Isn’t this guy uglily cute? Look at his curly tail. What a fat rounded body. Wow his black wrinkle face can squeeze in a fly. Look at his, well, I can keep going. With his bulgy watery eyes that kept saying “LOVE ME” using his ESP cross-species channel of communication, I simply couldn’t resist but to…..damn, I was becoming a first time dog owner really soon.
Yes, I surrendered. Bring him home. His name will be Megatron. In short, Mega – the evil antagonist that will destroy your home for energon, namely chips, ice-cream, pizza, chicken wings, and any other kind of objects called “food.”
Now what? Mega is home now.
What am I getting myself into? It looks like my life will be entirely different for the next 15 years, the average pug’s life span.
Soon, I realized that owning a dog has a LOT more work, especially during the transition to become a first time dog owner. You can watch all the YouTube videos and google all the articles on “First Time Dog Owner Checklist,” “First Time Dog Owner Guide,” etc.
Those are usually the things you do after you’ve got your puppy home.
What about during the transition? How the heck should I handle this new baby at my home now? I’m going to show you 4 topmost things you should pay attention to for the next few months
1. Your New Dog Will Cry All Night
Let’s be real. My warm cozy home was a cold strange place to Mega. He used to play with his siblings at the breeder’s home together.
His mom (Mega’s biological mom) used to come in and lick all her puppies time to time everyday. Of course he missed his original family.
Although I was by his side most of the time, I was still a stranger to Mega.
He still hadn’t trusted me yet: “What are you going to do to me? Beat me? Starve me? Kill me eventually? Who are you?” These were probably all the things that went through Mega’s mind when I first brought him home, even though I always smiled and hugged him.
BUILD TRUST AND RELATIONSHIP. That’s the first and foremost things. Pet him, cuddled him, and praised him with delicious treats. Bribery always works. Dogs are weak on smelly food.
Mega LOVE Pup-Peroni Lean Beef treat. He would go crazy every time I hold it to my hand.
You can also use treats to train your dog down the road.
2. Pee and Poo Everywhere
How long can you hold your pee pee and poo poo when you were 8 weeks old? The entire day? Liar. An hour or so maybe? Still a liar. I bet your dog can hold longer than you did, BUT it can only hold for about 1-2 hours max.
What does that mean? Yup, you’ve guessed it. Your dog will need to does its business every couple hours or so. As the first time dog owner, what do you have to do? Yup, you’ve also guessed it. Either you let it does its business at your backyard, walk it outside every several hours, or get a pee pad at your house.
But wait, don’t you have to go to work during daytime? Fortunately and unfortunately, I do. I’m a working individual that stay in the office for 8+ hours with commute, Mega was home alone for close to 10 hours straight. Poor boy and sorry Mega, daddy is not rich enough to hire a dog walker at day time to accompany you.
So what’s the second best option?
BUY A GATE AND CONFINE IT IN A BIG ENOUGH AREA: I confined him in a 200 sq ft area with the biggest window that overlook to the pacific ocean coast from the hill top at that time. It’s the best view in my condo. Ironically, Mega doesn’t know how to appreciate it.
Anyways, I prefer to confine Mega in a designated area than to crate him during work daytime at least. Choose a good pressure mounted dog or infant gate such as this here. The reason you want a pressure mounted gate is that 1) it doesn’t drill hole to your walls and 2) you can re-purpose it for something else in the future.
Let’s say you’ll have a baby down the road and you want to keep your baby in a designated area. There you go. Wipe this gate clean and you have it.
GET A GOOD PEE PAD AND PEE PAD HOLDER: If you only get a pee pad alone, your dog may potentially torn it up or chew on it. That was what Mega did. So later on, we also bought a pee pad holder. Then no more poop all over its “living room.”
I actually like this Odor Control Pee Pad a lot. It reduces the odor. Don’t expect 0 odor though. That’s just unrealistic.
For pee pad holder, I just buy a cheap one layer holder like this here. There’s a 2 layer pee pad holder where the top layer is for poop and bottom layer is for pee.
I hate that design. Look at all the f**king holes that your dog pee on that you have to clean up constantly. It stinks up down the road. So, go with one layer. Simple and direct.
One more thing: pee odor remover. SUPER IMPORTANT. See, unlike humans where we use eyes to identify things, dogs use nose. It likes to play a freedom game with you that “I love to pee here,” but you want it to “Go pee there, not here. Who’s the Alpha?”
If your dog leaves pee or poop at a non-designated spot and you only use water to clean it up? Trust me, IT WON’T WORK. Dog’s olfactory sense is 40x better than you. Soap and water alone won’t eliminate its pee and poop smell entirely.
When it smells its own pee and poop again at a non-designated spot, guess what it’ll do?
That’s why you have to totally eliminate the odor down to the dog olfactory level. I tried several different brands before. This Nature Miracle product is so far the best. Go try this out. It’ll come in handy.
3. Extra Expenses
Vaccination: Most dog hotels require at least 5-in-1 Parvo, Rabies, and Leptos. Some require more, some less. In my area, I brought Mega to the Pet Food Express Mobile Vet Clinic. It actually saves me about 30-40% than the regular vet. It’s a new dog anyways, you don’t need a vet until it gets older. But you need the most updated vaccines.
Dog hotel: Vegas tomorrow? Have you booked your hotel yet? No, not MGM or Venetian. Stupid. Your dog hotel or dog sitter. Average about $50/night. Times how many nights you are going to be on your trip. Do the math. One week vacation is another flight ticket already.
Dog food: Puppy, adult, fat adult, and senior dogs need different types of dog food. I prefer solid food because it’s relatively better for its teeth. Less juice sticking in between its teeth. I recommend Eukanuba For Puppy myself. It worked well on Mega.
Then when it passes 1 year old, I switched to Royal Canine For Pugs for a year. This brand have different food ingredients tailor to different dog breeds. But it got too expensive. Now, Mega is back on Eukanuba for Weight Control. It’s still a premium brand and does its job.
One thing I like to order dog food through Amazon is that you can schedule your dog food delivery. Once you’ve set that up, it’ll auto-pilot deliver to your home every X weeks. How easy is that? One less thing to worry about after long working hours.
Grooming: I use Sentry Flee and Tick Shampoo. It’s OK. It’s only effective for about a week or so. Sometimes, Mega still got flees. That’s just part of a dog owner’s life. When Mega got flees, I gave him the flee pill hidden inside a pill pocket. The pill pocket worked super well. It smells like bacon. Even you want to eat it. Mega begged for the flee pill!
But if your dog has dog hair and needs trimming, just bring it to the pet store.
So all after all, expect to have extra USD$2000/year expense!
4. Bye Bye Freedom
Before I had Mega, I could go straight to workout with my friends right after work, then dinner, then dessert, then movie, then went clubbing, then midnight snack until 5am in the morning. No problem.
After I have Mega, I have to dash back home before 7pm so that I can walk him and let him do his business outside. Otherwise, he may not be able to hold his pee pee and poo poo too long and will soil the house.
In addition, every time I need to go for a business trip or travel, I either have to bring Mega along or book a hotel. Everything becomes less spontaneous and needs to be planned ahead more. Again, this is the commitment as the dog owner.
Why do you still want to be a first time dog owner?
It’s priceless. Although having a furry friend can’t really connect with you at the spiritual level, it’s a great feeling when Mega gets all excited and hugs my leg when I come home after a long working day.
At least there’s “something” that’s desperately waiting for you to come back. You feel needed.
On the other hand, dogs can sense your emotion very well. When I’m angry, for example, Mega can sense it. He will tuck his tail, lower his face and body, and slowly walk to the corner; when I’m happy and tease him, he’ll be even more excited, go around circle, and play along with me; when I’m sad, he will sit by your side and constantly check on you.
It’s very magical that sometimes I think dog can sense human’s emotion better than human can.
What lessons do you learn as a dog owner?
Be a responsible person and keep the commitment to the entire dog’s life.
Remember, on the very first day you bring your puppy home, it’s also the very first day it separates from its own puppy family forever. It won’t see its own dad, mom, brothers, and sisters again unless you adopt its siblings too.
You will be its sole family member from then on. You have so much power and control over a being’s life. Its happiness is totally depended on you so you better be committed for another 15+ years if you really decide to be a dog owner.
I’m sure you may have different experience than I have, comment below or even better, share your journey of change with others!
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