We got Otto on October 2014. I didn’t know at the time how a puppy would change our life.
I clearly recall being at work while Devin went to pick him up.I was itching to clock out and rush home, knowing what was waiting for me.
Shortly after meeting Otto,and playing and holding him we went to Petco. We bought him a bed, toys, treats, pads and everything we thought he would need…safe to say we spent a small fortune.
The first month was a life adjustment. It was overwhelming at first. We had to constantly watch him.He was running around all over the place, he was chewing on EVERYTHING, and would whine once we left his sight.For a month all our attention and focus was on Otto. He would sleep in the room with us (keep in mind puppies get scare and nervous in a new place and new people. Try setting the bed in the bedroom with you until it gets adjusted)
Luckily at the time our schedule was able to have someone with Otto at all times. Once he was more settled and got used to the new place and just more comfortable it was easier to find the right balance.
A small collection of toys: Dogs do get bored of toys quickly, but I do notice that there a couple that that get play with more than others. With that said, it’s a good idea to switch it up for their brain stimulation.
Dog Bed: Now you dont need a huge bed. Especially for a puppy. The bed grows with the dog. We got Otto a small bed at first, and we would upgrade the bed as we went along.
A crate: Crate training is ideal in my opinion. We started crate training Otto so we could keep him from peeing in the house while we were gone. We placed a bed in there with some puppy pads( we got a big crate so he could have plenty space) and we would soothe and distract him with treats or toy when we would go out.But now he is more than okay to roam free around the house while were out of the house. The crate area is now a time-out area.
Potty Pads and Urine Cleaner: Toilet training Otto was no easy task. Make sure wherever your dog pees in the rug or carpet or anywhere to really clean the area and get all the urine odor out, or they will forever think thats there “potty spot,” If you live where you dont have a yard to let your dog out, consider making a spot their “potty spot” If you live in apartments with a patio place puppy pads in a corner. That way the puppy will learn the designated area to do it’s business. Keep in mind the”general thumb rule” The amount of hours a dog can hold it is the years of dog + 1. EX Otto is 2 yr old so 2+1=3hrs. If you think your dog has to go outside don’t hesitate to take it out..
Harness: A harness is a great idea. I prefer them to regular leashes. They’re more comfortable and they’re great for tugging. Otto is complete useless walking on a leash. He has to stop and sniff at everything, he gets to exited and tries running off. A harness works wonders.
The Vet: Finding a vet for me was a process. I probably googled and yelped all the vets in my town. I asked family and friends about the vets they go to. Once you find a vet that you and your dog are comfortable with it’s important to keep up with check ups and shots. Otto has 1 checkup a year, maybe 2 just to make sure he’s healthy and that his shots are up to date.I highly recommend getting your dog micro shipped. It’s not expensive and its just a good precaution to have in case he runs off or if some one takes him, you can track them down. You can learn so much from your vet. From how much to feed your dog, ideal weight for your dog, what is a good diet for dog, any health concerns with your dog breed and so so so much more. I will also suggest to get your dog used to being handled from the beginning. Touch their ears, their paws their mouth, tails, nails…your vet and groomer will thank you.
Puppy Classes: Anytime someone tells me they are getting a puppy the first thing i tell them is to get PUPPY CLASSES! Sometimes you can find puppy sessions from your vet. Just ask! You get a lot of benefits from puppy classes. It helps you train basic tricks like sit and lay down.They teach you what to train, when to train and how to train. Teaches you about dog behavior and how to react to bad behavior. And great tips like making sure the WHOLE household is on the same page when training your dog. We did a lot of positive reinforcement. When Otto would go to the restroom outside or when he would sit or roll over we would cheer and clap. I know there are breeds of dogs that are food- oriented. Otto was definitely one so we would reward him with treats while being careful not to over treat.
Training treats that we used were small bits of cooked chicken, Bits of steam brocolli and baby carrots. Mainly the idea is “small but delicious”. You can use big treats just break them off into smaller pieces. Make sure that you balance the treats and food because again you don’t want to over feed.
Some tricks that Otto knows are sit;lay down; wait and leave it and roll over. Wait and leave it were important for me to teach him because i didnt want him getting into thing that could potentially be harmful to him. And wait because i got some advice from a friend, basically you want wait in case he gets to excited and wants to run off. And teach him to wait for his food because you don’t want him to rush toward a bowl of food especially if there are other dogs around(some dogs can get aggressive with their food) and that way Otto waits for my okay.
Socialize: You want to get your dog socialized with other dogs. Be careful to socialize NOT traumatize.A bad experience can really stress out your dog in the future. Otto was attacked by a pitbull last summer and to this day he gets skittish when he’s surrounded by big dogs.You dont want to overwhelm your dog. Introduce them with new experiences slowly. Like swimming. Some dogs love the water if yours doesnt try introducing it in steps. Otto wouldnt get in the water without us. Slowly but surely he got in.I would play fetch with him, but each time I would throw the stick farther in the water. He only goes where he could touch the ground though.
Seperation Anxiety: When we first got Otto he did suffer a bit from separation anxiety. We worked on getting him used to being alone. We found some ways to comfort Otto. Dont’t make a big deal before when leaving your dog(no kisses goodbye)and dont make it a big deal when you return We left one of our throw blankets in his bed (you can use any clothing…just make sure it smells like you)We also used the radio as a safety cue that we would be back.
Bath Time: Otto hates bath time. I usually give him his bath in the kitchen sink.I think the bathtub is too big that it actually scares him, and its a lot easier since the kitchen sink has an attachment. But when I do give him baths in the bathtub i fill in the tub,(just until the water hits his belly) and I do not have the water running.I think the noise startles him. I always finish bath time with a treat. Some dogs love bath, mine simply does not.
Schedule: Okay so I know people that dont necessarily follow a schedule, but we do.We find it makes our life a whole lot easier. Devin and I are both working graveyard at the moment and this is our schedule.
5am-6am: Devin gets home, and lets him out potty. Sometimes theyll go straight to bed or hang out at the house.
730am: I get home and ill take him for his morning walk. Otto is a small doggy and doesnt need long walks.
800am-845am: We leave out his breakfast for 45 minutes. (be careful to not free-feed, dogs will eat just because they’re bored and they are higher risk to become overweight)
After that we usually hang out at the house and most of the time we take him out with us, only if wont have to stay in the car by himself…in that case we just leave him home.
7pm: we give him a second walk. And again just a quick 15 -20 min. walk. and ill put out his dinner for 45 mins.
11pm: Devin takes him out potty one last time before leaving for work.
And again…i know lots and lots of people who dont have a schedule. But what works for us doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
He is such a character, he loves to cuddle. Hes genuinely my best friend. I cant even imagine my life without him. My house feels empty when hes not there. Taking care of a dog or a pet is such hard work but I would do it over again 100%. It’s like i dont know what I would do if i didn’t have Otto. We just consider ourselves lucky for having this amazing member of our family.