Advice for ‘Puppy Parents’
Since we have been ‘puppy parents’ for over a year now with our little Victory, I thought that I would share some advice and tips that have helped us with transitioning Victory into her new home with us.
1. Set a daily routine. Victory loves her routine, just like a kid who likes predictability and likes to know what to expect each day. So we try to set a routine so that Victory knows what to anticipate. She definitely is keenly aware when there is a change in her routine, and she even puts herself to bed after he final walk. On the weekends, we have to call her back downstairs as we stay up later!
2. Be consistent. It is important to be consistent to ensure your new furry family member understands you, which also helps sets boundaries with your new family member so he/she can learn what is appropriate behavior and what is not appropriate behavior, etc. Plus, being consistent will help each furry family member develop confidence.
3. Have patience. A new furry family member is in a new environment, and it takes time for he/she to bond with his/her humans. It took several months for Victory to feel comfortable in her new home with us. She is sometimes still a bit shy with new people who come over to visit. However, with a lot time, consistency, and patience, Victory is totally bonded to us as we are to her.
4. Be understanding. When we first took Victory home, we quickly learned she loved to chew — specifically, chew our things. She has chewed our pillows, pillow cases, sheets, duvet, and my clothes! I was not happy at the time, but we understood that she did not know otherwise. Fortunately, by telling her “no” when we caught her in the act of chewing our things, helped to mitigate this behavior over time. Fortunately, most of her chewing of our items has subsided! However, since Victory loves to chew, we make sure that she is thoroughly stocked with chew toys so that she has something of her own to chew constantly! I highly recommend these types of chew toys.
5. Start grooming early on. I brush Victory every morning, with few exceptions. I stay on top of her grooming because she always wants to looks her best and it prevents mats in her fur coat, which makes brushing easier each day. I also put a dab of baby powder behind her ears each morning to soak up any oils. Victory is pretty cooperative with me. However, I believe that if I did not start brushing her early on, she may not be as cooperative. Plus, she has learned that this is part of her ‘morning routine!’ (We have the vet’s office clip her paws and nails each month.)
6. Start brushing teeth early on. I brush Victory’s teeth every morning after her walk with few exceptions. This takes commitment. Victory is pretty cooperative because she knows that she get a treat after she is done getting her teeth brushed. Most importantly, since we have been brushing, her teeth are in much better shape versus how her teeth were when we met her with tartar build up on her back molars. We use this toothpaste with a small toothbrush and this oral spray after teeth brushing. In tandem, they work really well to keep gums healthy, fight bad breath, and fight tartar build up. Most of all, we do not want Victory to go under anesthesia unnecessarily for a teeth cleaning, and this is another incentive to brush her teeth daily.
7. Attend training. Take your furry family member to training in order to have you trained on how to work with your new furry family member. We went to training with Victory last year, and we are considering attending another training class with her. The training class was helpful because it got Victory exposed to other dogs and people; and the class helped train Doug and myself to train Victory on basic commands. Plus, it is a good bonding experience. I recommend doing thorough research on local dog training organizations in your area to ensure a good fit. We only do positive-based training.
8. Go on outings. Take your furry family member on outings, adventures, to help your furry family member get exposed to new environments. Most furry family members enjoy a change of scenery. Plus, this helps your new family member get socialized as well. We make a concerted effort to go on outings with Victory. She loves to go in the car and go to new places! In the winter months it is tougher as there are not as many places available to us due to the cold weather and snow. However, we are resourceful and find places to take her!
9. Take many photographs. Time goes by so quickly, in a blink of an eye. Therefore, I believe it is important to make a commitment to photograph (and make videos) to capture everyday moments with your furry family member. I have heard many stories from people who did not photograph their furry family regularly and are deeply saddened to learn after their furry family member’s passing, that they wished that they had more photographs. Photographs are wonderful because they capture moments in time forever, especially in this digital age. I am really happy that I did this with our Biscuit and I am happy to be documenting ordinary moments with Victory as someday these will be extraordinary moments.
10. Give love. Importantly, always show and give love toward your furry family member! They give us so much unconditional love and support! They are a constant in our lives and we should always be grateful for their presence in our lives.
I hope that these tips are helpful!