I’ve had pet dogs my whole life, but I’ve never experienced a puppy at an age where I was old enough to actually remember. Recently, my dad came home with a black lab puppy named Bentley and we became his forever home. Here are ten things that I learned very quickly about getting/owning a puppy.
1. They’re more work than you think.
Let’s start off with the most obvious. Everyone is going to tell you that they are a lot more work than you could ever think they would be, and the thing is, they’re right. In fact, they’re more work than you could believe. I knew my little Bentley was going to be a handful, but it really blew me away how much of a handful.
2. They bite and chew.
This one is pretty obvious, too, but most people tend to focus on the chewing part, and don’t get me wrong, they’re right, your puppy is going to chew everything it can get it’s teeth on. However, some people tend to forget to mention that not only do they chew everything, they bite. My dad told me that Bentley was going to bite me if he got excited, not to hurt me, but to play. When we started playing together, the biting started almost immediately, and his teeth are sharp. I’m going to come out of our relationship with bite marks on my hands. When they start to bite, it’s easy to say no and give them a chew toy to replace whatever they are nibbling on, but make sure that while you’re giving them a toy, they know that it’s because biting hurts you. Saying “ow” or “ouch” loudly every time even if it doesn’t hurt can be embarrassing, but it helps them learn that what they are doing hurts people.
3. They won’t listen to you, and they’ll do it on purpose.
Sometimes your puppy is just going to straight up not listen to you. The reasoning behind this is different for every dog, but usually it’s rebellion. If they don’t like what you are doing, they may stop listening to you. It can get extremely frustrating to keep repeating yourself to a rebellious puppy, but just keep trying, eventually your puppy has to listen to you.
4. They need constant attention.
This is another given, but my Bentley needs more attention than I thought he would. If I get up to use the washroom, he follows my feet every step and comes in with me. If I don’t let him in, he whines. If I’m sitting on the couch watching Netflix, he jumps up and starts to play just so that he can have my attention. If I’m not looking at him, he will deliberately do something bad so I will pay attention to him. If he’s either not the only thing I’m looking at or he’s not sitting in my lap/cuddled up beside me, he wants my attention. I just have to play with him to tire him out, and then he will come cuddle with me on the couch. But sometimes playing results in getting too excited and he may start biting, barking, jumping, or running around. It’s important to learn what kind of attention and playing he likes and what playing won’t get him carried away.
5. They pee a lot.
I take my puppy out every hour, and sometimes more. Sometimes he just runs around in the snow, and sometimes he goes out and does his business and then he’s back inside in a couple of seconds. However, their bladder is already full again only a couple of minutes after going outside. If Bentley is left alone he will pee inside of the house to show you that he is upset and to make you stay, and even if he was just outside and did his business, he still manages to conjure up enough to go again inside on the floor.
6. They will eat anything and everything.
Bentley loves to eat leaves, paper, garbage, stuffed animals, all food, pillows, any small item, and anything he can get his teeth on. The problem is, sometimes he eats things that mean a lot to someone in the house, and also a lot of things in my house could harm him. I have to pay constant attention to him to make sure he doesn’t eat something toxic.
7. You can’t let the puppy get away with anything bad.
One time my brother came to meet Bentley, and everyone in my house wears slippers, and my brother and his wife both have a pair at my house for when they come over. He walked in, and while playing with Bentley, who loves him, Bentley took his slipper and my brother let him, and he made a game out of it. After he left, Bentley started chewing every slipper he could find, and there are lots. He started to believe that slippers were toys. We let Bentley get away with something that we usually wouldn’t in the name of play time and just being cute, however he learned that it is okay to chew slippers, and didn’t understand why we said “no” when he had them, and got anxious when we took the slippers away. He didn’t know what he is doing wrong. Eventually, he learned that slippers are not a toy, but it was still hard to teach him that.
8. Things will move along slower than you want them to.
All these things that I’ve mentioned already, eating things, chewing, biting, attention, playing, peeing a lot, rebellion, and lots and lots of hard work, these things all last for a very long time, and after doing some research, for a black lab it lasts around a year. Training a puppy can take a very long time, and they may not learn how to sit, they may not know the meaning of “no”, and they may not really learn much for a while. Things will move along slowly, and sometimes it may feel like forever Things take time with puppies, remember, they are just babies.
9. You’re going to get annoyed.
Very annoyed. When he bites you and won’t stop. When he gets carried away. When he plays a lot. When he wants to go outside every 20 minutes. When he jumps on your lap while your eating. When he coughs up paper. When he just won’t calm down. It’s a lot to handle, and takes a great deal of patience. There have been points where I’ve thought “can you just stop already!?” and he hasn’t. But I know he is just a puppy and doesn’t know better.
10. You may not want him anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Bentley and I still want the little guy, but I can see why some people get a puppy and give it away after two weeks. They’re a hassle and it seems to never stop. And then you think “this is going to last a year before this phase is over” and sometimes you feel like you’ve made a mistake. A puppy is a lot of work, and I’ve wanted a puppy for a year and I knew what I was getting into, but it’s so different to actually experience it.
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I love my little Bentley, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s beautiful and I could never have asked for a better pooch. But in the future, I may refrain from getting a puppy and maybe get a dog that’s already a year or two old. That way you know their personality, they’re trained, and they’re done their puppy phase. If you’re thinking “well I need a puppy, not a dog“, then you’re not ready. You’re getting a puppy because it’s cute, not because you want a dog. If you’re not ready to put every ounce of energy you have into a puppy, you’re not ready to have one. Yes, puppies are cuter and more fun and playful, but that phase finishes, and honestly it’s not even the best part. The best part is when they grow up and cuddle, and they can be with other dogs, and you can take them places, and play with them without worrying about puppy teeth marks. Don’t get me wrong, puppies are great, adorable, cute, and fun, but I believe dogs are where it’s at.
Hopefully these ten things are making you really think and reconsider buying a puppy and potentially giving it away after a couple of weeks. Puppies are great, but if you’re not ready, you should wait.