I’m three weeks in as a puppy owner. Here’s some of what I’ve learned to date.
People often say that getting a puppy is a gateway to having children. Perhaps it’s a gateway to children if you a masochist. One trip to PetSmart is not as horrifying as a trip to Babies “R” Us, but it is close.
The amount of bric-a-brac made for pets today is staggering, hilarious, and sort of depressing. I get that people love their dogs, but these type of stores cater to the casual dog owner and absolute weirdos.
The first order of business after getting your dog is to set up the collar, complete with custom bone-shaped name tag. Pet stores offer training classes, and the trainer on duty will corner you while the little engraving machine etches in the details. It’s a trap. If you don’t like being pressure-sold goods and services, order yours online.
Be sure to have enough bags for poop. You’d think your stash of grocery bags saved over the course of the month will be enough for a while, but you’d be wrong. It’ll be tapped dry within days.
The biodegradable (save the earth! free tibet!) bags sold at pet stores are kind of expensive. 100 for $5? Forget that noise. Do what I did and go to CostCo or the Restaurant Depot and get take-out bags. I got 1,000 for about $12 — about a fifth of the cost.
Likewise, in our efforts to save the earth, incandescent flashlights are now going out of style. We’re stuck with the new, supposedly improved LED flashlights that — like new car headlights — will blind you (or the dog) temporarily with the harnessed power of the sun when they make direct contact with your eyes. I’ve resorted to using a poop bag as a lantern of sorts, holding the flashlight in the bag (sans poop) as we walk around to mute its blinding glow.
Kongs are good for about a 10 minute distraction with puppies. Yes, they make puppy-sized Kongs, but their little mouths aren’t powerful enough to squeeze treats out of the toy. If they can’t get it out within a few minutes, they’ll lose interest — unlike destroying carpet. What do the carpet manufacturers know that dog toy makers do not?
In an effort to post fewer pictures of Gus on social media, lest I be a hypocrite for complaining about baby/engagement/wedding photos — I’ve set up a page here where you can see Gus if you’re not in D.C. and don’t want to volunteer to be a dog watcher.