I recently got my first puppy, a Micro Golden Doodle named Cosmo (follow him on Instagram @babycosmosworld) from San Diego, California. Before getting a puppy, I never really knew what I was getting myself into and no amount of research could prepare me for how Cosmo was about to change my whole daily routine! So I decided to write this blog to educate people who are thinking about getting their first puppy, just so they have more background information than I did. I’m going to break up this article in a few segments- puppy research, things many people don’t tell you before getting a puppy, and how to prepare for your new little floofer!
Puppy Research When starting your puppy research, it’s important to know what you do and don’t want in a puppy. For me, I knew I wanted a hypo-allergenic puppy who would be about 15–20 pounds at maturity and I wanted him to be playful most of the time! Naturally, the first dog that came to my mind was a golden retriever but sadly they were too big of a dog for my household. So, I began to look into mini golden doodles (half golden retriever and half mini poodle) but they were still around 25–35 pounds which was still a little big for my family as first time dog owners. So I continued to research more and came across a few breeds- a Cockapoo, a Shihtzu/Bichon Mix (Sichon), a Dachshund, and a Micro Golden Doodle (a mix of a mini golden doodle and mini poodle). Now if you’re fine with any dog and don’t have any restraints, then I highly recommend rescuing a puppy from an animal shelter! However, as a household with absolutely no puppy experience, we were pretty particular about what kind of dog we wanted and were sold on a Micro Golden Doodle because at maturity, they would be less than 15 pounds, are fun and playful companions and won’t grow to be that big either! Now that I had finalized the breed, I thought I would just be able to go find the nearest breeder and get one instantly- but boy was I wrong. Most breeders generally have a 2–3 month waiting list and then once the puppy is generally 8 weeks old is when you can officially bring them home. I lucked out with my pupper — since this was at the beginning of quarantine, my breeder was not shipping any puppies out, and many people on her waitlist were out of state and could not come pick the puppy up. Since she was a California breeder, I was able to drive down to San Diego and get my puppy without having to be on any waiting list. But looking for a breeder required numerous phone calls and emails ( I probably sent over 200 emails to breeders asking if they had any availabilities). Some questions you should ask your breeder:
What is the living environment of the breeder’s house?
Ask questions about the parent’s health
How long have they been breeding
Do they have any reviews from previous adopters
Ask to facetime them to see the puppy — if the breeder says no or makes up some excuse then that’s your cue to find a new breeder!!
Age at maturity?
Height at maturity?
What shots they have gotten?
I also highly recommend seeing the puppy in person before buying him/her because picture will not do you justice when it comes to the personality of the puppy!
Things you probably don’t know There are a few things you just don’t think about when getting/considering a puppy and I definitely had not thought about it until I had the puppy with me
A new born puppy will be like a full time job. You are going to be constantly worrying about where he is, what he’s doing and what to do next so just be prepared to give your new pupper a lot of your time!
It’s normal for your 8 week year old puppy to sleep 18–20 hours a day so don’y be alarmed! At around 10 weeks, he’ll start to be more awake
Girl puppies get periods- yes just like humans they may leave red spots on your carpet and you do need to get linens and pads for them
Puppies lose their baby teeth and grow adult teeth- exactly like humans! This is why they also are teething and generally they swallow their baby teeth or you’ll find them around your house
You cannot go on walks with your puppy until they’re about 16 weeks old. I was so excited to start walking my puppy but I didn’t realize that he had to get his PARVO vaccine before I could even take him on a small stroll (which is generally given at 8, 14 and 16 weeks).
It’s common for puppies to get parasites in their stomach also known as “worms” so don’t be freaked out! Just take your puppy to the vet and have them dewormed
Puppies like to eat their own feces- yes feces is poop. Just because they like to, doesn’t mean they should so try to discourage it!
Dental Hygiene- this one is VERY important. When you have a puppy, and they start growing their baby teeth it’s important to start them young by cleaning their teeth and gums at least 3/4 times a week! I just take a wet cloth and scrub Cosmo’s teeth a few times a week! You don’t want oral hygiene to be a problem in the future so it’s better to start them young
The First Night The first night with your new pup is going to be hard. They have just been separated from their parents/siblings and are in a completely new environment so be prepared for a lot of crying if you crate them. It’s important to crate train your puppy early but for the first night I would just sleep next to them- put their bed right next to you and a hand on them to comfort them. I learned this the hard way. I was trying to crate train my puppy as I had been reading online and every website just told me to let them cry, but the crying got unbearable. I tried a variety of different things- had him fall asleep in my arms and then slowly put him in his crate, I tried giving him a treat inside his crate, I even tried to let him cry it out and went to a different room to sleep but I could hear him crying and howling non-stop. Finally, I took his bed out and put a small air mattress for myself on the floor and we slept on the floor for the first night. I set timers on my phone and took him out to pee every 2–3 hours and we had finally accomplished night one. Now for the second night, a helpful tip I found was putting an old t-shirt of mine in his crate so he could still smell me there and it would be like I’m there with him. He still cried a little for the rest of the week but he got better fast. Some other tips I found were:
Covering the top of his crate with a blanket
Luring him into the crate with a treat
Getting a little bigger sized crate so he has his bed on one half and then a little extra area on the other (my puppy doesn’t always like sleeping on his bed and prefers the cold bottom of the crate sometimes)
Putting a teddy bear inside with him
Playing a little music
Now my puppy is 15 weeks old and he goes to the crate on his own when he wants to sleep and he absolutely loves his space.
How to prepare Honestly, there will be a few nights where you question if you’re capable of taking care of a puppy. I definitely had those and got overwhelmed with the amount of work that comes with a dog. But I can truly say that it will be worth it, you just have to keep trying! Below I have a few tips that helped me deal with some of Cosmo’s craziness and I hope it helps you!
When you first get your new born puppy, I would schedule a vet appointment within the first week. Once you have their medical records from the breeder, I would tell the vet everything you know and get something called a “Puppy Plan or Program.” This will save you a lot of money and give you many benefits! The first thing to do when you get to the vet is ask for a fecal test for your new pet. Just collect your puppy’s fecal and drop it off within 2 hours to your local vet and you will get the results within 24 hours. This test will let you know if your pup has any worms or parasites (again this is normal if they do so no need to worry). The puppy plan usually includes the spaying/neutering of your pet, a microchip (so you are able to find your puppy if they get lost), the rabies vaccine, PARVO vaccine and some other benefits according to your vet hospital.
Pee Mats are so helpful initially when a puppy doesn’t know your living space and needs to pee like every hour. The way I set up my puppy area was a pen with his crate inside and then in the pan I had about 3 pee mats set up so he could go whenever he needed to. Slowly I started to figure out his pee signal (when he starts sniffing around or going in circles) and I would take him outside myself.
Definitely invest in Nature’s Miracle Dog Stain & Odor Remover. When your puppy has accidents- and he will, if you don’t clean it properly their sense of smell is so strong that they will go back to the same spot again and again.
Nature’s Miracle Dog Stain & Odor Remover with Enzymatic Formula Spray, 24 oz — Walmart.com Free 2-day shipping on qualified orders over $35. Buy Nature’s Miracle Dog Stain & Odor Remover with Enzymatic Formula…www.walmart.com
As your puppy starts teething and nipping and biting you, invest in a bully stick!! This stick works WONDERS. I bought Cosmo so many new toys but when he started teething he just wanted to bite my legs and once I gave him a bully stick, the biting became significantly less. I would recommend an odor free one just because you don’t want it stinking up your place.
Best Bully Sticks Odor Free Bully Stick 6" 6 PACK Dog Chew — Walmart.com You’ll lose NextDay delivery if your cart contains one or more items not labeled “NextDay eligible”. You won’t get…www.walmart.com
It’s important your puppy doesn’t eat their food too fast or they will end up throwing up- yes puppies do throw up! Slow feeder bowls are super helpful because they slow down the rate at which your puppy will eat by making it kind of like a puzzle! This is the one I have and Cosmo loves it and it’s so cheap!!
Skid Stop Slow Feed Bowl — Medium (Color May Vary) Amazon.com: Skid Stop Slow Feed Bowl — Medium (Color May Vary): Pet Supplieswww.amazon.com
As a first time dog owner family, my parents didn’t like puppy breath that much and thought Cosmo had a certain smell to him. Most families are okay with the smell, but we actually invested in a 3 in 1 deodorizing spritz and would spray Cosmo once in a while and it was basically a dog perfume for him LOL
Earth Bath Lavender 3 — in — 1 Deodorizing Spritz for Dogs 8oz Amazon.com : Earth Bath Lavender 3 — in — 1 Deodorizing Spritz for Dogs 8oz : Pet Pest Control Supplies : Pet Supplieswww.amazon.com
I also HIGHLY recommend a Kong Toy if you’re trying to start leaving your puppy alone for a while. Cosmo loves peanut butter so I’ll fill the Kong with some peanut butter and freeze it and then give it to him and he’ll be occupied for about 2–3 hours! It’s important to start leaving your puppy alone or they’ll start to develop separation anxiety.
KONG® Classic Dog Toy - Treat Dispensing With over 1,500 stores nationwide, you can find the products, PetSmart Grooming, training, PetsHotel boarding, Doggie…www.petsmart.com
If you’re giving your puppy wet food then you can scroll past this one but I chose to give Cosmo dry food just because I felt like it had more nutrients and that’s what the breeder was giving him as well. However, we actually started to boil pumpkin, carrots and apples and throw them separately in a blender and with each meal mixed it in with his food. This way he was getting some nutrients in and his food was a lot easier for him to digest.
I also recommend feeding your puppy 4 times a day at the same time so you have a better idea of what time he is going to poop. I feed Cosmo at 7 AM, 12:30 PM, 4:00 PM, and 8:00 PM and he is asleep by 9:30PM. I feed Cosmo the Purina Puppy Brand Chicken and Rice Flavor food and initially gave him about 3/4 of a cup the first few weeks. By 12 weeks I increased his food amount to 1 cup and started feeding him only 3 times a day at 7AM, 1:30 PM, and 8 PM .
Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food, 6-lb bag - Chewy.com Alert Designates an important message. Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again. Description Nutritional Info…www.chewy.com
Cosmo was pretty picky about his treats, but I found out he loves peanut butter! Make sure any treats you get are soft and can be broken up with your hands. I love these ones for him and usually split them up into 5/6 pieces and give it to him throughout a training session.
Zuke's Mini Naturals Peanut Butter & Oats Recipe Training Dog Treats, 6-oz - Chewy.com Alert Designates an important message. Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again. Description Nutritional Info…www.chewy.com
I hope you found this article helpful and if you need more advice please feel free to reach out! I may not have the answer to your question but I’d love to hear how your training is going and maybe we can help each other out!