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  • Karen Onail

What was I thinking?

Updated: Jul 5

Let’s get a new puppy!!!


How exciting that will be to have a new puppy!! Puppy breath, the excitement, the energy that that new puppy will bring to your home and family!! So exciting!!


I have a new puppy and his name is Dublin. He was 11 weeks old when I picked him up and I had only seen a few pictures and talked to his human first Mommy only once and I just knew that he was going to be coming home with me and my home will be his forever home!!


Like I said, I had not even met Dublin and I knew I wanted to name him Dublin. I had waited for 13 months for him to join my journey. You see, I had to send my 10-year-old Golden Retriever over the Rainbow Bridge suddenly on March 16, 2021. He was my soul mate in fur, and I missed him so much and cried frequently after he had to leave and asked him to send me another soulmate in fur!! His name was Guinness, and he was amazing, and I so missed him!! Also, the craziest thing is that when Dublin’s first human Mommy sent me his photo and he was 11 weeks old, it was crazy because Dublin looked just like Guinness did when he was 11 weeks old!! I was so excited and decided to stay with the Irish thyme (I am very Irish and had to send my Guinness to heaven the day before St Patty’s day! ☹ ) You can never replace your fur baby but, you can fill your heart with love for another fur baby!


From the time I spoke with the first human Mommy and was picking Dublin up I did have a few second thoughts. I thought “Wow – what am I doing, a puppy and how this will change my life as it is, having to make sure I was home right away after work, what if I had a medical emergency and could not take care of him the way a puppy deserves, hope that he likes to sleep in late on the weekends – because I do”!! All of this did cross my mind. I did talk with a dear friend and she agreed to help with the Dublin and his sister if there were a medical emergency. The rest would just have to work itself out.


Since I work, I arranged for my neighbor that has 2 children (boy age 7 and a girl age 10) to come over twice a day and take Dublin out to play. I was hoping this would be a perfect match and solution. It was, they all have such a great time at least twice a day!! They all run and play together. Thank God for my awesome neighbors and they are truly the only reason that I was able to have Dublin in my life!! You cannot leave a puppy home all day. Even on days that I work from home, the kids come over and play with Dublin and his sister Charlee. It is a win – win for everyone!


When I arrived at our agreed meeting place it was so exciting as I waited for this new puppy and could not wait to meet him. They drove up next to my car, he was wrapped in a blue little blanket and this was his very first car ride and did great! I jumped out of the car and his first human Mommy handed him to me and it was love at first sight!! My heart was already bursting with just holding all 15 pounds of my sweet Dublin. He nuzzled into my neck and we fit like a glove! He did great on his second car ride to his new forever home.


Dublin had a big sister name Charlee to meet and 2 kitties that also live in his forever home! It was also the day before Easter and lot of family was over that day that were so excited to meet him. It was a busy day for this little guy that day.


Ten things you must know when bringing a new puppy home:

1. Puppy – proof your home (Electric cords, toxic substances, medications)

2. Stock up on toys (A mix of soft toys, treat toys and interactive toys)

3. Establish a Routine (Dogs thrive with structure and routine)

4. Focus on Crate Training (even when they get older, they my not need their crate any longer but, they can’t be unaware of it either. They will be in a crate at an emergency hospital – surgery if needed and the groomer. Prepare them for the crate experience. Dublin is so cute, when I have to leave him, he loves ice cubes and I say “get in your house” and he jumps in there and then it is ice cube treat time!)

5. Create a Housebreaking Plan. (Discussed in this blog)

6. Research Puppy Foods (talk with your veterinarian about their advice).

7. Decide on House Rules

8. Don’t let Bad Behaviors Slide (train the right behavior from the start)

9. Socialization is SO IMPORTANT!

10.Take some time off (just like when the new baby arrives, Mom and Dad have time off, do the same with your new puppy – take some time off to be with the pup and bond with them) (k9ti.org)


Having a new puppy is a huge commitment to yourself and to the puppy. You are in this together! It is more than just feeding the puppy and providing a safe home for the puppy but there is a lot to learn on both of you - the human and the new puppy! I think it is super important for your new puppy to know how much they are loved. I did this by always talking with him, touching and petting him and actually looking into his eyes. I wanted him to know he is loved, is a part of our family and that he was safe. It is so important to touch your new puppy and assure them that you are there for him or her. This will build his love, trust and respect for you. I also learned from a few groomers that is so important to touch the pups feet a lot so when they go to the groomer, they don’t get nervous when they are getting groomed.


You will learn about your pups personality as time goes on and they will learn about you. There is so much to learn for both of you. If you reside alone, then teaching should be consistent methods and if there is more than one, then again maintain consistency for the pup with everything – from feeding to names needed for training like stay, leave it, potty outside, etc. It would be too frustrating for the puppy to have too many changes when learning his role and expectations.


Potty training – that is an art in itself! I liked the bell method. I attached some bells with a hook at his height, about a foot off the ground and every time we went outside, I lifted his paw to ring the bells and then of course said “lets go potty outside”. Again – TALK TO YOU NEW PUPPY! Their bladders are little, so we go outside a lot. Right after waking up, (no messing around first thing in the morning – it is his first order of business – out the door!!), after playing with you or his new siblings and just know – frequently!! If there are accidents and they will happen – you have no one to blame but you with most pups. They can’t open the door and they are relying on you for that! So, you have to really commit to seriously staying on this activity! Success for both of you!! When they actually go out and do their business – it is party time with lots of praises and yahoos!!! The first two weeks Dublin came to his forever home – I lost 4 pounds!!


Sign you and your new pup up for a puppy class to learn the basic skills needed for a lifetime of happiness, love and success. The class maybe called a Puppy Class but, the skills will actually be taught to you so you can teach your new puppy the skills they will need throughout their life. These skills are the fundamentals for success for your new puppy. They just need some guidance, love and consistence to be successful! You made the commitment – you both can do this!


The puppy is like a new baby. You have to keep an eye on them at all times and boy, they are quick! Where there is no noise – beware – danger ahead!! Have lots of toys and treats available and always look for teachable moments. Trust me they are there!! You see your new shoe in your puppy’s mouth – take the shoe and SAY – leave it and immediately replace your shoe with his toy! They are always learning and wanting to make you happy – so teach them!

Leash training is super important so going for a walk is pleasurable and not a struggle. You will learn all the tricks to leash training in your puppy class. I recently learned that if they are not behaving in the manner that you have taught them, you simply stand still and don’t talk with them (I know, I was saying talk to them all the time and now I am saying not to – sorry!), don’t let them drag or pull you and stand still, and they will at some point look at you for instructions and then you can proceed with your walk. They just need instructions and repetition to learn what is expected of them.

Some pups need more information than others and if you are paying attention, you will see what their needs are with the information you are providing. There are many factors to consider as well. Age and maturity plays a key role in their learning and expectations. Don’t compare your 12 week old pup with your 3 year old dog. Not going to work out well. You have to be realistic with your goals and expectations for your pup. Do your best to avoid information overload, they can only handle a few minutes of instruction at a time. Like I said – watch for teachable moments, they are there, I promise!


Find a good Veterinarian in your area. They will be able to help you with information such as the right food for your new puppy, vaccines that are needed and when, when to start with flea and tick products along with heartworm prevention that will be needed for your new puppy. It is a big adventure to the veterinarian that first time – so make it fun for your new fur baby. Lots of touching and holding as well so they feel protected, comfortable and not threatened by being in a new place.


Socializing your puppy – so important! You don’t want them to be afraid of people. Your puppy is an extension of you, so introduce him or her to people that are in your world and take them places with you as much as possible. If they are left behind all of the time, they are not going to feel like part of your family. “Socializing a puppy means that your puppy should be meeting as many new people and animals as possible. It involves exposing your puppy to different environments, sight and sounds, making these experiences as pleasant for your puppy as possible. Proper socialization when young, means that a dog is less likely to develop any behavioral problems. On the other hand, pups who are not socialized properly can often develop fear of aggression issues when they are older. This is particularly the case when the dog is exposed to something new”. Your puppy goes through what is known as a socialization period between the ages of seven weeks and four months.”

(k9ti.org) Also, talk with your veterinarian if your pup is unvaccinated as to when you should start socializing. Also, watch your puppy’s body language – if they are uncomfortable, you will possibly witness shivering, excessively salivating and a submissive posture.k9ti.org) Also, talk with your veterinarian if your pup is unvaccinated as to when you should start socializing. Also, watch your puppy’s body language – if they are uncomfortable, you will possibly witness shivering, excessively salivating and a submissive posture.


It takes consistency and practice!! Lots of praise and you being on your game with your new puppy so he/she can grow into that amazing companion and friend with skill, love and confidence that you have always hoped for! Don’t get me wrong there will be minutes that your brain will say “what were you thinking – a puppy”? And I am pretty sure that Charlee has looked at me a few times the first few days and I know that in her head, she was sending me the same message!! Haha!! But, there is no way that I would have missed the amazing love and fun with my new fur soulmate – Dublin!! Just set the stage as they say and put your whole heart and soul into your new puppy! So much love in return you will receive as well!!

PS - Before you go to pick up your new puppy - advise, go to Costco or Sam's and buy a case of paper towels - you will need them!













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