Five Things I've learnt about raising a puppy.
Can I start with a confession? I didn’t want a dog. With three young kids to wrangle, I felt like my capacity to care for something else super cute and horribly needy was close to zero. So, I pushed back and despite years of begging, I held strong. We’re not missing out on anything, I’d tell myself. Turns out I was wrong. In a moment of weakness, we did get a puppy, and I have to admit it’s been a joyous experience that I wish we’d had sooner. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far…
1. Puppies are delightful.
For parents, there’s often a lot of fear about getting a puppy. You’re constantly thinking about everything that can go wrong, how much money you’re going to have to spend, how to puppy-proof your house, which beloved objects are going to get chewed to bits, as well as mourning how you’re never going away on another holiday again. Swimming in this sea of anxiety, I learnt it’s too easy to forget how delightful puppies are, how easily you fall in love with them, and how many unexpected moments of joy they provide in return.
2. It really is like having a kid.
Dog owners say this all the time, and I’d always written it off as a stupid exaggeration but turns out it’s 100 per cent true. From rushing around to get all the bits you need before bringing them home (gave me flashbacks to frantically setting up the nursery), to getting the puppy blues after the high of the first few days have worn off, to getting up in the middle of the night to help them go to the toilet. They’re just like babies, except with bloody bones instead of rubber teething rings. And just like children, they have the same knack of shining a spotlight on whatever issues you need to work on most. Short on patience? Lacking compassion? Prepare to be triggered!
3. Training and discipline have also been overhauled.
No more yelling (or at least much less) and definitely no rubbing their noses in little accidents on the rug. Nowadays, it’s all about positive reinforcement when things are good, rather than blowing your top whenever something goes wrong. I’ve learnt it’s more productive to ignore bad behaviour and distract them from annoying activities while encouraging the good stuff. It might take more dedication to get the results, but it definitely makes the overall experience much more positive and fun.
4. What you feed them matters.
Honestly, I thought puppies just ate whatever you put in front of them. Not true. Plus, I vaguely knew advances had been made in dog food, but what I quickly realised is there’s a massive difference when it comes to the quality of ingredients and the effects these have on your furry little pal. We partnered with Scratch for this reason. They’ve created a fresh approach to good old kibble by using a blend of quality meat with no added hormones, whole veggies, nourishing oils and additional supplements for things like joint health. If for no other reason, we love Scratch, because it means no farts that clear the room, which is a common side effect of crappy dog chow.
5. They inspire you to get outside.
As cliche as it sounds, puppies do force you off the lounge. Not only is their boundless energy fully contagious, but walking a puppy is such an all-consuming parade of amusement and chaos that it’s easy to forget you’re exercising. We’ve rediscovered our neighbourhood in the process and explored completely new parts we wouldn’t have otherwise. No idea what lessons are next, but I know there’s plenty more to come.
By Rick Bannister
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We work with dog food nerds Scratch because not only do they have excellent branding, they’re passionate about making the best dog food. They have a range of varieties and they’re 100% independent and Aussie owned, with up to 97% of ingredients from Australian meat and produce. For more info on Scratch head HERE.