The Dog Days of Winter

Are you ready for some football? Or baseball, it doesn’t really matter. Any ball that we throw, Dunkin is happy to fetch. It's Superbowl Sunday and I’m happy to have a furry friend to watch with. The dog days of winter are typically known to be cold and dark...but this dog is bringing warmth (nothing like a fluffy dog to sit on your feet and keep you warm) and joy to my life.

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I didn’t always want a dog…but my son and husband did. As the story goes, my son begged for a brother but there were no guarantees. It was too risky to end up with another sister (he already had two...), but a boy dog, that we could do.

Like everything else in my life, I couldn’t just jump in and buy the first cute dog I saw in the pet shop as tempting as it was. I did however visit and find myself cuddling with quite a few.

I researched breeds and breeders, spoke to friends with dogs and stopped people on the street to ask about their dogs.

I visited a friend's home who has a dog from one of the breeders we were considering for a few hours to test my daughter's potential allergic reaction (she has reacted to certain dogs in the past) and thankfully she was clear!

I spoke to more breeders, put myself on wait lists, and filled out applications that made the Manhattan pre-school admissions process seem short.

Finally, six months later, Dunkin was on his way to meet us from Tampa, FL, flying with a companion from our breeder Moss Creek GoldenDoodles because I couldn’t bear the thought of putting him under the plane in a crate.

Now, for those of you who are dog owners this isn’t a news flash but for those who are thinking about it or perhaps romanticizing how lovely it will be to have a dog, let me give you the good, the bad and the ugly.

Puppy World

  • A puppy is a baby who does not wear a diaper! And never will.
  • A puppy is a baby who will never feed himself.
  • A puppy will drive you crazy when they bark every time a squirrel runs past your window or door.
  • A puppy will make you wonder what goes on inside their head.
  • A puppy will look at you with a sweet face and proceed to have an accident on your brand-new carpet.
  • A puppy will make you think about dropping them off at the nearest pet shelter after the 25th accident.
  • A puppy will also never give you attitude.
  • A puppy will never yell at you or call you “the worst Mom ever”.
  • A puppy will find you when you’re sad and sit beside you.
  • A puppy will stand guard at your bed when you’re sick and protect you.
  • A puppy will run up to greet you, tail wagging when you come home even after just 20 minutes.
  • A puppy will love you unconditionally and provide so much love and happiness that you never knew possible.
  • A puppy will make you fall in love. I never planned on it, I resisted it, but it happened.

There are a few things I did to make it easier and can hopefully help you navigate puppy world.

Eliminate Puppy Odor

One of my biggest fears was that my house would smell like a dog.

You know when you walk into a home and it just has that not-so-fresh dog smell? Well, I was terrified of that. I decided that if the dog smells good, the house will smell good.

Dunkin gets weekly baths and shampoos (vet approved) and I have a spray conditioner for in-between baths and blowouts.

Buddy Splash Lavender Spray is like dry shampoo for fur, it's a wet spray but conditions the fur and frees your pet from “D.O.”. Yes, doggie odor is a thing. True to their slogan, Buddy Splash can take your dog from scruffy to fluffy.

If you have a doodle, you likely know they need to be brushed. Their fur can get knotted if you don’t care for it properly the only way to fix it is to shave. The only way to fix it is to shave. Some owners prefer a shaved pup, but for me it's all about the fluff. The more fur, the more to snuggle with. Dunkin is 44 pounds of which 20 is fur!

Potty Time

Walking the dog is great for exercise but when it's pouring or snowing and the dog needs to go do his business and you don’t feel like walking him, it's a pain! We set up a spot outside our side door that lets him out easily and he can take care of business without having to go too far.

We put a small gate around it so in the beginning, while he was being trained, we could leave him there to do his thing safely while we watched and cheered him on with treats.

Now he runs in and out to his spot easily. Some people find wee wee pads the way to go and for smaller dogs, that could work, but Dunkin is a bigger dog and bigger dogs mean big business to clean up after….so we wanted to keep it outside, always.

And while we’re talking about potty time….Mutt Mitts are another essential.

Thanks to my friend Rachel, and Dunkin’s sister’s Mom who shared her secret with me on how to pick-up after your dog without a mess (most of the time). These are double lined bags, thicker at the base with a spot to put your hand so you have extra protection when scooping.

Another thing we did was put in an invisible fence which creates a space where your dog can have freedom and safety at the same time.
Once installed, the company provided training and with one session, in one hour Dunkin knew not to run into the street.

We also put the invisible fence by our staircases so he couldn’t get into trouble in any rooms that could pose danger to him (or our stuff).

We also enlisted the help of a trainer, but reinforcement at home was key. One great reinforcement tool is this little can of air called “Pet Corrector”. Puppies don't love it but it works! We sprayed it once…. after that if he saw the can and he stopped whatever mischief he was getting into.

Doggie Decor

While very much like a baby, his colorful toys have taken over parts of our house, his bed was the one place I wanted to keep neutral and classy. I loved this dog bed before I even had a dog, I would peruse the Frontage catalog and always notice it, so when we got Dunkin, I knew it was time to order it.

This bowl is another favorite of mine. It can be a great gift to give a new doggie in your life and for the friend who appreciates a cleaner aesthetic for everything, including the dog’s dinnerware.

Lower doggie dining model bowls for smaller dogs at Dish It Out NY.
Larger doggie dining bowls for bigger dogs available on Current Home NY.
Also, these are fun and cute treat canisters.

Bark Box

Just like us, dogs like to get gifts.

I signed up for a subscription to Bark Box, a monthly service that sends a combination of seasonally themed toys and treats for your dog. He loves almost everything in his box. He actually waits eagerly every time we open a box because he thinks it's his Bark box and if he sits nicely his new toys and treats will come.

Hands Free Leash

This leash comes in so handy when you’re out for a walk but need your hands free to adjust air pods or scoop poop. Although in the first 6-9 months, you will likely want to hold the leash; it comes with a handle so you can have both options.

Harness

We learned that this was a necessity after Dunkin managed to slip out of his collar and bolt down a busy street when he got startled on a walk with friends who were puppy sitting. Thankfully, he was close to home, and someone up above was watching over him to make sure he made it across safely. He ran home and waited on the porch until we got there. Dogs are so smart! Our friends went and bought a harness and from that point on we don't go for walks without it!

It also makes it easier in the beginning when they just want to stop and sniff every branch to help them stay on the path you want and so you can walk the dog instead of the dog walking you.

For those who appreciate Canine Couture

Every dog in a cold climate needs a Canada Pooch to keep warm.

Haute Dignity Dog makes the cutest toys that are spoofs on designer goods. Perfect for the friend / dog owner who would love to share their love of designer accessories. You can find Jimmy Chews and Chewy Vuittons, perfect kind of shoes for teething puppies and Barkin Bags. There are also fun foodie items like White Paw, Kennel One and Grrrona Dog Perrignon drinks for the pup (or owner) who appreciates a stocked bar.

Most importantly, enjoy the unpredictable ride and get to know the puppy world better. There will be times that you will wonder why you agreed to get this dog in the first place, but that too, shall pass, especially when he’s snuggling with you on the couch, while you watch football, or just the halftime show as I will be doing tonight, and wondering what your family was even like before you ever got him.

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Read more about the puppy world and my best friend, Dunkin the GoldenDoodle.

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