Think of this as a follow up to my post Life as a First Time Puppy Owner. The dust and commotion has settled a little over the past couple weeks, and I’ve been able to reflect some more. Here are the main ways that my day-to-day life has been significantly altered by owning a puppy.
1. Our schedule caters to the puppy.
Ethan used to wake up at least half an hour before me and eat a leisurely breakfast over YouTube videos before getting ready for work. Now, we are awoken every morning by Cedric crying and barking a bit. Ethan, the real MVP of dog owning, gets up and takes him out. No more leisurely breakfast. Not that I’m complaining or changing my work routine much, but I now make sure to leave work promptly to get home. If Cedric wakes up from a nap or has recently eaten, we are on the ball to get him outside to relieve himself. Routine seems to be important for dogs to adjust to a new home.
2. Our belongings are no longer “from a pet free home.”
It only takes a dog a fraction of a second to chew on the corner of your boxed DVD set, start peeing on your bath mat, or dig his nails into your upholstery. We’ve set the boundaries that matter most. Cedric is not allowed in our bedroom or the utility room, which we keep with the doors shut. We keep him behind a gate overnight and while we’re gone. But we know a certain amount of wear and tear will probably accumulate on the furniture and items he can access, even the ones that have been doused in anti-chew vinegar solution. Not accepting that fact causes too much stress.
3. We do our best as dog parents, but puppies will be puppies.
You can teach puppies how you want them to act, especially if they are food motivated, but they won’t always learn fast. We’re not professional dog trainers. We praise Cedric when he does his business outside, sits on command, walks well on the leash, and comes when he’s called. We don’t try to stop him when he chews grass or sticks, but we pull him away when he finds questionable mushrooms and other dogs’ poo. We yelp when he bites hard or scratches us while playing. We are working on reducing his stress over baths, car rides, and nail cutting. His behavior is a work in progress, and expecting him to be perfect is unrealistic.
4. Free time = dog care-taking time.
Until Cedric is a little older, we will be spending most of our free time with him. I guess I didn’t have that much going on in my personal life, anyway. Before Cedric was in our lives, Ethan and I made some plans, though. We got tickets to a concert and made a group reservation for a wine and painting workshop with some friends. It’s much easier now to have one of us stay home if the other will be gone in the evening for more than an hour or so. Our neighbors were nice enough to watch Cedric while we went to the concert, but I went to the painting workshop without Ethan. It was still fun, but changing plans was slightly inconvenient. There is also some guilt about making any future plans because someone will have to stay home on dog duty.
5. For all the work and stress he causes, we love the puppy anyway.
Cedric is a snorting, farting little angel full of undying love. I can’t wait to make him little sweaters and coats. We want him to grow up healthy, safe, and well-adjusted. I imagine this feeling is akin to what new parents feel, minus the intense bonding hormones.
Want more Cedric photos and updates? He’s on Instagram! @cedricthebostonterrier