As of this New Year's Eve, I have succumbed to the urgings of my family and have adopted a puppy from an adoption rescue organization. My almost 5-month old puppy is named Holly and she is a German Shorthaired Pointer mix. She is 17 pounds right now, but is expected to grow up to 45-60 pounds as an adult.
I have survived the first week as a newly-minted dog owner. It is certainly not easy. Like the arrival of a brand-new baby, owning a dog requires a lot of patience, knowledge, energy, and work. My initially-shy Holly has cozied up very nicely with the family and is running around her new home getting into things that she's not supposed to.
I feel like I'm in Basic Training again. Instead of being force-fed soldiering skills, I am learning dog-rearing skills at a faster-than-comfortable pace and especially learning through trial and error. Examples of some of my hard-earned lesssons are:
- Keeping the dog on a consistent walking schedule. I didn't realize puppies could pee and poo so much.
- Assuming the role of Alpha Dog. Daily practice while walking the dog is key. I hate to do this, but I have to keep the dog in check with the leash as we walk. I hear it gets worse in 2 years (equivalent to 16 human years).
- Chewing on the kids' toys. Dogs don't know the difference between their chew toys and the kids' toys.
- Wanting to run. Holly is almost 5 months old. She is still a puppy. I got to find a dog park or place here in Westfield that will allow her to vent her ever growing energy.
- Expecting behavioral issues if I don't practice all the skills above. I've been reading up on this. Seems like the crucial stage is within a year from now. How do I maintain Alpha Dog status, work, take care of family, and keep up with my energetic puppy when she becomes an adolescent.
I welcome all comments and suggestions. Hopefully, this well help other reluctant dog owners such as myself who have come into this major responsibility.