New Dog Owner Tips From A Helicopter Mom

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with dogs. Maybe it was that I grew up in a home that always had a dog or maybe it was all of the Dogs Life magazines I devoured as a kid.

REGARDLESS, I love ‘em all. Short, tall, fluffy, chubby, old, young – you name it, I love it. Ever since I moved to San Francisco (which I call a dog haven), I’ve gotten my fix with petting them at any chance I could get on the street. But a few months ago, the itch to have a pup of my own came on strong.

So, Tom and I chatted with friends who had pups, did some research, and started looking for a dog.

After a few months of looking, we found the cutest little pup named Bolt that we loved – and seemed to like us too! We found him at the amazing Finding A Best Friend Animal Rescue and honestly, I can’t say enough about adopting!

I am obsessed with Bolt, but there was definitely a few learning curves and life adjustments. So, that being said I wanted to share some tips and tricks (and even some things to keep in mind) for new dog owners, people who want to adopt pups, etc:

Adopting a dog is a PROCESS. It takes time and patience. If you’re adopting (which you should absolutely do!) you should brace yourself to look at adoption websites every day, attend to meet and greets, and all that jazz.

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It’s a lifestyle adjustment. But fo’ real.
If I’m being honest, the first week with Bolt was ROUGH. Since I’m a creature of habit and don’t like to be told what to do, it was really hard not to just do whatever I wanted before or after work. Tom and I both realized we made a commitment and have to see it through.

Whether it was waking up at 6:15 in the morning to take him for a walk or come home right after work (no workouts or events), so be it. Even after the first week, I was like, “TOM! SHOULD WE TAKE HIM BACK!?” But seeing his cute little face made me melt and I realized how much we meant to him – and in turn, how much he meant to us. While it’s restricted us from doing certain things, it’s all about planning and being fairly flexible – especially in the first couple of months. It gets better, I promise.

Patience, in general.
Easier said than done, right? I get it, but dogs can sense when you’re anxious, nervous, frustrated and unhappy. More often than not dogs respond best when you’re happy, upbeat and assertive. So, as hard as it may be, whether you’re training, helping him/her sleep through the night in their crate, or anything in between, take a few deep breaths, okuuuur?

Socializing your dog is important!
While you should exercise caution, introducing him to people and other pups will help him grow and get accustomed to life! Whether it’s a daily walk or trips to the dog park, showing him that people and other pups are good will help his behavior in the long run. Reward good behavior with treats and tons of pets.