If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you know it’s no secret that Billy and I are utterly obsessed with our puppy, Jade.
She’s sweet, spunky, quirky and has so much love in her to give. But, getting our first dog of our own was definitely a wake up call. What you see on Instagram doesn’t tell the full picture and I wanted to write this blog post to give a real into the realities of owning your very own puppy for the first time.
Expect for this blog post to be very blunt and not sugar coated. I think it’s so important for people to understand what they’re getting into before they make a 10+ year commitment to an animal. Because the truth of the matter is, a puppy turns into an adult dog. Sure getting a little fluffy friend is cute and all – but are you ready to make a commitment to that animal until they’re old and grey?
Reality #1: The Time Commitment.
Your schedule and routines are going to change drastically. You can’t go anywhere without first letting the puppy out, and you can’t return without having to take the puppy out immediately.
If you live in an apartment, or don’t have a backyard – it becomes even more difficult. You are now caring for a living, breathing being that 100% depends on you.
The biggest pain in the ass that we experienced (I told you I was going to be blunt) is potty training in an apartment. I mean, potty training in general is stressful.
For the first 4 weeks, I set an alarm for 2 AM and woke up to let Jade out in the middle of the night to go potty. Mind you, we live in an apartment so it’s not like I could just open the back door and let her run outside really quick. I had to wake up, put her leash on, grab my shoes, get to the elevator, walk to the exit doors and take her outside to potty.
I’m so grateful that she’s extremely smart and is 90% house trained and is already out of her crate during the day. However, the first 4 weeks of waking up at 2 AM every morning really messed with my sleep schedule.
You can’t just up and go. If your puppy is 8-10 weeks old like Jade was when we first got her, you can really only be gone for 1-2 hours max. So, you have to plan your outings accordingly and ensure that you or someone will be home to let the puppy outside.
When you’re traveling, you have to make specific arrangements for someone that you trust to care for the dog. Basically, owning a dog is like training wheels for having a baby.
This is Jade’s schedule:
- 5 AM: Wake up, outside to potty, inside for breakfast.
- 7 AM: Outside to potty again, long walk, romping at the dog park
- 9 AM: Outside to potty before mom and dad go to work
- 12 PM: Lunch break, outside to potty, training and lunch
- 5 PM: Outside to potty, inside for dinner and training
- 5:30 PM: Long walk or dog park
- 10 PM: Last potty break, inside for bed
Reality #2: The Responsibility Of Raising A Dog
Before getting a dog, Billy and I debated it for over a year doing tons and tons of research, weighing the pros and cons. Honestly discussing the life change it would cause, and how it will tie us down and limit freedom. Which it has.
Additionally, even if you’re rescuing a mixed breed like we did, it’s extremely important to understand the breeds that he or she may be mixed with.
While each dog’s individual temperament varies, understanding the requirements that your dog will most likely demand is important.
For instance, if you’re looking to just have a sidekick who will curl up on the couch with you, then you may want to opt for a smaller dog who doesn’t need as much exercise or entertainment like a frenchie.
If you aren’t interested in training and teaching your dog much other than sit or stay… then a border collie most likely isn’t for you.
It’s your responsibility to be a responsible dog owner.
After doing SO much research for over a year, I knew that we absolutely had to train and socialize Jade. Billy grew up with Doberman’s and we knew that we wanted a larger dog but couldn’t rescue a full-bred Dobie because of certain restrictions on living in apartments (which is complete bullshit by the way ?).
Anyways, Doberman’s are one of the smartest dogs in the world, so we knew that we absolutely had to properly train and socialize Jade. Luckily for us, there are two dog parks at our apartment complex and she’s already made so many doggie friends. She’s also been exposed to tons of people, sounds, noises, etc by the constant buzzing of living in an apartment complex.
BUT, you aren’t just caring for your dog in terms of feeding it and taking it for walks. You’re ensuring that you’re properly training and socializing your puppy to the sights and sounds of life.
Dogs love routine, boundaries and to know what they are expected of and what they can expect of you. Before getting a puppy, it’s essential to understand that puppies require A LOT of devotion and training to help shape and mold them into amazing adult dogs!
P.S: Training is so rewarding – it helps you form a quicker and tighter bond with your new puppy.
Reality #3: The Cost ($).
If you cannot financially afford to provide a quality life for your dog. Don’t do it.
What do I mean by this?
Thousands of dogs are turned into shelters a year because their owners could no longer afford to take care of their pets. I understand that certain life circumstances come up and financial situations can change.
I’m more-so saying this for the person who is thinking about getting a dog, but hasn’t yet considered how much it actually costs.
So, here’s the price breakdown in my experience so far.
- Adoption Fee: $425
- Initial Supplies (crate, food, bowls, beds, leashes, collars, toys, treats, etc): $400+
- First Puppy Vet Visit: $250
- Second Vet Visit + Vaccines, Deworming, etc: $180
- Third Vet Visit + Vaccines, Deworming, Stool testing: $200
- Fourth Vet Visit + Vaccines, Deworming: $180
- Pet Insurance: $50/month
- Random and Unnecessary Yet Totally Worth It Pet Supplies like sweaters, extra toys, extra beds, boujee treats, etc: $400+
- Food: $58/month
Thankfully, Jade came spayed and up to date on vaccines.
However, there are tons of vaccines that she had to get afterwards as all puppys do. Each time you bring your puppy in (which is likely every two weeks for the first few months until they get all of their shots), you pay for a vet visit as well as the vaccines.
Reality #4: The “Puppy” Blues.
This is, OH SO REAL.
The first few days you get a puppy are a complete whirlwind.
You’ve just brought home this little tiny baby who is still unsure of you, your home and the world in general. Think about it, most puppys have only been on the planet for 8-12 weeks! Everything is new, scary and this is the first time they’ve been away from their littermates or furry foster friends.
By this time, your puppy has (probably) peed on every single rug in your home, cried and whined throughout the night and doesn’t know how to walk on a leash.
There are SO many forums and Facebook groups that talk about the “puppy blues”. It’s literally a state of, “omg I thought this was going to be amazing, but my puppy is scared of me and is ruining my house not to mention I’m constantly stressed out.”
Can you relate?
It’s all NORMAL!
For us, this lasted about a solid week.
Sure, I was in-love with Jade but I also sort of was shellshocked that my entire life and routine was just shaken up.
So, if you just got a puppy or are thinking about getting one, know that “puppy blues” are so real, it’s normal and it goes away. Soon you will be back into your routine and you will form such a strong love and bond with your new baby! I mean, Jade is literally laying on my forearm as I’m typing this. There’s no better feeling!
I hope that this blog post was helpful and if you have any other questions about getting your very own puppy for the first time as an adult, DM me on Instagram!