 8 months old and has officially been with us for 6 months. Honestly, it feels like she always has been because she fits in our life so seamlessly, but the truth is she wasn’t. Less than a year ago it was just a dream of mine to get a dog, and here we are half a year in. Now, I can’t sugar coat it and say its all rainbows and happiness. It was a rough road to get where we are, but worth every single step.
Today I am just going to sum up how we got to this point and what life is currently like with our puppy. This is by no means an all inclusive guide or recommendation. This is just what worked for us and what we’ve learned along the way and to show there is light at the end of the tunnel!
How we got here.
The first few weeks with Macie at home were so overwhelming I didn’t think I could do it. However, I’m stubborn so I pushed through. I am so happy I did. The beginning angst is just temporary. We just stuck with what we knew (i.e. read online and/or were told by friends and family), and it has paid off.
Training is KEY with a puppy or any new dog in your home. Specific to a puppy though, you are housebreaking them, crate training them, dealing with teething, etc. ALL.AT.ONCE. The list goes on even more. It can get very overwhelming, trust me. The biggest thing is just sticking with it. There reached a point where we didn’t think Macie would get housebroken. It just didn’t seem to be clicking no matter how frequently we took her outside. Then, BAM one morning we woke up, took her right outside and she went to the bathroom. It was a miracle, and since that time it clicked with her. The same goes for crate training. As heartbreaking as it was to do, we would put her in the crate at night and let her cry it out. Thankfully it only lasted about 30 minutes at night for the first week, and then she was fine and enjoyed sleeping in her crate.
Along with training, a routine is just as important. When we first brought her home, I went home on lunch every.single.day for months! I went home to let her out to the bathroom and to give her time out of her crate. Ok, so it was also nice getting puppy snuggles in the middle of the day. This routine seemed to work for us though. As the housebreaking moved along, it was key to take her out as much as possible. We also didn’t believe she should be left in the crate all day, so this allowed her a break. While she was younger I would even give her lunch. As the days went on, it got easier and easier and the initial angst went away. This was my new normal, and it felt right.
I think this one goes without saying. With all the training we did and trying to start a new routine is taxing. However, I knew the life we were giving her was better than if she were never adopted (SOB thinking about that). Dogs are animals, who do not speak our language. You cannot get mad if they don’t listen or pick up on what you want. I can tell that Macie is trying to understand and trying to do her best. So we have patience with her. She is the most lovable dog in the world, and so it is all worth it!
Life is such a dream with Macie now. Macie is currently house broken, can sit, stay, do paw and loves playing. She is in puppy classes now to hone in some other skills like leave it and drop it. While she does get a little nippy at times and dug up half of our freshly planted grass, we know it will pass with our attention and guidance. We are in a routine of letting her sleep with us at night, feeding her twice a day, taking her for long walks and snuggling as much as possible. In those first few weeks, if you said you will get to the point where she waits to go outside to the bathroom or is calm enough to sleep with you (and not destroy the house), I would think you were crazy. But here we are ❤
Things to Know.
It gets easier.
The stress goes away.
You get puppy snuggles every single day.
Dogs are sturdier than you think.
They love you more than you think.
It sucks being woken up at 5 am to barking because someone walked by 🙂
It’s worth it.