Advice for First Time Dog Parents

If you know one thing about me beyond the beauty world, it’s that I’m beyond obsessed with my dog. I’ve always grown up with dogs, and grew up extremely close with all my parents dogs. So naturally when Jon and I got a dog, most who knew me personally knew that I would be “that crazy dog mom.” Our pups name is Endigo, he’s a 10 month F1 golden doodle. We literally call him Digo all the time, and to be honest I only call him Endigo when people ask me what his name is or when I’m having a hard time getting his attention.

He was actually a huge surprise to me, and if you guys are interested in that story I can definitely share it another time. We brought him home when he was a little under 3 months old and is currently around 65 pounds and is maybe 6 inches shorter than me lol. So when I say he’s like a huge baby, he truly is.

I get asked alot on tips and advice on raising your first dog, and I put together some of my most commonly asked questions for anyone to use as a guide. But I wanted to put a LARGE disclaimer out there just saying that I am not a professional pet caretaker, nor am I a vet. These are just what’s worked best for Jon and I. I am in no way saying my way of raising Digo is best, as I still somedays don’t know what i’m doing. He’s almost a year old, and actually as I type this today, I had a rougher day with him and felt defeated just because with this quarantine we are both adjusting to being home all day everyday lol.

FIRST NIGHT

So like I said, Digo was a complete surprise to me, so I was in shock for the first like 48 hours lol. But when we did get him from the breeder, he was of course a little shy and scared. He broke out of his shell quickly but at first he was pretty shy just in general which is very normal. Back to the first night though, yeah Digo literally drooled the whole way home lol. I sat in the backseat with him and he panted and drooled all over me the three hour drive back but I didn’t mind in the slightest- my priority was making sure he felt as safe and comfortable. We just made sure to give him as much love, comfort and patience as possible while he got use to us, which luckily didn’t take long. By the next day, he was already way more use to us.

Our first pic💕
Night one🐾

Now I had Jon help me with this blog post. Since I had no idea we were getting a dog he had to make sure we had the essentials for him on night one. After talking with him while I was in the process of getting this post around, we agreed that you don’t need everything on night one. It actually helped us that we just had the essentials, so then as we got to know him and his exact needs, it helped us know what exactly to get him. Night one, all we had was a leash, a crate, a collar, dog food, a food and water bowl and a couple toys.

The next day we woke up and went to the pet store and got shampoo and conditioner, more toys, bones, treats, a brush, and pet cleaning spray. He smelled like litter when we brought him home so I was dying to give him a bath lol. We took him on a walk the first night, the next morning and I think that evening too, just to get him use to walking on his leash and to the environment.

CRATE TRAINING

This truly depends on the dog. Every dog reacts differently to it’s crate especially when they’re young, nervous because they’re getting to know you, and scared because like what part of the crate looks comforting?! Lol I struggled at first with the crate I’m not going to lie, because I hated hearing him cry putting him in there and he would fight it so much. But my biggest advice is to be persistent. I had to keep telling myself that it’s the safest thing for him when we’re gone working or sleeping, and push through his sad cries. We personally don’t leave any toys, blankets or bones in his crate, but if that works better for your pup definitely try it!

Another big tip is praise. We would trick Digo into getting in his crate by throwing little treats in there, them praising him for it and giving him another one once when we closed the door. We made it his little spot, and we put his crate in a corner of the apartment by his food and water bowl, he has his basket of toys nearby, and his daybed close by too- so it’s like his little corner and we don’t sit over there unless we’re playing with him.

When you find a routine for him and his crate and stick to it, a lot of dogs work the best with structure, and they’ll be better about their crates too. With us and Digo, we made it just apart of his day, and he definitely had and still does have harder times going in there, but nothing like what he was when he was little. Your dog may start to associate his crate to you guys leaving and if that makes them act up too, if you put him in there and stay home even just for him to take a nap or something, that helped us with getting Digo to realize his crate was ‘his safe space’ not a punishment spot.

Once when he realized he was a good boy for going in the crate and it was his little area, he got much better. We also got a crate cover, which helped out a ton. The one we got has zippers and some screen spots on it too so there’s not a worry about him not getting enough air whatsoever. Crate covers are soothing for dogs, and give a quiet and relaxing environment in their crates-going along with the ‘safe space’ atmosphere we wanted Digo to have.

Crate cover unzipped
Crate cover zipped
Window screen area open
Window screen closed

POTTY TRAINING

Ah, we love this topic lol. This is another thing that I just recommend staying persistent on, and just understanding the first few weeks there may be accidents. Jon definitely stayed in him on potty training way more than I did, and I think that just related back to the fact that I was more laid back with him because my mom and dads shih-tzu wasn’t truly fully potty trained until she was like 2- yeah she’s really stubborn lol.

Jon kept Digo on a strict potty schedule and learned his signs that showed he was about to potty. Some of those were sniffing, pacing, and walking in circles. And of course after he went outside, he did a lot of praising too.

Digo was honestly potty trained within 2-3 weeks though, and that’s because he loves being outside. He will fake that he has to go potty just so we can take him outside.

TEETHING

This one I struggled with the most lol, big dogs when teething can bite so hard! Especially since all I’ve grown up are shih-tzus pretty much, who’s bites are nothing compared to doodles. We had problems with Digo biting us and the furniture and shoes a little, but luckily he didn’t bite at anyone else. I’m still not sure why he didn’t, but I was more than okay with it.

Our lifesaver for teething was bitter apple spray. Spraying this on your household items is safe for them, but leaves behind a bitter yet harmless taste for dogs which will help discouraging chewing. It’s safe on all household items, plants, pets and humans and it’s non toxic. Plus it really did help keep our furniture safe.

Bully sticks were great as well for teething, and we still get these for him because they help keep him occupied too! They’re single ingredient chews that are safe for any breeds. They’re good for healthy gums, clean teeth, healthy coats, strong muscles, are nutritional and give optimal brain function.

SOCIALIZATION

Jon and I both knew we wanted to keep Digo as social as we can. With our crazy work schedules, we didn’t want him always confined to his crate hours on end everyday. He’s such a friendly dog and comes with energy. Luckily, the apartment Jon’s in has a dog park that we taken him to a few times a week, and normally walk him daily. We also take him to doggy daycare, which I get made fun of a lot for it, but I truly don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have a daycare to take him to. We take him 1-2 days a week, and he gets play time in with other dogs his size, which he needs because if it weren’t for daycare, he wouldn’t hardly ever be able to play with any dogs his size.

Daycare also helps to keep his energy leveled out at home. With Jon being in a small 1 bedroom apartment and Digo being now at 65 pounds, we don’t have a ton of room or a fenced in yard or a tie out to let him run all over, so for us daycare was really important. We found the perfect daycare near where Jon lives that is affordable, they’re so great with dogs and we can tell they love Digo and care for him so much which is very important to me to leave him with people we trust. I honestly feel better when he’s left there for the day than if he’s in his crate all day. It’s so sweet to pick him up at the end of the day and be able to tell how much fun he had.

Not everyone has to do daycare obviously, but learn your dog and ask your vet what’s best recommended for their social lifestyle. With our situation and Digo’s breed, it was vet recommended and like I just said, it’s definitely the best for him!

That’s all I’m going to talk about for today, this post is already a lot longer than what I thought lol. I hope giving our experience helps out my fellow puppy parents out there! Let me know any questions or if there are any other pup topics you want me to talk about! If you can tell I can go on about dogs forever lmao.

Until next time! XO’s💋