Bowie is my first pet dog. I’ve always wanted to have dogs, so finally after many months of research, we decided to get a puppy.
My husband had dogs growing up but nothing prepared us (especially me) from the onslaught of raising a puppy. Many people I talked about getting a puppy (and they do have dogs themselves) didn’t warn or mention anything about the hard yards of raising a puppy. Even on my research online, they failed to paint the ‘real’ picture. Perhaps because it was so intense and happening so fast that it all became a blur and distant memory. Or perhaps they just didn’t want to admit that sometimes they felt like strangling their pooch and cried at the same time. Let me say this to you honestly as first-time pup parent, raising a pup was tough, physically and mentally, and it took a special commitment and a good solid support system to make it. It is true – it takes a village to raise a puppy.
Many puppies end up in shelters because the owners can’t look after them. Most of them also have behavioural issues because of neglect and lack of training. It angers me when people give the puppies away when they’re not cute anymore or when they become too hard and don’t fit their lifestyles. Having puppies are certainly not for the faint-hearted.
We hardly have any photos of Bowie as a puppy. I think we’re just too busy dealing with his needs, training him and adjusting our life really!
There were times when it just got too much and I didn’t think I could do it. I thought having a puppy was meant to be a joyful thing, but why I often felt overwhelmed, depressed and out of control.
How could that angelic looking face whom I loved and cared 24/7 suddenly scratch and bite me? What did I do wrong when Bowie completely ignored me? What was I doing checking the pet camera every 5 minutes? Why did I always think of the worst, like he’s going to die, every time he’s not feeling well? At times I didn’t think I could make it, but I had a great support system, and here I am now loving every single moment with Bowie.
Your puppy problems are not out of the ordinary and you’re not the only one.
Find a trusted dog forum and post your puppy problems. People in there are genuine dog lovers and they’re more than happy to share tips and offer support. Most of them have gone through similar thing with their dogs, and they’d be able to assure you that it’s normal and it’d pass.
Talk to a dog trainer and work on a plan. I’m a great believer in dog training and it’s definitely helped us and Bowie to co-exist happily and bond. Keep in mind though that dog training doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of time, patience and humour. There are so many dog trainers out there. Find the one that you feel comfortable with and your pup responds well to.
While training may work in some dogs, other cases may require both medication and training. Consult with your vet to eliminate any medical issues that might cause your dog’s behavioural problems.
Stay away from Google and use common sense
When you type any dog symptoms on Google, you can find pretty much everything, from helpful tips to horrible stories, which won’t help when you’re self diagnosing and already worried about your pooch. Stop reading those stories, select information from credible sources and use your common sense – in my case, it’s my husband.
Vets are not Gods
I can’t remember how many times vets delivered us bad news and worst case scenarios. Just because they are professionals in their field, doesn’t mean you have to accept what they say as ‘gospel’. Sometimes they don’t know everything. Do your own research, educate yourself and get second opinion if needed. Find a genuine vet who has your pet’s best interests at heart, and specialises in what your dog needs.
It’s ok to make mistakes
Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect, and so is your pup.
It’ll get better
… in time. Bowie has settled down a lot as he matures, and as our bond gets stronger through time, we’ve learnt to compromise and co-exist happily.
Remove yourself when it gets too overwhelming and ask for help. Best of luck and lots of love and patience!
This post is dedicated to my husband. Thank you for being a pillar of strength at times needed!