10 Things I Have Learned Being A Dog Dad

If you have not yet read my post The Journey of Finding Finn, go ahead and get caught up on my life! As you can see, I have recently made an addition to my family! I adopted a dog.

I grew up with dogs all my life. Starting at the puppy stage all the way to smelly, old, and blind. In hindsight, I never owned a dog all by myself. Where my parents were the primary caregivers of the pups, I was always a secondary to the dogs and did not make it my sole priority.

For the first time ever, I was the only one a dog had to rely on as a parent, friend, and teacher. I knew that it would be very different raising a puppy by myself, but I never imagined it being quite like this…

I have a great support system of friends and family that love Finn which makes life 100x easier. It isn’t too difficult to convince someone to watch a very cute puppy for a few hours or over night. Having people to help and be on your dog raising team is the best gift I could ask for; So before I continue with this post, if you have helped me in raising Finn thus far, thank you deeply.

#1 They can do DNA testing on pups

This goes first because, in my opinion, it is the most important and the most interesting. Just like humans, dogs too can have genetic mutations from their parents, grandparents, and so on. This can lead to disease and illness that could have been prevented if it was known of sooner. Some breeds of dogs have a higher risk of having medical issues. Check out the website Wisdom Panel to get more information on whether or not DNA testing your pup is something you might want to consider.

The first week I got Finnegan I brought him to the vet just like any other dog daddy would. The Banfield Pet Hospital has a program where you pay a monthly fee to receive all the necessary treatments and vaccinations all puppies should get. On top of all the shots, check-ups, and neutering, there is an included DNA test. Once the blood sample is collected it is sent out to labs to be examined and you receive the results in about two weeks. The results can show any sort of gene mutation the animal may carry and the physical features the animal most likely has.

The examination showed that through a blood sample random people across the country could tell me what color eyes, hair, skin tone, height, and weight will be of Finn. The things that scientists could tell me just from a blood sample was incredible. I am lucky enough to now know that Finn will not have any medical conditions solely based off his DNA. I am a very fortunate owner of a beloved dog knowing that I will not have to take precautions because of a gene he carries. This doesn’t mean that Finn will not attain a medical condition, it just means his family line is healthy!

#2 Potty Time

Teaching a dog to go to the bathroom outside is not as easy as it seems. Before I picked up Finn to bring him to his new home, he lived in a garage inside a kennel with his siblings. This meant that Finn was allowed to urinate and defecate wherever he pleased. Now that Finn was at his new home, he assumed that he could continue the trend and go to the bathroom inside my house. Absolutely not. Not only did Finn pee and poop inside for three weeks, but he wouldn’t even attempt to try to go outside. In his mind, the outdoors were for walks. There is a BIG difference between going for walks and going outside to use the bathroom.

It makes a difference training your dog to make him or her know when they are outside to use the bathroom and when they are outside to go for a walk. The tactic I used was a release leash; a leash that you can make longer and shorter by the click of a button. When it was time to use the bathroom the leash would become longer allowing him to roam and be comfortable. If the leash was shortened Finn learned that he was meant to stay close by to me and walk.

It is important to note that puppies do not learn to pee outside overnight especially when they are used to living in a kennel. I would bring Finn outside every ten minutes for forty minutes at a time… and nothing. They also don’t pee all at once in one sitting. For my special guy, he pees three or four times all over the lawn. We clearly have territory issues. Puppies tend to be really thirsty all the time; you wanna know that means? Water then pee then water then pee then water again. It’s a never ending cycle.

#3 Constant Attention

Just when you think your dog child is growing up and you can let them play on the floor while you blog, you are so wrong. It has been five weeks since having your puppy and he seems to be doing well under your supervision. DO NOT LET THEM FOOL YOU. Know they are smart and they are playing tricks. Next thing you know puppy is peeing in the corner, ripping apart your favorite jeans, pooping on your bathroom floor, drinking toilet water, ripping the carpet to shreds… It takes 21 days to break a habit. Give leeway to your puppy in intervals of five minutes after that 21 day mark because day 22 could surprise you.

If you are oh so lucky like me (sense that sarcasm), you puppy will have an obsession and neediness with you. Even if I did trust him, which I am starting to, he will not leave my side no matter what I do. I know, it sounds cute, but it is exhausting. In order to do something as simple as blogging Finn either needs to be in the crate or distracted by other people, toys, or treats.

#4 Everything is a Chew Toy

Just like the note above, you can see that puppies are destroying machines. Turn away for .5 seconds and whatever is in sight is diminished. Here is just a small list of things that Finn has chewed, ripped, ate, and destroyed:

  • Comforter
  • Crate Bed
  • Crate Pad
  • Potty Training Pads
  • Phone Chargers
  • Other Electrical Cords
  • Shoes
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Jeans
  • Carpet
  • Toilet Paper
  • Shower Curtain

I really could not tell you how this dogs stomach is still intact. Just know that whenever an animal destroys items of yours it is most likely that they want attention. Do not get mad at them! It is really your fault for not putting your things away where they should go!

#5 Zoom, Zoom, Zoomies

There is this crazy burst of energy that Finn gets out of no where. It usually happens right after he wakes up, finishes digesting food, or during playtime. I have figured out a term for it called the “zoomies.” The zoomies can be very destructive which includes breaking things, knocking over items, pushing stuff off tables, and messing up entire rooms. Directly after a zoomies session puppy passes out and falls asleep instantly and out of nowhere. Guess what happens after the very short nap… zoomies round two, ding ding.

#6 Nap Time All The Time

I think that a lot of people forget that puppies are like babies. They grow so quick we expect them to be more mature and smart. In reality, puppies sleep nonstop for months. Finn sleeps so much that we have to wake him up in the morning, during the day, and at night to go out one last time. When we wake him he can’t even sit up or stand because he is so drowsy. I call this “DPS” or “drunk puppy syndrome”. It is actually really cute when you have to lift your 30 pound puppy to go to the bathroom and drag him off the bed.

Finn gets really hot when he sleeps to the point where the white spots on his nose turn red. I asked the vet about this in concern and he assured me it is totally normal. Finnegan is also an extremely heavy sleeper. He sleeps so hard that he stops breathing sometimes which encourages me to wake him up. Sometimes I get worried when I put him the crate that he will stop breathing and I won’t be there to wake him. Yes, the fear is irrational, but wtf breathe bro.

#7 Walking on a Leash

The concept of walking on a leash is not easy to come by in dog land. For the first week Finnegan did not understand why this blue rope was following him every time he went outside. You see, before I got Finn he never had been on a leash. The only item that had ever been on him was a skinny red collar that he never saw because it was around hid neck. About a week and a half to two weeks is when Finn finally understood that this was his new norm.

#8 The crate is not a fan favorite

I was actually against crate training until it was necessary. I never understood that having a crate would make life easier; running errands, going to work, and sleeping. For a while the crate was not a fan favorite of Finn’s, especially after he ate his first bed. Finn is now a crate trained dog and likes it. It is nearly impossible to potty train a dog without a crate. The second Finn came out of the crate he would go right outside and go to the bathroom. After repeating this trend a multitude of times he became potty trained. I still don’t trust Finn having a bed in his crate due to his chewing and eating habits. For now, all he is gets is a single towel. If he messes it up I hope he knows it is all he gets.

#9 Don’t Buy Your Dog Too Many Toys

So, I was really excited to have a dog. I bought a lot of toys for him. This ended up biting me in the ass. Finn is really indecisive and doesn’t ever know what toy he wants to play with. He will pull every toy out of the wooden toy crate and put them in random places in the room. Once he decides on the toy he wants to play with he will throw it around until he reaches another toy (about 30 seconds). From here, he will play with the new toy until he finds another. This pattern will go on for two hours until he realizes that there are other things to chew on, i.e. my shoes and clothes. The room and house end up being a complete mess that dad then has to clean.

In the eyes of puppy, anything and everything is a toy. This even moves into his own body. They will chew on their feet, legs, tail, genital area, and ears. At least the toy game is consistent.

#10 What Not To Do

There are some things that I have learned through research and word of mouth that you should not do with your puppy. Some things will forever scar them and they will turn into big doggy-monsters. Here are some of those things:

  • Do not give your dog grain-free food unless it is recommended by your vet.
  • Do not let your dogs swim in stagnant water such as ponds and lakes. They carry loads of bacteria and will have you in a clinic the next morning.
  • Reconsider the Pup-cups and Puppuccinos you are giving your dogs. They are not great for dogs. They are OK to give your dog every once in a while as a treat, but it should not be a regular thing during you daily morning commute. Think about the way humans process dairy… we feel like shit after eating or drinking any form of it. Now imagine a foreign substance like whipped cream entering your animals intestines; That can’t feel good.
  • Do not keep your dogs away from socializing. Dogs need and can benefit from social interaction of all types. Dogs are social animals and not letting them interact will keep them from being normal when they do need to interact. You should encourage your dog to interact with other dogs, other animals, adults, and children at a minimum.
  • Yelling at your dog does not work, but neither does physical reprimanding.
  • Don’t lose your shit when they do something naughty! You have a baby. They will figure it out, but it is up to you to show them the right way.

What should you do? Love you pup unconditionally and teach that baby to be the best dog it can be! This animal is relying on you to be its best friend, parent, and teacher; Don’t let them down!

Raising a puppy is no easy task I have found out. It calls for patience, persistence, and perseverance. The day will come when you puppy finally gets it and you won’t even notice. It is almost like they understand how to be normal overnight where they do not need your constant attention or to be watched with their every move. Then suddenly, you miss them being a puppy.

Enjoy the young, reckless, and restless years of your little bundle of joy! Before you know it they will be all grown up and on their way to college…

Special thank to Jimmy the Bull on giphy.com for these awesome graphics! You can find him on Instagram @rafaelmantesso

//Probably Rob

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