Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Puppy Love: Top 5 Tips!

If you follow us on Instagram, it's impossible not to know that my husband and I recently adopted a rescue puppy (11 weeks old and he is already the most photographed dog ever). Fitzgerald (Fitz, for short) is a boxer lab mix that we rescued from Wagging Hearts, a 100% foster-based animal rescue and adoption organization serving Chicago and Wisconsin. 

From the second he got in the car to come home with us, we loved him more than words could say. He is a wonderful addition to our lives and we have learned so much in a few short weeks. 

Here is our puppy top 5:

1. BABIES: Puppies are pretty much just furry versions of babies: They eat, poop, play and sleep (A LOT. See #4) Not to mention selective hearing and trying to put everything they shouldn't in their mouths. I realize some parents are probably laughing at me for comparing the two, but my husband and I are now responsible for another life so I think it's fair to say that it's good practice for the next step...

2. TIMING: We got him at the end of May and for the first 3 or 4 days we had him, we spent all day outside since it was so nice out. We praised him constantly when he went to the bathroom so he picked up on the rules pretty quickly and he's only had 3 accidents in the house, all of which were in the first week...Either he’s a genus pup or he realized that summertime in the backyard is where all the magic happens ;)

We also hung a string of bells on the door that leads to the deck and started touching his paw to them every time we took him out – a few days later, he was doing it himself, letting us know when it’s time. Looks like Pavlov knew what he was talking about!

3. SOCIAL: Socialize him with people and other dogs from the get go. It is important for dogs to interact with people and pooches outside of your home so they welcome your house guests with open arms in the future. We started with a few outdoor family parties and our town’s summer festival and I must say, he was in heaven with all the sights and sounds (but mostly his first taste of ribs…spoiled already).

4. SLEEP: Puppies need sleep, almost as much as they long for tug of war…the two go hand in hand, really. We have come to realize how important it is to exercise him multiple times a day because he is much happier when he gets exercise (but aren’t we all?) As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog and I love taking walks in our neighborhood, so this has become a routine all 3 of us benefit from. 

Fitz can fall asleep just about anywhere…much like his Dad ;)

In loving arms

On the car ride home

At Grandma's

On Dad's shoes

And the best one of all, with a best friend

5. LOVE: Your dog is a very important member of your family but unlike other humans who have family and friend circles of their own, you are his everything and he counts on you every minute (just read the dog's POV and try not to cry!)

 My best advice? Give him unlimited kisses and snuggles, even if you said you would never let him on the couch ;)

Do you have a furry friend at home? 

What is your best dog tip?