It is Skincare Sunday once again. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts; skin health is a reflection of what you put on the outside and what goes on inside your body. A part of “what goes on inside your body” is your mental health. When your mental state is good (i.e. low levels of stress and/or work life balance is present), your skin health is better as well. Having a puppy is a lot of work; however, I find that having a puppy helps me with my work life balance.
My husband and I have talked about getting puppy for a very long time. Recently, it all started out as a joke as my husband found a litter of mini golden doodles who share the same birthday as me. I’ve always wanted to have a twin; therefore, my husband thought it would be nice if I finally had my birthday twin wish granted. We both realized owning a puppy would require a lot of time and attention; we waited what we consider “the perfect time”.
Here is what I’ve learned:
We brought Millie home at the end of January. When some friends found out that we were getting a puppy at the end of January, they said “Do you not realize that January is the worst month to get a puppy?”
Yes- I now realize that January is not the most ideal time of the year to get an 8 week old puppy; however, because the puppy knows no difference, Millie thoroughly enjoys the outdoors no matter how cold it is outside and/or how much snow is outside. She has learned very quickly that doing her business (i.e. peeing and pooping) is meant for the outdoors. It also forces us (i.e. my husband and I) to get outside more often. Walking outside in the winter for an extended period of time can be quite enjoyable despite the frigid temperatures! 🙂 There is something about that fresh crisp air. 😉
From Day 1 of bringing Millie home, my husband and I were very adamant about socializing Millie properly in all aspects be it with human beings (adults & children), other dogs and all different kinds of environment. We live in a very pet friendly and family friendly neighbourhood. Once we got Millie, we felt even more integrated into the neighbourhood. The tips from fellow neighbours and/or random individuals on the street about how to take care of a young puppy is endless. I let friends and family know I have an open door policy; feel free to drop by anytime. There is a new development with Millie every single day. Does this not sound familiar when someone has a newborn? When an individual has a newborn, many people (acquaintances, friends, good friends, family) will give his/her two cents about how to take care of a newborn. Puppies are very much like newborns but they go through the growth and development stage at a much more accelerated rate. Everyone still wants to give their two cents as to how to raise a puppy! 🙂
My husband and I bought pee pads for Millie; however, we both agreed that pee pads are not the way to have Millie do her business. In the beginning, you really do have to stay on top of the puppy’s bladder; taking Millie out every 2 hours was standard. In the beginning, I would make sure to leash her up and take her out; however, my husband started to let Millie out in the backyard to do her business. Having a backyard is a blessing because for those individuals who live in spaces with no backyards, leashing the puppy and/or dog overtime to go out to pee and/or poo is reality.
Crate training has been relatively easy for us; we have to give credit to the breeder. From day 1 of getting Millie, Millie has loved her crate. After the first night, my husband had to get up at 4:15 AM to take Millie out for a pee; however, afterwards, it progressed to 4:45 AM, 5:15 AM, etc. Now, we generally put Millie in her crate at 11 PM and take her out between 6:30 AM- 7 AM.
As a couple, my husband and I were never known as homebodies; however, it was a natural transition for us as soon as Millie entered our lives. Every weekend has been either spent at home with Millie entertaining visitors or we would go over to a family member’s and/or friend’s house but always include Millie.
It’s brought family even closer. My husband and I both come from close knit family; however, having Millie brings us all even closer. Both sets of parents are not naturally pet lovers; however, from the first sight of Millie, both sets of parents have fallen in love. My parents can’t wait to see how she’s grown and developed every week. My in-laws also look forward to taking care of Millie on a weekly basis. Our teenage nieces tell us that they have “Millie withdrawal” if we can’t make it to our weekly family dinner.
It’s been such a fun and exciting adventure with Millie thus far. We have completed 5 of the 6 obedience school classes. As Millie is a mini golden doodle, the poodle in her makes her extremely intelligent. She picks up commands quite quickly. Millie is quite observant but make no mistake, she is quite stubborn too. Millie will make mistakes; as fur parents, we need to make sure that we are stern with her to let her know when she has done wrong. Millie has been amazing thus far as she knows to only chew on her toys. As a tip, make sure to buy a wide variety of toys as you don’t know which one your puppy will like the best.
Expose your puppy to grooming and the toothbrush as soon as possible. In order to prepare Millie for the groomer, we made sure to touch her paws regularly , the insides of her ears regularly and we brushed her everyday as well. We bathed her twice before taking her to the groomer. We took Millie to the groomer when she was almost 16 weeks and the groomer tells us that Millie was an absolute angel. Brushing Millie’s teeth is more of a struggle; however, get your puppy used to this because the sooner you expose them to the toothbrush and toothpaste, the better it is for your puppy in the long run.
As a Registered Dietitian, you can imagine that pet nutrition has become an interest of mine. Aside from feeding kibble to Millie, we have mixed in cooked plain chicken, beef and/or pork. For treats, we have stuck to liver treats but have also given blueberries, pineapple, carrots, strawberries, orange slices and banana. Millie thoroughly enjoys her bully sticks (i.e. beef sticks) and peanut butter in her kong.
Friends told me that puppies and/or dogs need a minimum of 3 hours per day of physical activity. I now am a firm believer that puppies do need a minimum of 3 hours per day to be properly stimulated and to have good growth and development.
Food For Thought: Are you thinking of getting a puppy? Are you ready for the time commitment? As a first time pet owner, I highly recommend the golden doodle breed. It’s been a wonderful experience thus far and both of our lives have been enriched in an unforgettable way. Both my husband and I cannot imagine life without her now. 🙂 Happy life means better skin health. 😉