First comes the engagement…then comes…a PUPPY. This past weekend, Jack and I drove to Arizona to pick up our sweet boy, Whiskey. Crazy? Sort of, considering that we drove to Arizona and back to LA in less than 24 hours. Worth it? 100%.
We have been talking about getting a puppy for forever. We couldn’t make up our mind about what breed we wanted, but we knew we wanted a big, active dog. Our dream became a reality when a couple of months ago, Jack forced me to fold and sent me a text saying “I found an Australian Shepherd breeder in Arizona, and I already wrote her a check. Will you send it out?” Me: Do I even have a choice?! In the end, it was the best “forced” decision I have ever made.
So, how did we end up picking Whiskey out of all the puppies? Well, Jack and I have only ever had female dogs before, and so we decided to get a male this time. It also wasn’t entirely up to us. Our breeder had a “first come first serve” basis on who could pick out their pup from the litter. We also knew that we wanted our pup to have a tail, so that also narrowed it down to which puppies are left! For those that aren’t familiar with Australian Shepherds, many are born with a bob tail as this is a dominant gene if one of the parents have it. Many owners prefer to bob their tails for many other reasons, but being the animal lover that I am, I didn’t see the reason in bobbing a tail when a puppy already has a perfect one!
Since we knew a few months in advance that we were getting a puppy, we had plenty of time to prepare. The last time I had a puppy was nearly 14 years ago! Things have definitely changed since then, and considering I was still a kid at that time, I never fully understood how much effort, preparation and money goes into having a puppy. Key word: puppy. Adult dogs are still a lot of all three of those things, but puppies are a double whammy. Below are some tips and tricks that we found useful and helpful for us before we brought Whiskey home.
Don’t feel the need to buy the expensive, nice things right away. That $150 memory foam bed? The $40 plush toy? The other memory foam mat that fits in the crate? Trust me, save your money and buy things that are easily (and affordably) replaceable. Buying things you can also remove and wash – like exteriors of beds – is a great option too. Chances are, your puppy will either outgrow it, tear it up, or go to the bathroom in it. Save the fancy stuff for when they’re potty trained and full grown!
Invest in good food. If you get your puppy at 8 weeks like we did, then I suggest talking to your breeder about what food they have been giving your puppy and that you continue using the same (if it’s good food of course!). There is nothing worse than having a puppy in it’s new home that won’t eat and drink. Puppies go through a lot of changes when you take them home, and food is one way to keep them consistent.
Supplements are just as important as food! Investing in good supplements – like probiotics and immunity vitamins – is just as important for their growth & development as food. Probiotics for dogs keep them healthy, since most illness start in their gut. Other supplements like immunity vitamins and join supplements are great during your pups growth development, and overall health. Our breeder suggested getting NuVet’s Immunity supplement since puppies already have such a low immunity (the main reason why you can’t even take them for a walk until they have all of their shots at 4months of age!). For probiotics, we got Probios and mix in his water. It’s a great idea to introduce supplements when your dog is a puppy so they get used it and you can continue this trend throughout their life.
Be honest with yourself about how much time you can invest. Thankfully, we got Whiskey at the perfect time. Okay okay, we were in the middle of moving which is the number one stressor, ever…but other than that it was the perfect time. We picked up Whiskey the weekend before 4th of July week. This meant that work for us both was going to be slow, and I already was taking a couple days off to move and get settled in our new place. AKA this was super convenient timing to be able to be home with a puppy! Instead of requesting more work off to acclimate Whiskey, I was able to unpack boxes while keeping an eye on the pup. With the 4th of July on a Thursday this year, this meant the office closed early on Wednesday, we were off Thursday, and Friday would likely be a ghost town. This gave me about a week to be home with Whiskey and get him acclimated and trained (sort of). Some may beg to differ, but I believe it’s super important to spend time with your puppy as soon as you pick them up. You want them to understand your lifestyle, set a routine for them, and stick to it. If you know that your job is demanding, and you won’t have the flexibility to come in a little late, take a longer lunch, come home early if absolutely needed, then this probably isn’t a good move for you. Luckily, I also have Jack to help and find flexibility with his schedule. #CoParenting at it’s finest! My family is also local and we have worked out a schedule with them to come by the house a couple days a week when Jack and I will be busy all day at work. Time commitment is definitely something to think about!
More blog posts to come about puppies as we encounter all the things with Whiskey!