Part III: The Inexperienced Dog Owner
I thought it would be appropriate to end this three-part series by reflecting back on my mishaps as an inexperienced, first-time dog owner. My biggest blunder was not being well enough prepared to train my four-legged friend. Yes, I was excited and after waiting 18 LONG years, I finally had a puppy to call my own. But I literally had zero experience and I was in my first year of university which meant that I was out of the house all day and had to leave Timmy at home with my grandma who was not interested in training a dog.
Needless to say, the process was long and tiring for all parties involved. Being a puppy, Timmy would cry at night when left alone. But was instantly comforted when scooped up into bed with me. Though I loved having my own personal little furnace cuddled up to next to me, this sleeping arrangement came with its own set of challenges.
First, in case you weren’t aware, pugs shed… A LOT! And I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about waking up with fur all over my bed and pajamas. Second, potty training was a big issue at this point and on a couple of occasions, this resulted in an accident either on my bed or on the carpet next to my bed. Needless to say, this was not the best sleeping arrangement for either of us. Timmy needed a space in which he felt safe in, and I didn’t feel like doing laundry every morning.
Hence, I did some research and decided that the best solution was to get Timmy a crate. There are some people who are of the opinion that keeping a dog in a crate is “cruel.” While it’s not a good idea to keep your dog locked up in a crate all day, the majority of dogs love their crates. It is a space that acts like a den and makes them feel safe. Crate training helps in the potty training process and gives your dog somewhere to relax and wind down. We got a nice comfy mat to make him feel nice and cozy and he LOVED it! He also never had any potty accidents in there since it was his den and would bark instead if he had to go outside at night.
Look at that smile!
My other mistake came in not researching the right time to get him neutered. While the jury is out on whether or not neutering helps in making a dog less hyper and cutting down on potty accidents, my experience would suggest that it does. It was like night and day. When I finally came to my senses and took Timmy to have the procedure done, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from him behaviourally. He was a bit groggy at first and VERY annoyed by the cone they made him wear, (picture to follow) but in a matter of no time, he was up and about and to my complete surprise no longer marking every carpet in the house! Instead, when he had to go to the washroom he would run to the door and jump, which signaled that he had to go outside! I was beyond happy and slapping myself silly for not having done it sooner!
What did this all teach me? As in my last two posts, Part I and Part II here are the lessons that I learned:
- Do your research!!
- Crate train your dog.
- Make sure to have an ongoing conversation with your vet to ensure that you are making the right decisions for your furry friend.