It is no secret that having a puppy is hard work. Yes, they are wonderfully sweet and soft and smushy. They are absolute perfection and bliss… most of the time! But, often amidst those moments of couch cuddles and puppy breath we forget about the little land shark lurking just below the surface, waiting to pounce on the sleeve of your favourite jumper.
One of the biggest appeals of a puppy, aside the soft and snuggly parts is having the opportunity to socialise and train the pup so that they grow up to be the dog you want them to be, however raising the perfect dog is not as easy as you think. You actually have a lot of work ahead of you in order to achieve that goal. Between finding surprises on your rug, your favourite shoes in tatters and sleepless nights due to a whining puppy, it’s no surprise that some people become so fed up with their puppy’s antics (that are usually all normal behaviour that are to be expected) it leaves them wondering why they didn’t just go and adopt an older dog from the pound.
My biggest tip for prospective puppy parents is to really know what you are getting yourself into. Do some research about raising a puppy either online or by speaking to reputable force free trainers about what to expect. Because believe me, while much of puppy parenting is sunshine and rainbows some of it is also “omg why are you doing this to me!!??!”
In a nutshell – There seems to be a perception that getting a puppy is the easier option and this is not necessarily the case.
This brings me to my decision to purchase a puppy. I have been working with dogs since 2012 and training them professionally since 2014. I grew up in a household full of pets and then I made a point of studying the science of canine behaviour in order to better my theoretical knowledge and practical application of my skills. And I still felt underprepared for a puppy!! I suppose it just goes to show that the more you know the more you realise you don’t know… (Or of a lyric from one of my favourite songs – “But, for all I know, there’s far more I don’t.”)
So how did I prepare myself you ask? With many long conversations, much deep thinking, a lot (LOT) of research and incessant questions asked of my incredible support network (You know who you are <3 It takes a village!)
Before getting any pet, just some of the questions you must ask yourself:
> Am I ready for the responsibility of a pet?
> Is everyone in my household happy to have a pet?
> Do I want to get a rescue puppy/dog or a puppy from a registered breeder?
> Do I want a specific breed of puppy/dog?
> Am I fully aware of the specific needs of the breed I may choose?
> Am I prepared to take my puppy/dog to formal dog training classes?
> Am I fully aware of what to expect during the puppy raising period?
> Am I fully aware of what to expect throughout the dog’s adolescence?
> Can I financially support a dog for 10+ years?
> What will happen if we want to go on holiday?
> How am I going to juggle meeting my pet’s behavioural needs with my work and life?
> What do I need to do to prepare my home for a pet?
These are just some of the things you must consider before welcoming your furry bundle of joy into your home. It is so important that everyone in the family is on the same page well before you decide upon a rescue centre or a registered breeder. I offer a service called a ‘Pre-Puppy Consult’ where I go to my client’s homes to talk about the above topics and to do a property inspection to ensure everything is perfect for their impending arrival. Please jump onto my contact page to send me an email if you would like more info.
Why did you get a Rottweiler?
The decision for me to get a Rottweiler was both a heart and a head decision. The heart side comes from my cousin’s farm where we would go for our family holidays when my brother and I were children and teenagers. They always kept Rottweilers (and one Doberman!) over the years. These dogs were absolutely exceptional animals and really cemented my love of the breed with their lovable nature and gentle giant personas. The head decision came through my pre-puppy planning when I made a list of the traits that were important to me and the purpose I wanted my future dog for.
– I knew that above all else I wanted a dog who had a very stable, even temperament.
– I wanted a dog with a short or smooth coat (Because I hate grooming).
– I wanted a dog who is primarily a companion but who I could also use for work and casual dog sports. An all-rounder if you will.
– I knew that this is going to be the dog we will likely raise our human children with.
As far as I was concerned – All signs pointed to ROTTWEILER! The possibility of human children in the next 3-5 years is what led my partner Kyle and I to ultimately decide on a puppy. It is my greatest hope that I will be able to raise Odin to be a perfect canine good citizen, an ambassador for his breed and for the use of force free training methods on larger, stronger breeds of dog.
So how are we doing? So far so good! Of course, there have been some trying moments (RIP to my fox door stop) but I feel that my preparations have made our first month and a half a lot less stressful than what it could have been.
By making sure my partner and I both had household rules set, short and long-term training goals identified, a socialisation check list prepared, the house fully puppy proofed (except my precious door stop!), a puppy safe play pen set up and finally ensuring Odin was enrolled in Puppy School right away (Shout out Pittwater Animal Hospital and Seaforth Vet for their amazing classes) we have certainly made life a lot easier for ourselves. Which has meant that we have been able to be proactive in raising Odin instead of reactive and always feeling like we are playing catch ups as he develops and his needs change.
Over the coming months I will be putting up some more blogs talking about Odin’s development and training. If you’re on Instagram be sure to check his page out @odinsandstrom as I have been sharing photos of his day and videos of his training.