Are you thinking about getting a puppy? Congratulations! But if you’ve never welcomed a young pup to your family before, there are some things you should know. Here are some things I learned when I adopted my gal Rosie as a puppy.

They have limited bladder and bowel control

I once read that a puppy can control its bladder one hour for every month in age. That would mean a 3-month-old puppy could hold its bladder for three hours. With this in mind, I woke up in the middle of the night for the first few months upon adopting 4-month-old Rosie. I potty trained her within a week, but there were a number of accidents. I remember one night she had diarrhea all over my carpet at 5 a.m. I cleaned it and deep cleaned the carpet. Then she threw up in my bed. You may or may not have an incident this extreme with a puppy, but chances are you’ll have a few restless nights due to their bodily functions. Be forewarned.

They chew

Another funny Rosie story – she once chewed my $80 Mac laptop cord (that wasn’t funny, actually). I’ll also never forget the time I came home and saw her sitting with a mini pumpkin between her front paws. The innards of the pumpkin were strewn across the living room and a seed was hanging out of her mouth. That situation was a bit more comical than the cord.

To put a stop to this madness, I purchased some Bitter Apple, which I sprayed on anything of importance. Rosie caught on quickly and stopped chewing.

They come with personalities

Even as a puppy, Rosie was a firecracker. At five months old, she stood up to a full-grown German shepherd and tried to pick a fight with a bull mastiff. She carries that attitude with her today and seems to think she’s a police dog.

They require playtime – and training

Puppies are full of one thing – energy (OK, they’re also full of poop, so I guess it’s two things). Anyway, you’ve got to exercise them. Unexercised puppies are just a disaster waiting to happen. If they have excess energy, they’ll definitely use that to destroy your favorite sweater. Or dig a hole in your living room carpet. Or bark at the neighbor’s dog all day. But be careful – you shouldn’t over-exert a puppy. Best to wait to run with them or walk long distances until they have fully grown – about 1 year old or so.

You also must train your puppy. I’d suggest enrolling in a puppy kindergarten class. This not only teaches your pup everything they need to know to be an awesome pet, but it helps grow your bond together. You’ll teach them important commands like sit, come, stay and down.

They bite

Puppies play bite. Some learn bite inhibition with humans naturally – but some don’t. Rosie was on the “don’t” side of this spectrum (and still is to an extent). I remember Rosie biting me a lot as a puppy – she was trying to communicate with me or show me that she was happy to see me (this is the same thing she would do to my other dog Daisy). Naturally, dogs bite each other during play – especially young dogs – but they should not be biting you. Make sure to “nip” this in the bud early on.

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