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Puppies: there’s the dream. (Awwww! Soooooo cute!!!!!!!)
And there’s the reality. (ACK!!!! What was I THINKING????)
My husband and I will have been married thirty years, this August, and those thirty years have held lots of joy, and four puppies. So, we know a thing or two about puppies, and how to survive having one.
First off, we know that the conniving little things sucker you in with all the cuteness.
Because if they weren’t so cute, within a few weeks of bringing those little terrorists into the midst of your home, you’d surely get rid of them.
“WHAT???” you’re thinking!!!! “Oh, what a bad, bad pet owner you are!” you might be saying. Nay, my friends! I’m a realist, who is in the thick of it, again, and who will tell it to you like it is! “And what ~IS~ this truth that needs to be told?” you ask?
It is this: puppies have two speeds, and those speeds are “On”, and “Off”.
And when they’re “On”?
Katie, Bar The Door, and Put Up The Puppy Gate! A Practically PerPETual Motion Chewing Machine is about to rip through your house, and all your treasured belongings! Things you never knew were precious to you, will soon lie in tatters on the floor, and all because you foolishly gave way to the seductive idea of what you THOUGHT might be a stolen moment of peace and quiet.
Let me tell you something, future puppy owners, and promise me you’ll remember it, and not after it’s too late: BEWARE THE QUIET MOMENTS!!!
Unless you have your eyes ON the puppy, and are assured All’s Quiet On The Puppy Front, you cannot trust the quiet!!!
The Dog Formerly Known as Cute will suddenly become Jack (or Jackie) the Ripper.
And that shoe…that you loved….will be nothing but a chalked-in silhouette on the floor, with little Xs for eyes, if you catch my drift.
If you are, as I am, a true dog lover, you’ve gotta have a plan! And I have just the plan you need to survive those first few weeks of Getting to Know You. My friends Ginny, and Lisa, and Robin, each showed me love by bringing me/sending me portions of what I would need for a Puppy Survival Kit, and I’m going to virtually share some ideas with you, for what was actually shared with me, Gentle Readers.
What will you AND the Puppy-O’-Your-Heart need to survive living with each other those first few weeks of Getting to Know each other?
Every puppy is different. Some have marked preferences for toys that are soft. Some prefer things that bounce. Some breeds are mouthier than others (can you say Labrador? I thought you could!) and need to be constantly chewing. And what *you* DON’T want is to become their own personal chew-bone, yourself, am I right? Some dogs live to chase things. Some seem to live to squeak a squeaker. Some just want something soft to cuddle, to nap with and nurture. And some live for Tug-of-War. But it’s up to you, the loving pet owner, to learn your pet’s preferences.
Frankly, my dog, Gus, hasn’t met a type of toy he DOESN’T like! It just depends on his mood, whether he wants to chew, or throttle, gnaw, tug, or chase.
So arm yourself with the following things, and either offer it to your own puppy, or, as my friends did, offer it as a gift to someone you know who is *getting* a puppy, tied up like a cute hobo pack. The gifts sent to and given to me were not only thoughtful, they were lifesavers! Or at least finger, wrist, toe, and ankle savers.
How to Make a Puppy Survival Kit:
1. Something to Chew
2. Something to Tug
3. Something to Chase
4. Something to Cuddle
5. Something to Squeak
- Something to Chew: we had lots of chewbone toys, and even one that came with a rubber holder on the end, that squeaked! Empty water bottles can also be a perfect diversion, and you can even try putting some dog treats inside one, to see if your dog is smart enough to work out a solution for extracting the treats.
- Something to Tug: I’m talking about those braided rope tug toys. You won’t believe how cute some of them are! I love the one my friend Ginny gave me: you can see in the foreground of this photo. It has lots of cords with various textures hanging out of it the knot that is right below the handle. It’s almost shaped like a mop head (the handle has little blue dog bones on the green ribbon).
- Something to Chase: our dog’s dad had “high ball drive”, so we knew that ours would likely love to chase a ball, too. He really does! The little red puppy size ball that my friend Lisa brought to Gus also has a squeaker inside: BONUS!
- Something to Cuddle: it’s amazing how much our puppy loves a huge stuffed lamb we got him. (Anyone remember LambChop the puppet?) In the beginning, Lambchop was almost as big as he was! But Gus is growing so fast, that now, he really loves carrying Lambchop around, and making the squeakers in all four lamb limbs squeak!
- Something to Squeak: I don’t know if all German Shepherds love their squeaky toys as much as my two have loved theirs, but squeaking toys bring my dog a lot of joy!
That cute little bandana hobo pack that Lisa brought her gifts in served a dual purpose: it acted both as gift wrap/packaging but the stick has also become Gus’ favorite chew toy! You won’t be surprised to learn that like any human toddler, he was most enchanted by the “box” his present came in! That stick has survived, and is still his favorite teething toy.
As a responsible dog owner, you’ll also need to choose “Something to Eat” for your puppy, so that he/she can survive, and thrive, throughout his puppyhood, and on into his/her adult life. When we took Gus to the vet, to get his puppy shots, the vet mentioned that because Gus is a German Shepherd, she wanted us to feed him a variety of puppy food made specifically for large breeds. At that point, we’d already purchased his first bag of puppy food, which wasn’t specifically for large breeds, so our vet suggested we transition him over to a new variety by mixing the one we already had purchased with a new variety for large breeds, (in a ratio of half to half), to allow his system to adjust to the new variety.
We were happy to learn that Purina One Smartblend® has a puppy food variety made especially for large breed dogs: Purina One Smartblend® Large Breed Puppy Formula Premium Dog Food.
I can tell you that from the first bite of his new food, Gus has been gobbling his kibble with an eagerness that astounded us! Real Chicken is the first ingredient on the bag, and it’s blended with other high-quality protein sources that help support strong muscles and a healthy heart. It also has Omega-6 to support his coat and skin, glucosamine for a larger dog’s joints, and rice, for a puppy’s more delicate digestive system.
We found it at our local Target, which has an amazing variety of Purina dry dog food products available in their pet aisle. They also have, in the Pet Care section, a terrific variety of toys you might want to choose for your Puppyhood Survival Kit!
We purchased the bag of Purina One Smartblend Large Breed Puppy Formula Premium Dog Food using Target’s Cartwheel App, which I downloaded to my phone.
Cartwheel has all kinds of discounts on various products that are carried at Target, and during the month of March, it has discounts on Purina brands of dry dog food.
As you can see, Gus is surviving his puppyhood beautifully, and my, hasn’t he grown in five weeks? He’s eleven weeks old now: almost old enough for his first puppy obedience class! I have no doubt I’ll be updating you in posts to come, because Gus seems to have developed quite a fan club, and I’m sure he’ll want to keep his public satisfied!
If you’d like to connect with Purina, here are some links to their pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. On this page at Target.com, you can see the wide selection of Purina products they carry. And if you’d be so kind as to pin my little tutorial for a Puppy Survival Kit on Pinterest, well, I’d be much obliged.
Here’s a pinterest ready pic for you!