We are going on two months since we’ve brought our little bundle of fur home and we love her so unbelievably much but also kind of wish there was a way to leave her on read. Since we are first time dog owners, we’ve done a lot of research and are just learning as we go along with her crazy antics and how to train her properly. But we’ve stumbled across a few head scratchers along the way.
1. Unsolicited Advice
The amount of strangers that feel the need to share their input when we never asked is astounding. If it’s this bad with a dog, I’ll probably be screaming fire in their faces when I have a human baby.
A lot of times, nothing in particular happens. Our little pup will run over and say hi to people and all they do is look at her and say, “You know what might help?” Like, what? You already know something is wrong with her just by looking at her?
2. The use of the word “No”
I’ve come across some articles as well as demanding comments from dog parents that you should never say, “No” to your dog.
These are probably the same people who don’t say no to their kids and their kids are assholes. They throw articles out there debunking this idea that “no” is a good way to teach your dog not to climb on furniture or chew on the rug or pee in the house. Do I think it’s the number one thing that helps? Absolutely not since my pup tends to just stare at me. But if I say it enough and gear her to a proper toy to chew, she will eventually get it. There are times I say it when she’s about to do something bad, and she turns and does something else. IT WORKS PEOPLE.
3. The term “alpha” is out
I found this on reddit and it killed me. Someone mentioned doing scheduled meals rather than free feeding because then you’re dog knows that YOU are the one in charge and feeds them. If they free feed, they don’t have to work for something and won’t have an incentive to learn certain commands like “sit”. There are many google articles and even word of my mouth that tells you to teach your dog who’s the “alpha” in the house and it should be you. Then someone else commented absolutely horrified of the use of the word “alpha” and that this idea has been proven to not work. That a bond between parent and dog should be trust, not who’s in charge and who’s not.
I’m convinced all the dog parents of this generation are on crack. Should you and your dog trust one another? Yes. Does it end there? No, in my opinion it doesn’t. I believe your dog should know that you run the house, not them. Once again, just like children. So you’re telling me you’re not the authority figure in the house to your child? That child is probably another asshole. I guarantee you, those dogs raised like that still probably think that parent is in charge, but this mindset just helps the parent sleep at night.
4. The parents who expect every dog to be fully trained by 4 months
For the most part, our 4 month old pup is doing really well. Not fully house-trained, but peeing in the house MAYBE once a day, all though some days she doesn’t at all and those are little victories. She does well off-leash in the parks but we still watch her like a hawk. If we tell people we are still working on house training, they do this awkward, “Hm…really. Ours was fully trained by 3 months so you better get a handle on that.” OH OKAY KAREN. GOOD FOR YOU.
5. Adopt Don’t Shop
There is a level of shame for some parents who ended up buying their puppy rather than going to the local animal shelter. I get it. There are millions of unwanted dogs who need homes. However, all of the animal shelters I’ve ever been to have snubbed me away even though I’m a perfectly good candidate. You work? Aww shoot, they want you home all day with the dog, even though they want to make sure you have a good income. You live in an apartment and not a house? Not good enough.
They seem to come up with some pretty ridiculous reasons to not give a dog a home. Of course they should screen everyone because the last thing they want is for them to go into the hands of another abuser. But if a newly married couple is happily coming in and they both have an income, they come off as responsible, caring, and ask questions, they are more than likely going to be good dog owners. Before we got our puppy, we checked out the animal shelter and really liked this greyhound named Ellis. When we asked someone at the desk about the dog and his temperament, we are accused of “shopping” and that this is an “animal shelter where we adopt”. The guy refused to tell us anything about the dog unless we filled out an application. Needless to say we didn’t go back and ended up at a breeders house less than an hour later picking out our puppy.
Please share with me some things you learned as a first time dog owner!