You’ve heard the expression sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the hydrant. I have spent the past three weeks trying to housebreak a puppy. Meet Casey the newest addition to our clan. The housebreaking is going relatively well because I got her from a breeder who began to train her with a bell. But I’d be as “crooked as a dog’s hind leg” if I didn’t admit that I’m finding having an energetic puppy tough. I had more pep in my step when I got my first dog back in 1996. She was a Scottie named Belle who died of cancer after 13 years. I loved her like a child and needed time to grieve. I bought that dog on an impulse in a pet store and wanted to plan ahead better this time. I found this new dog after spending months researching breeds. I even read a book by dog expert Cesar Millan on How To Raise The Perfect Dog. I found his advice on how to be a “pack leader” helpful. You can watch videos of him on National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer reality series. I think picking the right breed is key. The American Kennel Club publishes a list of the most popular dog breeds in America. The family-friendly Labrador Retriever has just topped the list for the 26th year in a row.
I personally like small dogs. I picked the mini Goldendoodle – a hybrid of two purebred breeds – Golden Retriever and Poodle. Goldendoodles are known to be good with kids and hardly shed. The popularity of this dog is obvious on my cul-de-sac where four homes have one. Casey even has a mini pupper playmate the same age one door down who is a Goldendoodle. My only bone to pick is that Casey is a digger.
When I unexpectedly bought my first dog I was looking in a pet shop during a school vacation with my kids. I highly advise against looking in a pet store with your kids unless you want to come home with a pet. The kids begged me saying, “Pretty please,” and I buckled. It’s also how I ended up with two hamsters and a fish. The pet store was eventually cited for serious violations. After the store closed, a pet rescue told me that the owner bought dogs from puppy mills and that they were left in cages. It took me over a year to get the dog housebroken and calm. My vet says rescue dogs can be hard to train too.
He says to only take a stray from rescues that foster first so that you know the dog can get along in a family. Even with a breeder, the puppies are young and take work. I’m completely exhausted getting up before the crack of dawn. So if you’re dreaming of getting a dog, get some rest now. It’s amazing how good six hours of sleep look when you’re only getting three taking the pupper out for potty breaks. They say doggos are the new cats and run the internet now, so maybe it’s time to buy a litter box and call it a night.