What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Puppy Edition

(Image Credit: Phase4Photography)
(Image Credit: Phase4Photography)

It’s here and you’re excited. That’s right, you’ve taken the plunge into furparenthood (yes, it’s a word). You’ve done your research, you’ve found the perfect addition to your family, and you’ve nested the crap out of your living room. There’s a dog bed here, a big box of toys there, and you already know what you’re naming them.

Whether you adopt and rescue or find a nice, reputable family in your local town who had a litter, you need to know what to expect when you’re expecting a puppy. Sure, everyone tells you about how wonderful it is to have a dog, but if this is your first furbaby and you’ve never had a puppy before it might come as a shock how much work a puppy is.

So, what should you expect from your puppy (and your life) in the first few months?

You’ll have plenty of battle scars to lie about on your next date.

“Oh this? I got this while I was saving a family of baby ducks from the grips of a zombie alligator, or a zombigator as they are better known as in the scientific world. Oh, and did I mention the zombigator had wings? I barely got out alive, but the baby ducks now hold a parade in my honor each year. It’s extremely humbling.”

Lie all you want, but the fact of the matter is your cute little ball of love gave you that scar and it hurt like h-e-double hockey sticks. Puppies have razor sharp teeth. Seriously. And nothing is safe. The bigger the breed, the sharper the teeth, and with that comes biting during playtime…and just because they feel like showing you their teeth work.

There will more than likely be hundreds of half chewed bully sticks and pig ears strewn across your floor, there will be no stuffed creature left unharmed, and no ankles, wrists or fingers left unscathed. Oh, and did I mention basically anything on the floor is fair game for a puppy? Including shoes, cables, pillows, bottles of water, your feet… Until those puppy teeth fall out, I recommend you invest in a serious cleaning regimen, shin guards, thick gloves and bandaids. A lot of bandaids.

Walks beneath the pale moonlight.

Nothing is more relaxing than a moonlit walk in the evenings and feeling the cool grass beneath your feet. Unless that time is 1:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on a Monday night and you have to be at work the next morning. Housebreaking is tough, and it’s even tougher when you have an 8-week-old puppy who can’t hold it through the night. Teaching them that inside is not a potty place takes time, even if that means waking up at 3:30 a.m. and walking in circles with your dog until it wakes up enough to pee. Or getting halfway out the door and it peeing in your arms. Nice.

But rest assured, once you’ve established a schedule, your dog will eventually learn that inside is a no-no zone for pee and poop – not before it pees in every corner of your home though. That’s a big one there.

A deeper appreciation for nature, and all its great offerings.

If you love nature and all it has to offer, then watching your dog discover nature for the first time will be a treat. Every stick, bird, bug, rock, piece of grass, chunk of dirt, feather, piece of paper, and neighborhood pet will become brand new shiny play things. It’s just how a puppy works. Everything is something to eat or chew on. Or both. It seriously doesn’t matter what it is, and one walk around your neighborhood will teach you that.

Think you knew nature? Just wait until you are attempting to wrestle your extremely hyper puppy into submission to remove a piece of unknown something from their mouth. If that doesn’t teach you that nature is more than meets the eye, frankly I don’t know what will.

You and your sofa will start a long distance relationship.

Sometimes, breaking up with people is hard. But if you could maintain your relationship a thousand miles away and know they’d still be there when you came back, would you? Well, a sofa knows that sometimes you can’t always be there, but you’ll always come back, and with a puppy you’ll need that kind of commitment.

You’ll be walking your puppy, training them, out at Petsmart or Petco watching people tell you how darn adorable your puppy is. You’ll start to get in shape because as they grow you’ll have to do more laps around your neighborhood or even start to run. And if you have a big dog, playing tug of war will give you a serious workout. Then, by the time you’re done getting the puppy all worn out you notice it’s 10:00 p.m. and you have to be up in three hours to do your routine moonlit walks. No more quality time with the sofa – at least not now – but you’ll be back. You always come back.

Unconditional love.

Puppy teeth hurt, you’ll feel like you can never sit down, late night trips outside and cleaning up messes in the house aren’t pleasant, and teaching your dog that not everything outside (and inside) is worth eating is frustrating, but you will never find a companion that just unconditionally loves you as much as a puppy does. You are their everything. They want to be with you at all times, giving and receiving love. They will be there when you cry, when you’re mad and when you’re happy – helping you through anything and everything. You’ll spend the next decade or more of your life with these wonderful companions, and while the puppy years might be tough, when you look back all you’ll remember are the puppy kisses, the amazing times and every time they made you laugh.

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I’m a video game playing, lapel pin collecting, rubber duck hoarding, cat-obsessed twenty-something who dances to the music in her own head regardless of who is watching.

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