Anyone who has ever owned a puppy before will (hopefully) tell you just how much work they are. It is a lot like having a tiny human dependent on you which makes sense since they’re babies. My family has been looking for the perfect fit for a few years now, we’ve had two other dogs that didn’t work out due to my son’s special needs. That being said, we’re very much a dog family. The list for service dogs (we qualify on a few fronts) is long (years) so last week, we decided to go with a golden retriever puppy. Known for being great family dogs – with proper training, of course.
Bagel is 11 weeks and 4 days old. We’ve had him for 5 days now, and have gone 2 days without any accidents in the house (yay) but he is still a handful, and requires 24/7 care and attention. We’ve set aside our sunroom (no carpet in there) upstairs for him, which is quite large and spacious. My husband moved his computer desk to the room, and we shuffled an old couch in there too. We have a baby gate up so the cat can visit (and visit she does) and so the kids can still leave / enter the room without too much hassle. My kids are 5 and 7, and are well equipped to wear out a puppy’s energy.
All of that being said, again, puppies are hard. You can do all the planning in the world and nothing will quite prepare you for how hard it is. Sleepless nights, stress, anxiety, regret. Daily, if not sometimes hourly. I ended up finding a reddit that talks about ‘puppy blues’ – which is the overwhelming feelings you experience when you try to raise a puppy. The feelings that make you want to return them to the breeder 10 hours later, or the feelings that you’ve made a mistake, and that this is too overwhelming.
For most people, those feelings go away as the puppy ages. A routine comes into play, and guess what, you don’t have to be the perfect puppy parent. Time, patience, training, and more patience. For some people that feeling doesn’t ever go away, and that’s OK too. Our brains over time allow us to forget how difficult and stressful those first few months were, much like having a child (or two) will do. Reading similar experiences helped me keep myself grounded. Often times the rule of 3 is mentioned. 3 days. 3 weeks. 3 months. We’ve surpassed the 3 day mark, and I’m already seeing changes. Next is 3 weeks.
I will absolutely never raise another dog from puppy age again. It’s incredibly hard. BUT I see a lot of joy from it already, and my family (especially my daughter) are completely smitten. Me? I’m more of a cat person.