post image

Puppy Diaries, Entry #4: Memorable Firsts With Our New Pup

Dear Diary,
Being a first-time pup mom, there are few things that happen that AREN’T somehow surprising. I can’t count the number of times my family has heard me ask, “She’s doing WHAT now?” To a pup, everything is NEW! And EXCITING! When she first arrived home, Sommer would perk up if a leaf blew across the yard. “What’s that? I must chase it!” she’d think, and off she’d go, in hot pursuit. The day she came across a pine cone on the trail where we walk was an equally exciting discovery, and an object to be sniffed at length. A pup’s enthusiasm as she discovers the world around her is contagious, and I found myself looking forward to introducing her to new situations and objects, just to see her delighted reaction.

As the first year continues, the “firsts” are fewer and farther between, in part because we are beginning to discern behavior patterns and develop routines. As a result, we are experiencing fewer surprises. Still, Sommer continues to push boundaries as she gets older and wiser. Having had ample time to observe the ways of her “pack,” she continues to try to move up in the pack ranking, and test our resolve. Some of that behavior has created new “firsts,” such as the first time she tried to grab food off the kitchen counter when I had my back turned. There are also still “firsts” related to the calendar, and to milestones: first Christmas; first snow; first shot at the veterinarian. But mostly, as we continue through the first year, some of my favorite firsts have to do with seeing her overcome her fears and improve her behavior through training. The first time she walked successfully on a leash past another dog without being scared felt like a major milestone, as was the first time she sat on her dog bed when the doorbell rang and waited for our guest to come to the dog bed to greet her. Those firsts were hard-won, so it’s nice that there are also simpler “firsts” that didn’t take long to achieve, such as the first time she jingled the string of bells I hung on our front door, to tell us she needs to go outside. It’s such a joy watching her learn, grow and discover the world around her.

My Top Five: Puppy Firsts

The list of first-year “firsts” is long, so I’ve culled it down to my top five – some good, some bad, but all memorable. They will all go down in our family lore!

Next entry from Puppy Diaries: Our First Pup Emergency

Pup Tips: Live Easier and Smarter

What I Learned (The Hard Way)
You are the center of your pup’s world. Never leave unless you are 100 percent certain that someone is giving your pup their full attention. If you can’t be certain, it’s better to crate her or put in a secure location – whatever your routine has been. If you fail to heed this advice, it’s entirely possible that your pup will panic, and soil your carpeting, chew up something you value, or otherwise get into trouble.

Lessons Learned from My Vet
Our vet advised getting a regular grooming routine started early, including bathing. The sooner you acclimate your pup, the less she will resist. And while bath time might never become her favorite, but it’s a lot easier to tolerate when it’s simply a part of her routine.

My Favorite Puppy Articles
It’s surprising how quickly you forget the many “firsts” in a pup’s life. Record them with a photo. Learn how to take the perfect pup photo here.

Take time to learn how to groom your pup properly, so it’s as enjoyable as possible for you both. Learn more about grooming your pup here.

Puppy Diary Series: Sit, Stay, Play

Join our resident Pup Mom on her puppy parenthood journey in our Puppy Diaries Series.

Puppy Age: 0-8 Weeks
Puppy Diaries #1: Deciding To Get A New Puppy (0-8 weeks)
Puppy Age: 8-12 Weeks
Puppy Diaries #2: Picking Up Our New Pup and Bringing Her Home (8-12 weeks)
Puppy Age: 12-16 Weeks
Puppy Diaries #3: Caring For And Training our New Pup (12-16 Weeks)
Puppy Age: 16-20 Weeks
Puppy Diaries #4: Memorable Firsts With Our New Pup (16-20 weeks)
Puppy Age: 20-24 Weeks
Puppy Diaries #5: Our First Pup Emergency (20-24 weeks)

About Puppy Diaries

Puppy Diaries is an ongoing series that explores the journey of pet parenthood, from making the decision to get a puppy, to bringing a puppy home, to the joys and struggles of training, and beyond. Laura Tiebert, our resident Pup Mom, is an experienced nonfiction writer and first-time puppy parent who lives in Minnesota with her husband, two sons and new puppy.