🌟5 Crucial Things We Had to Start Doing When We Got a Puppy
## Learn from my experience and prepare for having a dog.
Author’s cocker spaniel puppy named Charlie. Photo made by the author.
Do you think you’re ready to have a puppy?
If your answer is yes, think again.
Charlie, the cutest red cocker spaniel, is my third puppy. I had a dachshund and a [beagle](https://medium.com/petness/5-things-i-wish-i-knew-before-getting-a-beagle-6823e314ce98) before, so I was confident I was ready. I knew what was coming and I knew how to handle it.
Boy, I was wrong.
Two months ago, my skills and beliefs were put to test when my partner and I got Charlie. While having a puppy is the greatest and purest joy, it is also one of the most difficult things to take on.
Read also: Benefits of dog grooming
In this article, I share my experience of having a puppy and how my life has changed since we got this little ball of fur. After reading this story, you’ll know what to expect and how you can prepare yourself for what’s ahead.
# 5 Things We Had to Start Doing When We Got a Puppy
## #1 Changing our sleeping routine
Since we got a puppy, our sleep routine has been interrupted.
Although puppies sleep around [18–20 hours](https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-much-do-puppies-sleep/) per day, they can’t sleep through the night in the beginning. They might wake up several times per night for a potty break.
If you’re training your puppy to potty outside, you will need to take them (perhaps several times per night). Sometimes they might want to play afterwards if they’re not able to settle for more sleep.
Until Charlie was able to sleep through the night, my partner and I solved it by doing it in shifts — while one of us gets a good night’s sleep, the other one is on puppy duty. It wasn’t a sustainable solution but it allowed us to get our sleep and make sure Charlie got enough breaks.
If you’re planning to have a puppy, be ready for the potty breaks at night and take them into account when planning your sleeping routine if you have a big day ahead.
## #2 Finding time to go outside several times a day
Potty-training a puppy requires regular breaks to take them outside to relieve themselves. They need a potty break after waking up, eating, playing, socializing and interacting with other people and dogs.
This is essentially everything a pup does in a day.
As my partner and I live in an apartment in the city, we potty trained our puppy [indoors](https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/indoor-potty-training-for-puppies/) at first. We still took him outside throughout the day, but having the possibility to do it indoors helped us maintain his potty needs while sticking to our daily work schedule.
If you don’t have a garden in your house, it might be challenging to find the time. Yet, you have to do it anyway. But it doesn’t mean your day must revolve around your puppy, although it will require some adjustments to your puppy’s potty break schedule.
## #3 Adjusting our daily schedule
In addition to potty breaks, a pup also needs playtime, socializing and interacting. We also need to teach them commands and fun tricks, take them to the dog park and training courses (potentially).
A small puppy has a lot of energy which they need to burn. This can be done through proper stimulation — learning and experiencing new things. But it won’t happen if a puppy sits in the crate all day. This way they can easily get bored and end up whining or barking.
Dedicating time to your puppy will keep them stimulated and help them develop into healthy and well-adjusted dogs.
To ensure we provide Charlie with everything he needs, we had to adjust our working schedule. While my partner works in the morning, I take Charlie for a walk and playtime. In the afternoon, we switch, which allows me to catch up on work.
Luckily, working from home makes it possible. It’s easier to work and dedicate time to your puppy if you have someone to help you. Your friend, partner or family member can take a puppy for a walk, so you get the chance to run some errands or keep up with work.
## #4 Being mindful of our plans
When we got a puppy, we had to be cautious about making plans. Whether it’s work or evening plans, a puppy can’t stay alone for long.
Even when they can do it without being stressed, it’s unlikely they can do it for 8 hours straight. Keep it in mind when making plans — even a grocery run can be difficult.
We’ve been training our puppy to stay alone for a while now, but the progress has been slow. His breed tends to develop a strong attachment, so if we have to leave for a few hours, we ask friends or family to help us out.
While this is not a sustainable solution, it can help you get through the training phase, until the pup is ready to stay on its own.
Be ready that you’ll need to dedicate time and effort to [train your puppy to stay home alone](https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/leaving-puppy-alone/). Some puppies are easier than others, but it’s still a lengthy process.
## #5 Asking others for help
Working full-time and raising a puppy can be difficult to combine, especially if you live alone (although still possible).
Working from home allows us to spend most of the time with Charlie, however, we can’t be at home all the time. Besides, a puppy needs to learn to be on his/her own.
When we have to run some errands, have a work meeting or go to a birthday party, we ask family and friends for help. I’m grateful we have a support system that allows us to do it.
If you have a demanding job that requires your presence in the office, you might want to consider finding a dog sitter to help you out.
While taking your puppy to the office might sound like a cute idea, it makes it difficult to focus. In the new environment, your puppy might get overstimulated and excited which often leads to undesirable behaviours.
If you do leave your puppy at home, make sure to check on her/him regularly if you work nearby. Alternatively, you can hire a dog sitter to take your puppy for a walk or ask a friend or a family member to help out.
Read also: How to be a dog person
Having a puppy is not a walk in the park. They make our lives 1000x times better, but they also require a lot of work and effort.
Since we got a puppy, we had to adjust our routines and make time for the dog. Here are the 5 changes you will have to do if you plan to have a dog:
1. Adjusting your sleeping routine to feel rested the next day while your puppy gets enough potty breaks.
2. Making time to go outside with your puppy several times a day to progress with the potty training and establish a routine.
3. Introducing changes to your daily schedule to find time for training, playtime, socializing and interacting with other dogs and people.
4. Reconsidering your social, day and evening plans until your puppy can stay alone for longer periods of time.
5. Asking a friend or hiring professional help to take your dog for a walk if you have to be away or in the office all day.
While having a puppy is difficult, it’s also the most rewarding experience. Proper preparation for having a puppy will help you be the owner a dog needs to open up its full potential and live its best life.
Contributed by Elizaveta Semenova
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