Are you planning to get yourself a puppy in 2021? Perfect! Because you’ll need all the advice you can get before taking on such a responsibility. Much like any other purchase or product, getting a puppy isn’t just about plopping down some cash and taking it home. It takes research, preparation, and consideration.
#Puppyblues IS true. I know this sounds crazy but I cried the first weekend when I brought Oolong back from all the stress. My husband was very concerned about my mental health because I was looking visibly stress and couldn’t sleep well at all.
It’s been around a month since Oolong is with us – so let’s break it down week by week on what you should expect when you bring home that bundle of joy… or poop machine 💩
Week 01: The calm before the storm
The first night Oolong came to our house — to be fair to him, he didn’t give us as much issue as his siblings since he wasn’t too “homesick”. In a way, he is a pretty confident and independent kid who can be bounced around different homes and sleeps through the night.
Issues you might face with your puppy for the first 1-2 weeks
- Whining / crying through the entire night
- Waking up every 2 hours to pee/poop
- Sleeping on the floor with him/her
These are all actual anecdote we hear from other pet owners around us.
It is very important to note that puppies should stay with their mum until they are AT LEAST 8 WEEKS OLD. Oolong is approx. 3 months old before he left his litter.
I can’t emphasize this enough – this is SO SO SO SO IMPORTANT and I only realize it after getting Oolong! When a puppy is 5 – 8 weeks old, they get feedback from their siblings on bites/mouthing because the other pups will yelp when it’s too hard — this helps the puppy to understand when a bite is too painful and is not pleasant for the recipient.
DON’T WORRY – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
During Oolong’s first week, I was so overwhelmed that I cried. I stay with my parents and my mum can be very iffy about cleanliness around the house so it added on to the stress. Not helpful that I like to sleep in on weekends and with a dog around, that’s gone.
WEEK O2: The REAL shit starts
Literally. Oolong IS pee pad trained and for the first 2 weeks, there were no potty accidents at all (he sleeps with us in the room). Well guess what, he decided that it’s not going to be that case anymore! 😀
It might also be because he had his last jab and wasn’t feeling too good.
So yes, potty training is going to take a while. I was literally on my knees (PG13 please!) 80% of the time, cleaning up after him. I’ve read online to ignore and not to chide him but seriously, I’m not Guan Yin Ma okay. So the morning this happened, I was really livid and gave Oolong a good “beating” and by beating, I meant rolled up newspaper hitting the floor.
General rule of thumb for potty training
- 2 months old puppy can hold their bladder for 2 hours
- 3 months old puppy can hold their bladder for 3 hours
It will be helpful to keep a poop journal (yes, motherhood indeed) to track his poop timing across a few weeks. Oolong is still very sporadic with his poop time but we know that he poops every morning when he wakes up, and after meals. So he poops 3 – 4x a day.
This WILL change. Milky poops twice a day and he is outdoor-trained.
WEEK 03: So you think you can leave me alone at home
SA. SA. SA. You are going to hear SA a lot. SA stands for separation anxiety, which is loosely defined as your dog screaming like he lost a limb when you leave him alone in the house.
We used Google hangouts so that different people could join the call and look at Oolong like a specimen. 😂 Okay lah, everyone is concerned about Oolong.
Pro Tip that works for us!
- Start off with 5 – 10 – 15mins before increasing it to longer hours.
- When you leave the house, give the doggo a treat (we like to give chews)
- When you reach home, don’t be overly excited. Be normal and don’t get all excited and give him attention.
Oolong can be at home for a long period of time now (4 hours+). We don’t put the pee pads in his crate because we don’t want him to encourage him to pee in his crate. Now, he gets free access to the house since he is toilet-trained and will pee/poop in the toilet (without pee pads!!)
Most of the time, there are still peeps in the house so he is usually with peeps around. We bring him to the office for 2-3 days every week so that he gets to mingle with other people, dogs and socialize well.
Week 04: It WILL get better.
We brought Oolong home on 8 Dec, when he is exactly 3 months old (he is born on 9 Sep). It’s been a little more than a month now and yes, things are definitely getting better.
It feels like a long time that he has been with us — but he is toilet-trained now and growing up healthily. He still poops and pee at the wrong places, but he kinda gets an idea of what’s right and what’s wrong.
His mouthing is still an issue and we are correcting his food aggression (for high-value food) and learning to share and be nice with other doggos — be it his water bowl or toys.
He is extremely food-motivated so it’s easier to train him, but that also meant lots of trips to Pet Lovers Centre and spending tons of money on treats and toys to keep him busy.
He is also learning commands like SIT, DOWN, STAY, LEAVE IT & GENTLE (puppies are so excited when it comes to food!!).
He is learning how to behave during walks, how he gets treats when he poops and pees outdoor (or on pee pads), and will run to me to get his “reward”. The clever boy will actually “ration” his pee so that he gets more treats whuttttt.
#PUPPYBLUES ARE REAL
Yes, puppy blues are real. During the first few weeks, I was constantly bogged down by negativity and just wondering if things will ever get better.
I had thoughts of sending him back to his parents because I wasn’t sure if this is something I can handle. I felt so guilty for even having such thoughts that I just cried and felt like a useless mum. I felt that I’m useless because other peeps seem to be able to “do it” but I can’t seem to, and these are people who were working a 9-6 job or juggling a child and a pet and a job and their own mental health. HOW?
The irony is that I know it’s hard to take care of a dog, and I was mentally prepared. But the thing is — it REALLY wears you down over time. There are no off days, MCs, or short-cuts. It’s step-by-step and you don’t expect instant gratification.
There is also no “nursery” to send your kids to for a couple of hours (yes there are daycares, but there are so many horror stories when it comes to dogs dying or getting infected with ticks/flea and eventually died).
But yes, it is worth it. A dog will always love you more than he loves himself, and the feeling when he wags his tail to welcome us home :”)
If you are thinking to get a puppy, these might be helpful:
- Adopt or buy from a reputable breeder. When you buy from pet shops, you might unknowingly be supporting puppy mills. There are also other issues like:
- Health problems from inbreeding or unhealthy parents.
- Potty training is going to be an ass because they pee and shit in their cage.
- Crate training will be an ass too because puppies in pet shops are constantly locked up.
- You might face huge behavioral issues like mouthing/teething because of what I mentioned earlier — there was no chance for the puppy to get feedback on bites.
- Why adoption might be better for you
- Most of the time, you won’t face potty training issues because the dogs are grass-trained.
- No puppy blues because most dogs should be in their adulthood already, meaning a much calmer demeanor.
It is important to note that PET SHOPS and REPUTABLE & ETHICAL BREEDERS shouldn’t be seen as the same thing. The latter takes pride in what they do and are very transparent & responsible with how they breed and who they sell.
With pet shops, many are in it for the $$ (despite the claims they put on how they love animals) and I see lots of health problems and issues because of the way the dogs were handled. It’s also extremely suspicious that when pet shop A has a Shiba Inu, pet shop B C D also has Shiba Inus for sale (much coincidence?)
End of day, a pet is a commitment for life. Make sure you are ready (financially and mentally) and yes — your family members are OKAY with the new family member. It is very tough for you to bring up a dog if your family members are NOT okay. It is also being respectful to the other family members living in the household because it really takes a village to raise a dog.
All the best! x