Puppies are cute. There’s no denying it. Dogs are man’s (and woman’s) best friend. Another fact. But are they easy to bring into your life? Hell no. I can 100% vouch for the fact that a dog is A LOT of work. So whilst my Instagram might be flooded with a tonne of cute puppy photos that showcase the amazing side of having a dog in your life – I thought it might be worth doing a little bit of a ‘reality check’ about what life is like with a little (or large) furry friend in your life. Now, I should probably note that I’m no dog expert by any means but these are just a few little thoughts I thought worth sharing after having Monty in our life for around six or so months now.
1. They’re dependent – forever
Having a puppy in your life if often likened to having a baby. I don’t want a baby, but I did (do) want a puppy. Monty is adorable, no denying that – but I’ll be honest and say I probably somewhat underestimated the dependency element a little. There are just two of us humans at home with her and as the one of the two that works from home, the day to day responsibility for little Monty sits with me. Which is generally fine – but there are times it gets challenging. When she was really young she couldn’t be left for more than 3 hours max at a time – and even then I didn’t want to dash in and out and leave her again. So I’d have to plan in the journey to and from home along with any meetings and freelance work I was doing. Meaning sometimes coming and going from home 3/4 times in a day. Of course it gets easier as they don’t need feeding quite as frequently through the day but I still can’t really plan for a full day out of the house without her unless I coordinate with the boy to juggle it with me. It’s just something to consider – if you can’t be home for long then you might need to factor in dog care – we still don’t have a dog sitter sorted in London as we found either the cost was really high or it was just not convenient enough to work for us. So any dog sitter recommendations in the N1/Angel area please drop me a line!
2. They’re expensive
I’m not talking cost to take your friend home – that’s totally dependent on what you decide to do in terms of where you get your dog from (rescue centre or reputable dog breeder – more on this can be found HERE). But I mean in terms of the ongoing costs – the food, treats, toys, insurance, vet costs, generally health, holiday/dog day care – all can really add up. Definitely something to be taken into consideration when planning to get a dog/puppy.
3. They have personality
Don’t just think about what you want your dog to look like or breeds you love the look of. But think about the typical personality of the breed and if that will work for you and your circumstances. You might want a dog that just cuddles all day – then you probably don’t want to get something like a Collie that will be full of boundless energy and just want to play and run for miles. If you live in a flat you might want to look for a breed that’s typically quiet. If you love walking for miles – a short legged dog is probably not for you. Lots of things to consider to find the right pup for your lifestyle. Of course you can’t always tell the temperament or character of a puppy when you first meet them at just a few weeks old. But if they’re in a rescue centre they’re likely a little older or will have been with carers who can give you a bit of insight or if with a breeder then you should be able to meet the parents and talk to the breeder about what they’re like to get an indication. When we met Monty’s parents it really gave us a feel for how playful she could be – her Dad has a trait for rolling onto his back for belly rubs which is adorable (although apparently made him a nightmare for dog shows…) This is something Monty constantly does now, which sure – might very well be a puppy thing, but we hope she keeps it as a taste of her Dad’s personality.
4. Sleepless nights and early mornings
One thing I didn’t sign up for (well, I did – but kinda wish it wasn’t always the case) are the early mornings and sleepless nights. If you want to go to bed, but your puppy wants to play. Then you’re in for a battle of wills. He/she will likely bark/scratch etc and do whatever attention grabbing thing they can to get what they want. Much like a toddler. You can either suck it up and be strong willed about it and hopefully they will learn they’re not the boss… or if in our case you live in a flat, you can give in for the sake of the neighbours… she’s a little dog, but boy has she got big lungs when she wants to. But on the plus side, this doesn’t last forever – we’re now at the point where at least we can let her out of where she sleeps and she will come and have a cuddle in bed for an hour or two before we get up. Much better than a 5am ‘It’s play time’ wake up call!
kind of gross
Picking up dog poo with a leaf because you forgot to pick up the poop bags? Yep, been there. Nice. Or even better – cleaning up runny puppy poo after she ate something that didn’t agree with her. Yep, been there too. Clearing up what seems like endless puppy wee whilst still potty training? Another joy to deal with. Especially fun when you’re in a flat and have to take her downstairs every couple of hours to go out in the garden. Fact is, like changing nappies on a baby – you need to be prepared for the poo (etc) side of things. My top tips? ALWAYS carry poo bags. Take hand sanitizer wherever you go with dog and make sure you’re fully stocked on hand-cream (constant hand washing takes it’s toll). Oh, and line your entire home with puppy pads until potty trained (and get a good professional carpet cleaner on speed dial).
6. They’re smart but doesn’t mean they will do what you want
Monty is a clever little thing. Just mention the ‘W’ word (walk) and she’s jumping around like a loony and running for the door. Say the word dinner and her ears prick up. Walk to the cupboard where the treats are kept and she’s on you like a shadow. Ask her to stop chewing your favourite socks? No chance. Wether you want to call it selective hearing/pushing the boundaries or just being a little bugger. It can be very frustrating to see how they totally get what you’re saying in *some* contexts but in others it will fall on deaf ears.
7. They are always over the moon to see you
It’s not all negative, by any means. And regardless of the slightly more ‘hard work’ points in this post – I also know that we now have a little family member who will ALWAYS be delighted when either of us walk through the door. There really is nothing more heartwarming than seeing her little face bouncing up at you when she’s so desperate for a cuddle when you walk in. I’d love to see that level of excitement on the face of Ollie when I get home from time to time…!
8. They will bite you and it will hurt
Thankfully, this phase shouldn’t last too long and actually hurts less when they get their adult teeth – puppy teeth are like teeny tiny razors! But they basically discover the world with their mouth in the same way a baby does with their hands (apparently, do not have a baby to check this with). They also play with their mouths. Without a litter around to play with, you’re their new play thing and they will get very nippy. But with the right training it shouldn’t last too long (in terms of weeks/months) but that doesn’t mean an evening spent fending off a little furry version of jaws wont frustrate you to the point of tears. This happened to me, I basically had a total freak out (Monty was maybe 3/4 months old at the time) and I’d just had enough of the nipping and in dramatic fashion sank to the kitchen floor in tears. She promptly stopped – looked at me in a worried way and just came over and curled up on my lap. Which of course made me cry more, but for different reasons. Which leads me to the next point…
9. They’re very intuitive
Ok, so they might not be quite intuitive to the hungover/need a lie in feeling. But if you’re upset, you can just see that they get it and will come in for a cuddle. Or this other time Ollie and I were bickering over something stupid and then looked at her and she had this worried look in her eyes. Again, maybe a little like kids – they get atmosphere and feelings more than you probably think they would/should do!
10. They’re worth it
Ok, I have to end on a positive. And whilst I’m actually sat here typing sans-dog as she’s away with the in-laws at the moment because we had been in New York. I can honestly say that it is worth it. Ok, sure – I can’t put something on the floor without knowing it will get chewed. I have had many a frustrating moment of her barking/me trying to work/sleep/relax. But for each time she jumps up on to my lap or snuggles up next to me for a snooze on the sofa or bounces like a strange hyperactive sausage/kangaroo hybrid. Or when she puts her paw in my hand on command (the most useless but adorable trick she knows). You do get that warm fuzzy feeling and it’s worth it.
100% think getting a puppy was a great decision – our timing of months before a wedding/just stating to work for myself probably could have been a little better… but still. We wouldn’t change her for the world. But in a world where there’s a million cute and fluffy puppy pictures, it’s worth taking a moment to really consider the whole package of it and get just a tiny taste for what you’re taking on beyond cute cuddles and a little walking buddy! As they say… a dog is for life, not just for Christmas!
Do you have a dog/puppy and can relate to or want to add any points to this?