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Puppy Love

By Ashlea Miller, July 29, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Ashlea Miller

When I need a puppy fix, I do one of a few things: I turn to my sweet Terrier Tessie, who, at 9, still acts like a puppy (see those irresistible puppy-dog eyes looking up at you?); I Facebook-stalk my friends’ puppy pics (I just had to share some of them here); or I get lost in the sheer joy of this live puppy cam. Or this one. I consider it prep time for when I adopt my own puppy again someday. And when I do, I’m going to write my furry bundle of joy the following note with all the ways I promise to love her:

I promise to provide you the best of the basics, like fresh water, a comfortable, clean place to sleep, the right food and shelter from the heat, cold and rain.

I know how curious you’ll be, so I promise to puppy-proof my home. I’ll get rid of, or lock up, any toxic plants, poisonous foods, medications, cleaning supplies, insect repellants, electrical cords, open trash cans, and small objects that could cause choking, including jewelry, toys, office supplies and string.

I promise to give you dog-friendly chew toys, like Planet Dog’s Orbee Tuff® Bones for Pups, which promote healthy teeth and reduce the risk that you’ll chomp on my favorite pumps or, worse, something hazardous to your health.

I hate leaving you alone, but when I do, I promise to put you in a puppy-proofed room or a comfortable crate for your safety.

I promise to pet you, and keep petting you, even when I’m petted out. I know how great it feels, and the physical contact will help you trust me more.

I promise not to get frustrated when it seems like you have to pee every five minutes. You do have a tiny bladder, after all. I’ll read up on how to house train you the right way.

You have twice the energy of adult doggies, so I promise to give you food with at least 25 to 30 percent protein in it, and I’ll make sure you’re on a regular feeding schedule. If I’m in doubt about how much food you need, I’ll ask the vet!

I promise to groom you every day. I’ll brush you with a brush that’s perfect for your coat, check your eyes, ears, nails, paws, gums and teeth, and rub your belly. This will make you less nervous when the vet does the same thing.

I promise to give you the occasional treat when you do something extra awesome (but not too many!). And don’t worry: I know which treats are good and bad for your puppy tummy.

I promise to play with you several times a day, and take you on at least one long walk every day, because it’s so important to release that puppy energy.

I promise to socialize you with other puppies and dogs (once everyone’s had their vaccinations). This will keep you active and teach you important doggie social cues.

I promise not to get mad at you for nipping and biting. Here’s what I’ll do instead: If you bite my hand, I’ll let out a high-pitched yelp and let my hand go limp. You’ll think that you hurt me and stop biting. If you don’t, I’m going to do it again and walk away from you. If you stop, however, and lick my hands instead, you’ll get my ultimate praise!

I promise to learn your body language so it’s not such a struggle to communicate.

I promise to coddle you when you’re whining. The safer you feel as a pup, the more independent you’ll be as an adult.

You’re probably not going to like this, but I promise to take you to the vet within the first week of bringing you home. You’ll need your puppy vaccinations, and I’ll need to know about any health problems specific to your breed for the future.

You’re really not going to like this, but I promise to have you spayed (or neutered), sometime after your 8-week birthday. Unfortunately, 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year in the US because of overpopulation, and we don’t want to add to that tragedy. Besides, it can actually make you a happier pup!

I promise to pay attention to any signs that you’re not feeling well, like lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coughing/wheezing, sudden weight gain or loss, swelling, constant crying, pale gums and constipation. If any of these things happens, I’ll call the vet right away.

If I’m not doing a good enough job raising you, I promise to get help. I’ll call the vet or find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) who can lead me on the right path.

I promise to never, ever hit, slap, shake or scare you, grab your scruff or rub your nose in your waste. This will only make you afraid of me and actually encourage aggressive behavior. I love you way too much to do that.

My list could go on, but what about you? How do you show love for your furry little friend?

Category: Pets

 

19 Comments

Comments

Ana says ...
This is a wonderful reminder and tutorial for me and other future dog parents like myself how to treat a beloved pet. Thank you.
08/01/2012 1:56:26 AM CDT
susan says ...
Awesome! I have a German Shorthair Pointer and the third pic from the bottom is just like him as a pup! I give him lots of love. I created a routine with him for when i get home because he's just so excited and barks and jumps all over. So i tell him *wait* andi put my things down and then i tell him *couch* and he jumps on the couch, i sit down and i taught him to sit in my lap facing me, putting his paws on my shoulders and he gives me kisses =)
07/29/2012 11:16:06 AM CDT
Diana says ...
That is exactly what I did with my two cats. They are very social and like people.....
07/31/2012 12:39:23 PM CDT
Donna says ...
Love this promise animal blog to your pet. I have a small little dog and an older cat and some of the things I like to do with them is every evening when the weather is nice, my husband and I sit out on the back deck with them and enjoy the weather - we have a very large acreage and they love listening to all the animals and the watching the hummingbirds feed at the feeders - it's like a whole new world for them out there and it gets them outdoors and observing, even more than when I do the routine dog walking! It's popular with our neighbor's dog too and he often stops by (he seems to know when we go outdoors) and sits with us. Remember we do live in a pretty rural area so its not unheard of to see other dogs around town. Its a fun treat for our animals but an even better experience for my husband and I to spend some quality relaxing time with our pets at the end of the day.
08/01/2012 4:02:43 PM CDT
Livnxxl says ...
A proper protein ratio for a dog is 75% protein and 25% carbs. should never contain any kind of grain
08/01/2012 3:59:09 PM CDT
Tom Steele says ...
What an excellent list of do's and don't's, Andrea! Everyone needs to realize the responsibilities involved in adopting a puppy. But no one can overestimate the joys, as far as I'm concerned. And by the time they're 2 years old, most of them calm right down.
08/01/2012 4:46:44 PM CDT
Connie says ...
I saw this the other day, and think it very appropriate. http://coloradogreatpyreneesrescue.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-am-forever-dog-not-until-dog.html
08/01/2012 4:58:35 PM CDT
Sharon Zeiler says ...
Ruby is SO cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
08/01/2012 5:29:30 PM CDT
Barbara says ...
I take Cinnamon (golden retriever) for lots of walks and she has a playpen to stay during to keep her safe. Cinnamon and I walk everyday as she cannot wait to get out the door. I like all of your Puppy Love promises. I read many books and searched high and low on the Internet for training tips. I also treat Cinnamon to the many doggie day camps in my city. My life is so rich with beautiful Cinnamon. I am comforted while rubbing her tummy. She yawns really loud which is so funny!
08/01/2012 7:36:41 PM CDT
Bobbi says ...
What a great list! We got a puppy four weeks ago and he's such a joy :) We've been watching Dog Whisperer and I must say that Cesar hasn't steered us wrong yet. We're going to put in a puppy obstacle course in a fenced in area in our front yard so my son has a fun place to play hide and seek with treats. :D
08/01/2012 9:28:51 PM CDT
Christine says ...
This is a wonderful article! Especially for little dogs, they are so sensitive and its crucial to have lots of patience and gentle discipline. It took 3 years to completely train my tiny papillon/chihuahua. I see so many chihuahuas on the shelters website and I imagine people don't understand how to train them properly. Thank you, I'm definitely going to share this article ;-)
08/02/2012 7:17:33 AM CDT
Jenn Merritt, CPDT-KA, TTouch Practitioner says ...
As a professional dog trainer and Tellington TTouch Practitioner, I am truly impressed with your list. I only wish that every new puppy/dog owner would understand their commitment/responsibility and make these promises. The one big promise that I would add is to use only reward based training methods and training equipment. I advise my clients to avoid/discontinue the use of choke, prong, shock collars and any training method that inflicts physical corrections/pain/force/fear including shock/fence systems. Choosing a rewarding approach that involves the whole family including children builds trust and cooperation with your canine family member. I would also add that early socialization of puppies and vaccinations should go hand in hand. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists recommends that puppies start attending reward based group puppy classes once they have had one set of vaccinations and deworming, as early as 8 weeks of age. Their guidelines can be found here: www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/.../puppy%20socialization.pdf
08/02/2012 7:27:42 AM CDT
Teresa Matsui Sanders says ...
Great article, and, yes, Tessie has wonderful soulful eyes. For years, we've bought ground turkey at Whole Foods to cook and add to our dogs' suppers. Now, I'm buying a whole chicken and cooking it in the crock pot so our dog can have a bit of pulled chicken each night. Indulgent, maybe, but our dog thinks it's a necessity!
08/02/2012 9:19:17 AM CDT
James Doorey says ...
Thanks, that was great, I can only hope that everyone that gets a pet will love them the way that you do. Thanks again.
08/02/2012 10:09:08 AM CDT
Jennie R. says ...
This is a great article! I work at a no-kill dog shelter, and this should be required reading for anyone adopting a puppy! Thank you for publishing this!
08/02/2012 11:41:41 PM CDT
Jan says ...
Enjoyed reading this article and all the pups are so cute. I am a canine volunteer at RCHS, Encinitas...that's where I get my doggie fix.
08/03/2012 12:56:43 AM CDT
Rachael Ross says ...
Wonderful post for our cute little furry friends :) Some good reminders for puppy parents.
08/05/2012 5:47:40 PM CDT
andrea says ...
Dogs rule! We adopted one about four months ago and she is going great. A lot of people think crating is cruel but dogs actually like it because they are den creatures and need a place of their own to feel safe. During the day, when we're home, she sleeps on the floor or the couch or in the sun on our balcony. You will be surprised how often you are out on walks-- I've cut back on the gym because we're getting such a work out!
08/06/2012 9:32:58 AM CDT
jen says ...
Great suggestions - just wondering about the coddling promise. From what I understand, coddling a dog when they are frightened does not make them feel safer, it lets them know that feeling nervous/scared/frightened is an okay feeling. ie: a dog trembling at a thunderstorm needs to feel safe. Having his human tell him "it's okay" and reassure him it's telling him that he will be okay, the dog does not understand this. he understands only that it is okay to feel the anxious feelings. It ends up reinforcing the behavior. When a dog is uncertain, you want to encourage them to face the fear (ie: thunderstorms) and do fun/confidence building activites when they are nervious/unsure. Coddling only strengthens the feeling.
08/07/2012 11:41:28 AM CDT