Dear PoP – What do I Need to Know about Owning a Puppy?

Photo by PoPville flickr user sciascia

“Dear PoP,

I am adopting a puppy soon and was hoping your readers could help me out with recommendations. I am new to having a dog, so I need all the help I can get. I need recommendations for everything – vets, groomers, dog walkers, doggy daycare, kennels/boarding, anything and everything will be helpful to me. I live in Columbia Heights, but I do have a car.

PS. Where does Ernie hangout? I am pretty sure my pup will want to be his bud.”

We talked about some dog trainers here and had lots of vet recommendations here. We talked about where to get your pet microchipped here. Lastly, Eric Nuzum introduced us to Little Rascals Doggie Day Care here.

So for those that have or have had puppies – what do you wish you knew back then?

Ed. Note: I’m happy to say that Mr. Larry’s Pet Supplies has officially opened at 3303 11th St, NW in Columbia Heights:

119 Comment

  • I would highly recommend doggy day care (even if you can only afford it once or twice a week). It’s a good workout for the dog and, if done early enough, good for socializing.

    More critical if you are adopting a rescue.

    • Eek! Doggy Daycare isn’t a great option for early socialization. It doesn’t teach impulse control at all and can often lead to leash reactivity. I would recommend introducing day care and dog parks only after your dog is 9 months old and after they have already been well socialized with dogs and people in smaller doses, on and off leash. When I am sit in on any doggy class for reactive, anxious or otherwise effed up dogs…the common thread was always poorly supervised doddy day care where the dog felt out of control and turned reactive.

  • Find a good trainer early and stick with it. The good habits learned young will be a huge benefit to you in the future. Make sure they get PLENTY of exercise, even if you don’t want to take a walk, they need to get out and you both need the bonding time. Don’t take them to a dog park for exercise, it leads to overly excited and undisciplined dogs and bad situations. Dog parks should be a reward following a nice long walk. Most of all enjoy! They add a lot of joy to your life and I hope you have a great time!

    I’d recommend David at sidewalk dog training if you’re looking for a trainer, he’s EXCELLENT and my friends and I have had great success with his help.

    • Do you know what David charges? I recently moved to DC with my two dogs and they are a nightmare to take on walks now– they lunge and bark at every person they see. They don’t seem to respond to any of the techniques I’ve tried. Definitely need some professional help…

      • You would have to contact him for prices but I can tell you it was worth every penny. We have two as well and they were in need of some reminders on how to behave on walks (one of our dogs was lunging and going nuts at Fed Ex trucks, not UPS, just Fed Ex…random). After 2 hours of training in our house they were back to normal and 6 months later we have had zero issues! Again, worth the investment, I can’t recommend him highly enough!

        • Wow, he sounds really effective! The problem is now that I live in DC I’m spending a lot more on housing and I’m not sure I can splurge on training… but I’ll see what he charges.

        • Your dog and my dog must have some sort of a tag team agreement, my dog only hates the UPS guy- not FedEx. When we see him on the street, or he hears the truck I have to straddle him on the sidewalk and calm him down. It is not fun. I am very curious to learn more about this David gentleman, I’m sure the UPS guy would thank me.

          • That’s too funny! I feel your pain in trying to control him when they see their nemesis deliveryman. After David visited us, the FedEx guy brought our dogs treats because they were so much better! I’ve been singing his praises every since!

        • That’s so weird. My old dog used to only go for the UPS truck. He could hear that engine from blocks away.

      • In case anyone is wondering, he’s charging me $395 for a 3-hour session. Not bad considering most places would charge $150 for each dog and I’d be in a big place with a bunch of other out-of-control dogs and their owners.

  • It would help to know what kind of puppy it is. But one thing you’ll definitely want to start doing is crate training.

    • P.S. – Inexpensive crates are very easy to come by on Craigslist. Look for one that can be partitioned off as he’s still growing.

      Oh, and pet insurance is worthless, but do set aside some money every month for emergencies. Those vet bills can be steep!

      • Actually, we have a crate that we’d be willing to give to the OP for free. It’s a medium size; our dog is about 45lbs.

        If you’re interested, PoP can hook us up. He should know my email address by now!

        • SusanRH

          This is so nice!!!! I will contact POP. Thank you SO much!

          • No problem at all; it’s been collecting dust in our basement for the last 4 years and I will be glad to get it out of there.

            I’d also absolutely recommend reading up on what crate-training actually is and how to do it. You have to be able to start slow and in small increments. We weren’t able to do this – we adopted our adult dog on a Saturday and weren’t able to take time off from work. Long story short, she did not do well being crated for long periods of time straight from the beginning. I know better now, but we were totally clueless back then!

            Also, I wouldn’t recommend reading anything by Cesar Milan. It’s all up for debate, but a lot of dog experts vehemently disagree with his philosophies. Check out a few different books and figure out what appeals to you – if you have kids someday, you’ll go through all this again when you read through all the different parenting theories. 🙂

        • If you still have the dog I’d recommend holding on to the crate. My dogs had to be housebroken all over again when we moved to a new house.

  • They pee alot… be patient.

    We trained our puppy to hit a simple $1 hotel lobby desk bell, placed at the back door on the floor, when he needs to do his business.

    Stick with the biting training and start with the nail clipping as soon as you can. Start with the touching or toes feet and so on. I am sure you doc will guide you.

    We use Union Vet on Capitol hill and are very happy.

    Socialize, socialize, socialize…

    After the first time that little baby looks up in your eyes and licks your face,,, it is well worth it!

    Have fun.

    • I love the bell idea! I have an old dog that in fact does still learn new tricks… I might have to make this happen!

      • Yeah, I wish I’d heard of the bell trick when I was housetraining mine!

        • I am sooooo happy to report we now have a ZERO Pee-Pee/Poo-Poo accident rate after only one month with the bell.

          Just by a cheap one at CVS or something for a few bucks. They actually go for $20 and $30 dollars online and at some pet shops.

          Hit it everytime you take him/her out, it does work and our puppy is just 8 months old.

        • Doorbell to pee is excellent – gives the dog a clear sense of “power.” I bought a wireless radio doorbell at target.

          1. Made an “envelope” for the button of that rubbery mat stuff you put under a throw rug to give her paw traction.

          2. Plug the receiver in far enough away that it won’t scare the dog. Pick a tone different from your actual doorbell.

          3. At first you step on the button every time you take her out – also with your verbal command for peeing.

          4. Next guide her paw to the button and treat when she presses it. This might take a week. Gradually eliminate treats for pressing the button but treat after sucessful peeing.

          5. Training treats should be tiny. I buy Pupperoni sticks and cut them into pencil-eraser sized bits.

      • Wouldn’t the encourage the dog to ring the bell whenever he wants to go for a walk (which with some dogs would be all the time)? Mine has cried wolf more times that I can count.

        • Not an issue for us. Although one Saturday for some reason he wanted to go out every 30 minutes while working around the house.

          I just put the bell out of reach for a few hours.

          After all, part of potty training is getting your dog to understand they can hold it, for while.

    • +1 on Union Vet. I did a ton of research before choosing a vet and was really happy that I was able to find such a great one that happens to be in my neighborhood. It’s definitely worth the drive down from Columbia Heights, though, IMO.

    • Just a flip side of this one – it doesn’t work well for many who live in apartments. It basically led to my dog hitting the bell whenever she wanted to go outside…

  • If you’re interested in training, clicker training/positive reinforcement works very well for most dogs. We liked Rachel at K9 Divine.

    Planet Pet (formerly Dogs By Day) is at Florida and 17th (?) and we’ve always thought they were great for doggie day care and boarding.

    We’ve been happy with Dupont Veterinary for a long time.

    Buy decent-quality dog food. Not stuff you can get at the grocery store. Less poop, less stink, better coat, happier dog.

    Nature’s Miracle is your best friend for the inevitable accidents in the house.

    There are more chicken bones than you can imagine on the streets of Columbia Heights and Petworth. They are not good for dogs – they can splinter and get caught in their throats. Do your best to keep your dog from eating them, but s/he is gonna get a few along the way.

    Plan to leave town over the 4th of July. It’s torture for many dogs.

    • I will second the recc of Rachel at K9 Divine. She’s easy to work with and also does boarding.

      Whoever you go with for training (and I’d HIGHLY reccomend you do train the dog formally): just make sure he will stay when you say/yell STAY!

  • Read books too. If you are getting a specific breed get a book on them. This helped me a lot when I first got a puppy. Cesar Milan’s book is great too.

  • City Paws Animal Hospital on 14th St for vet services. Our dog was one of their first patients and although the practice is now larger, they are still amazing. You can walk from CH or drive if you want. I cannot say enough good things about them.

    Training and boarding: We used Dogs by Day for years, but as my dog became elderly, cage-free boarding and 24-7 playtime became too stressful for her. We now use Little Rascals on Georgia Avenue because they also do “private” boarding.

    • City Paws is ridiculously expensive. I felt like I was anally raped after taking my puppy there for its very first shots/checkup, they try to sell all sorts of things such as heart worm medication, flea repelent etc, which I ended up buying and later on realized I could get all of them from the internet for like half the price..

      I am sure the Vet was very well trained, he had a degree from UPenn hanging on the wall, but unless you have a lot of spare cash, stay away City Paws!

      • +1 to City Paws being way too expensive. Anyone have experience with Friendship Hospital for Animals?

        • I love Friendship, but they’re definitely not cheap. That said, we first had City Paws and switched to Friendship after an emergency – several years later, we’re still happy there.

          • +1

            And if you go to Friendship I suggest trying to find a specific vet there that you like and then making appointments with him or or specifically. We have a diabetic cat and some of the younger vets there tend to recommend every test in the book, while our regular, more experienced vet there is much more mindful about the costs.

          • anonymouse_dianne

            I highly recommend Lynn Logan @ Friendship. She got me through putting my 14 yo Aby down in 1998, and did the initial evaluation on Savannah Jane. She even pointed out to me that she was getting her “grown up” teeth aside her baby teeth. Great Texan charm.

          • We also use Friendship for our dog who has Addison’s and our cat who has a case of Old Age…

            It’s definitely not cheap, but 24 hour availability and being able to fill all our prescriptions and perform any necessary procedures on-site is awesome.

            And Dr. McMurphy is great! Definitely recommend her.

        • I only use Friendship for emergency issues (they’re pretty much the only game in town). Otherwise, vets use it as a stepping stone to a regular practice, and are only there for an average of 6 months before moving on. I wouldn’t recommend it for regular care.

      • Online medications (from 1-800-petmeds, for example), are not guaranteed to have been stored properly or overseen by a vet, and are therefore not 100% safe to give your pet. That’s why CityPaws tries to push their own on you. Ask them for online pharmacy recommendations, they recommend and fill prescriptions through several.

        • And for what it’s worth, I do believe CItyPaws to provide excellent vet care (Drs Teich and Bowman in particular). Their prices for checkups are no higher than they are elsewhere, and their appointments are for 30 minutes (1 hour if you’re a new patient) which is much longer than other vets in the area will spend with you. Dr. Teich also has his own mobile practice.

          • saf

            Dan Teich is a great vet.

            (Our kitties go to Union to see Dr Kats. They used to see both Teich and Kats when both vets were at Dupont.)

  • I grew up with dogs, but my current dog is the first one I got “on my own.” I adopted him from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and they were a great resource. I’m sure wherever you’re adopting from will be a good resource for you, as well.

    I agree with Ben on Doggy Day Care. It is pricey, but even if you only take him a few days a week, it’s a good investment in that it will help with his future ability to socialize with other dogs. If Doggy Day Care isn’t a possibility, there’s always dog walking, too.

    I’ve really found D.C. to be a pretty dog-friendly city. Then again, I have a very well-behaved dog. (Part of this was my work with him when I got him; I’ll admit that part of this was also the fact that, when I adopted him at 18 months old, he seemed to have already taken some sort of obedience classes.) If your dog is well-behaved, there really are a lot of places you can take him. My dog loves Eastern Market and there are a few Doggy Happy Hours I’ve taken him to. (Art & Soul and the Argonaut, which might not be the most convenient for you since you live in a different neighborhood.)

    Another random tip that I didn’t know when I first got my dog is that pets are permitted on the Metro/the bus if they are in a fully enclosed container. I’m not sure how big/small your puppy is, so this may not apply to you, but it’s nice to know. (Most people don’t even notice my dog when he’s in his carrier, so I could probably sneak him on anyway, but I’m a rule-follower!)

    Enjoy your dog! I know it sounds corny, but having a dog really does make me happy every day. It’s nice to have him waiting for me when I get home after a tough day. It’s not easy to properly care for and train a dog, but it is more than worth it.

    • I didn’t know that either! I always thought if you had a dog you either had to have a car or had to live really close to a vet.

      • I was mad at myself after I found out! My vet is in my neighborhood, but all I could think about were the cabs I paid for to take my pup other places in the past.

        Oh well; I’m at least glad to know now!

  • “My pup will want to be his bud.”

    This is not how it works. If you are getting a puppy in hopes of creating eye-hemorrhaging cuteness, alone or with other dogs, you should reconsider.

    Also, is anybody else sick of grown ass individuals coo-cooing over Ernie the Flying Whatever His Name Is?

    • It’s too bad you’re being forced to read those Ernie posts. You should get a refund from PoP!

      • ROTHFLMAO…. some people are so bitter.

      • There’s really not much to read with the Ernie posts.

      • The Ernie frothing has more than spilled over into other threads.

        I mean, should post adolescent people daydream about cute dogs?

        • Why not?

          • Because I’m starting to get concerned that this town has hordes of developmentally arrested, fundamentally unserious people who spend their time figuring out ways to see more pictures of cute dogs, meet local celebrity cute dogs, or acquire their own cute dogs for the sake of upping their daily cuteness quotient.

          • And what is wrong with upping one’s daily cuteness quotient, exactly?

          • Or possibly – developmentally advanced, fundamentally exceptional – creative, serious people who spend a lot of their time figuring out ways to make the world a better place, who, after dealing daily with the awful realities of that (bloated corpses etc.) might spend a few minutes of their time relieving the harsh realities of life with a few pictures of cute dogs?

            Don’t concern yourself honey – you’re clearly out of your league.

          • Yeah, I also don’t understand the smug superiority complex of some dog owners.

    • -1082334d403480803je0893489340a934


  • I wouldn’t get a puppy unless I worked from home or very close to home. Puppies need a lot of attention.

    I’m planning to adopt a dog this year, but I’m only considering dogs that are at least a year old.

  • Take a puppy basics class. We took the one at Pawticulars on 8th St. It’s for you as much as for the dog. It really helped my fiance to understand what was reasonable to expect of our dog at that age. And, hearing the problems other people were having (puppy would ONLY pee inside, puppy ate furniture, etc.) made us realize just how good our dog was!

    We also took him to a puppy party in Arlington a few times. This place has one: We went to some place on Pershing Dr right of Glebe. It’s basically just a free puppy play time for 2 hours on Saturday morning. Great way to get them used to a dog park atmosphere before they’re old enough to actually go to a dog park.

  • Echoing the advice to socialize – You want to expose your dog to all sorts of different people, sounds, situations, and of course, other dogs. Bring the pup everywhere he/she is allowed with you so they will not be afraid of all of the crazy sounds and smells that come with living in a city.

    Crate training and “obedience school” are highly recommended as well. I took my dog to training classes at one of the big chain pet stores and it was a great opportunity to bond as well as an opportunity to train ME how to train the dog.

    For food, make sure the first ingredient on the bag is an actual animal’s meat. If the first ingredient is “turkey” then it’s a good source of nutrition. If the first ingredient is “turkey meal” then it’s not as nutritious.

    Dogs are the original anthropologists. They study you and react to cues that you give them, whether you intend to give them or not. Be aware of patterns of your own behavior and it will help you understand how your dog behaves.

    For the love of god, do not use pee pads. First, they are gross. Second, you want to build up your dog’s confidence and one of the best ways to do this is to successfully potty train him/her.

    For dog walking, I recommend Brighter Days. For expensive but top-notch veterinary care, no one is better than Friendship Animal Hospital.

    • Ha! Yes. Take your dog as many places as possible. We did a great job making sure that our dog was ok with bus and siren noises, sat at the corner before crossing the street, was ok with riding an elevator and walking around PetSmart, etc and was a good city dog.

      And then we took him to Roosevelt Island. He had never seen woods before and wouldn’t go down a trail unless one of us led the way! He’s since gotten over it but remember that living in the city means he will think the rural and suburban environments are strange and will need introductions to them.

  • 1. realize that your life will change. This animal will depend on you for everything. If you’re used to getting off work and hitting the latest happy hour, kiss that luxury goodbye.

    2. Try to find out as much as you can about the dog you are adoption/buying. IF he’s a mix, try and find out what are the breeds. It can greatly affect your lifestyle. My wife and I adopted a herding dog a few years ago and our life has never been the same. The major plus is that we’re in great shape, but the negative is that the only time we can sleep-in is when we’re out of town and the dog being boarded. If you are the type who wants to save the countless pit-bulls in DC, then realize what kind of dog you’re getting and the stigma it carries. Not everyone will be keen on belly rubbing a pit-bull.

    3. Realize that not everyone loves dogs.

    4. Find a good vet and kennel where you can board him.

    5. See 1. This dog is your responsibility now.

    I’ve might have missed some but these are the most important that I can think of.

    • +1000, especially to 1 and 5. Nothing makes me more frusterated than people who get dogs and then coop it up all day, to take it only out for a few five minute pee breaks a day.


    This is one of the best dog food companies I have ever used. They DELIVER to your house, and the price is comparable to what you pay in the pet supply stores. The quality is awesome and our dogs absolutely love it! Plus they monitor how quickly you use your food and will give you a reminder call when you are close to a reorder.

    Convenient, great customer service, plus high quality food! It’s a great service!

  • 1) Do get a breed book. The breed actually matters when it comes to personality, behavior and health issues. For instance, “companion” breed actually means the dog will be a companion and latch onto one person. I also was suspicious when a vet diagnosed my dog with a genetic disorder that hadn’t ever been recorded. And it turned out to be a misdiagnosis.

    2) Pick one method of training and stick to it. Even if it seems like it isn’t working. After a week of trying to house-train my dog with a specific method, and it didn’t work, I’d switch. It led to a painful, long, confusing time for me and my poor pup.

    3) Always get a second vet opinion when getting bad news.

    4) Early on, daily, brush/touch teeth, hair, feet, ears, etc.

    5) Congrats! You’ll laugh and love 200 more times a day than usual!

  • Hi OP,

    Congrats on the big step! It’s totally worth it. One rather practical comment to make–I don’t know if you’ve already picked out your new dog, but if you haven’t be sure to really think about what kind of dog you want (i.e. active, exercise nut, laid back). There are so many great dogs available out there, but not all are right for you. I remember when I was looking to rescue, and there were so many dogs I wanted to take, but I ultimately knew I could not provide the best living situation for. Research breeds and review the ‘canine personality’ info that some shelters provide for their dogs (if you are rescuing) to help you be ready.

    Also, I always go with Cesar Milan’s rule: Exercise, Discipline, Affection (in that order)–it’s good advice for a well-adjusted and happy dog.

    • I was coming here to say Cesar’s rule, but it’s already been said! be the pack leader 🙂

      Also, if the dog is doing an unwanted behavior, it’s good not only to stop it, but to show the dog what you want him to do. For example, you can discipline him for peeing on the floor, but until you show him an alternative, he doesn’t know what else to do.

      • Most dog trainers worth their salt cringle at Mr. Milan’s mention. Force feeding exercise and painful physical reactions to negative behaviors aren’t great ways to train you dogs. Train your dog by rewarding positive behaviors and the negative behaviors will leave. Training should be positive: clickers, treats, praise, etc never choke chains, prong collars, “submissive rolls” and smacks and other dominance-based training don’t work and will lead to anxious, reactive dogs. There are great positive trainers through out DC. Your Dog’s Friend in Rockville is a 501c3 and a great resource of positive classes and trainers.

        • Meh, I don’t watch his show, so I can’t comment on your statement. I once heard that “rule” mentioned above, and I think there’s a lot of truth to it.

          PS- I don’t think discipline is used here in the way you thin. I think that by ‘discipline,’ the rule means setting limits and control for your dog, not allowing him to do whatever he wants (which, holy cow, I see happening all the time with other dog owners).

        • I for one am in the pro-Cesar camp. I think few people have a problem with “force-feeding” excercise to their dogs. Quite the opposite, I find I can hardly find the time to give my dog all he exercise he needs. And Cesar is very clear on the fact that discipline should never involve pain and should never be done in anger. The methods Cesar teaches are only intended to break a dog’s mental fixation from things he should not be doing — never to hurt the animal. I find it strange how some owners try to “bargain” with their dogs by exchanging treats for good behavior, as if good behavior can only be acheived through fair-market exchange. Dogs aren’t people. They do not require compensation, nor do they demand equal rights. They require leadership that is administered in a firm but caring manner. I’ve been using Cesar’s methods for years now and have been amazed by the results.

          • +1. We also used many of Cesar’s methods on our rottweiler, and she is a superlative dog. I support his concepts.

        • Sorry, but your comments dont’ apply to aggressive dogs. I foster aggressive dogs, i.e. dogs which have biting histories. The positive-only training methods do not work with them. Moreover, positive-only trainers generally refuse to work with biting dogs. I have been able to rehabilitate multiple biting dogs, they now live bite-free and happy in their new homes thanks to Cesar Milan’s methods. It takes time, and you must stick to the methods 100%, but you can save the lives of more difficult dogs with those methods. Every good trainer will have multiple training-tools in his/her bag, those trainers that do positive-only are selling their client’s dogs short. Spend more time with people who rescue difficult dogs and you will learn how to train a dog.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    The Washington Animal Rescue League

    offers a one-night class for new dog owners for free. They also offer puppy basic manners and more advanced classes for a very reasonable price. The Washington Human Society also offers classes but I am not as familiar with them.

    I’m thinking of switching to Union Vet as I have moved from Dupont and that is an offshoot of the Dupont Vet. It’s nice to hear good things about them. You also want to establish a relationship with Friendship Animal Hospital, as that’s where you go at 3 am in the morning when you have an emergency. They are more expensive, but they donate a good bit of $$ to WARL and WHS and occasionally do pro bono work. That is where I took my F3 Savannah to be spayed. She had a minor crisis with her blood pressure bottoming out but they kept her going.

    good luck with the puppy! What kind of dog?
    BTW you can find breed standards and other info on the AKC web site, you don’t need a book. If it’s a bully breed (and I am a big fan) you should consider getting a Canine Good Citizen certificate when the pup’s past puppiness.

    • me

      Totally off of the subject- my husband and I really want a Savannah. Could you recommend anywhere? 🙂

      • anonymouse_dianne

        I found her on cats classified yahoo group. She was the runt (still under 6 lbs, Savannahs are usually large) and the breeder sold her to me for $800 (usally around $2k) and drove her to Richmond for me. I have an elder cat so I had to get a kitten with the right disposition. So I suggest you subscribe and hang around. I’d prefer to work with rescues but Savannahs are rare and don’t go into rescue. She is a doll, and loves my 14 yo Aby.

  • As for a Vet, I recommend CityPaws on 14th street. Dr. Wendy Knight is great – she really cares about her clients and is quick to follow-up with answers to quick questions over the phone (you will have a surprising number of questions that don’t warrant a vet visit, but you’d rather have a vet answer). The office has great hours and is just down 14th street, so pretty close. I had been using the DuPont Vet Clinic on P Street, but after a few too many lectures about the weight of my cat with no answers as to how I could curtail his constant meowing when I cut his food back, I switched vets and could not be happier with City Paws.

  • I just want to add that you should always, always, always, have multiple poop bags on you when walking your pup. Be a responsible owner and always be prepared to pick up after your dog. No excuse not to do so.

    • The Dollar Tree sells them in packs of 50. They also have some decent collars and other dog things.

    • I’d emphasize the multiple! Nothing worse than having your dog poop more than usual and scrounging around for something to pick it up with.

  • I would be interested in hearing the same advice as regards to kittens! (though perhaps that will be to topic of a future PoP post?! – I don’t mean to hijack this one)

  • I would recommend not getting one in the first place. My favorite breed of dogs are OPD – Other People’s Dogs.

  • SusanRH

    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful and useful advice.

    As for the breed of dog, she is a Havanese. If anyone has experience with this particular breed, please let me know.

    And to the Ernie hater, you are just mean, how can you not love that dog?

  • The best advice I was given was not to set yourself or the puppy up for failure. By not letting the puppy out of your sight, including leashing him to your waist while you are cooking or not paying attention, helps you prevent or quickly correct accidents or misbehaviors. Crating, even during a shower, really helps, too. And not acting excited when you get home and the puppy is overjoyed helps keep the jumping/welcome home craziness to a mimimum. The Dog Whisperer, not by Cesar Milan, which I picked up from Kramerbooks is awesome. Congrats!

  • I’m a big fan of the book The Other End of the Leash, written by an animal behaviorist. It really helps understand how your behavior affects your dog’s and how to avoid anthropomorphizing every cue from the pup.

    My dog might be part havanese, or is at least in that family of breeds and he was pretty manic when he was young — really energetic, or under the bed napping. He had temper tantrums for awhile when he wanted to play in the morning. We just had to treat him like a toddler and lock ourselves in the bathroom until he stopped. These kinds of dogs don’t need a working dog level of exercise, but when they want to play they really want to go all out. And they’re very much trying to please/interact with the people around them. When company comes over my dog is really annoying because he wants everyone’s attention, but eventually settles down.

  • As far as dog walking, we use Brighter Days Collective. They also do dog-sitting, so if you want to leave town but don’t want to board your dog, they’ll spend the night in your home and take care of him.

  • Best of luck, OP.
    Here’s my advice. Puppies are the assholes of the dog world. They will eat your shit, chew your shit, and shit on your shit.
    Then they will look at you with those puppy eyes and you will clean it up and forgive them.
    Echoing all the great advice above, too!

  • As a non-dog owner but someone who has lived in buildings with dog: keep your neighbors in the loop! The woman right next to me got a puppy and it was not very happy the first night or two. I finally knocked on the door, just to make sure everything was ok! Also, give those neighbors a way to contact you: one evening, this same pup managed to open the door. The door had a chain lock which prevented the puppy from escaping, but it opened and shut the door for hours. I tried to call the dog down, but couldn’t get in and did not know how to contact the owner. I could hear the poor thing for the 2 hours until its owner came home.

  • anyone know if Larry’s is stocking Taste of the Wild dog food?

    • if you ask them to! they have been taking a poll on what the dogs of Columbia Heights prefer

      • Hilarious! What do the dogs of Columbia Heights prefer? As all dogs do – they prefer stinky old rotten fish, gnawed-on chicken bones, pizza crusts, cat vomit (hairballs extra!) horse poop (doggie version of cupcakes) socks, underwear, and anything smeared on a toddler’s face.

        “Taste of the Wild” dog food to a CH dog would be cat carcasses and flattened rats.

  • Congrats on your new pup!

    Patricia McConnell’s books are great – The Other End of the Leash – and also check out her blog. Just saw a recent post on puppies vs older dogs & expectations.

    Buy good dog food – I use Buffalo Blue – and/or make your own (it’s really easy to make in big batches & freeze).

    I recommend City Paws for regular vet care and Friendship for emergencies.

    Physical exercise is important but you also want to play with him/her & exercise their brain. Amazon has lots of different dog puzzles.

    Good luck – look forward to seeing pictures of your pup in the Afternoon Animal Fix!

  • A couple of more thoughts:

    1. Watch your puppy like a hawk. They will eat anything (chicken bones, poop, mulch, plants, etc.). Some of these things can kill them. And some of them can give the puppy the runs which you also don’t want if he/she is not entirely house trained.

    2. Touch your puppy everywhere (no, not in that way!). It needs to know that you’re number 1, aka alpha dog, and no place is off limits for you. This will help when you start clipping nails, washing the belly or privates. You don’t want them growling or biting you if you have to examine your dog for injuries, etc.

    3. Training classes are a must! Your dog has to respond to you at all times. It’s one thing to get him to come to you when you’re at home holding a treat. It’s another thing if he accidentally breaks off leash and runs into traffic and you need to recall him/her. The “drop it” and “leave it” commands are a huge help. Our dog trainer always told me “think about needing to get your dog out of a burning house, when you have already escaped and it’s scared out of its mind. Is it going to retreat into a corner, or will it respond to your command and ‘come’?”

    4. Pick up your dogs poop! Always…even when he has diarrhea (do the best you can).

    5. Socialize the dog, as others have said, and make sure it is exposed to as many new things as possible.

    6. Crate training is an absolute must as well. Your dog will love you for it and so will your sofa, pillows, etc. or anything else he/she can chew on when getting lonely during the day. Dogs feel safest in a contained “den” (their crate) and will seek it out even when they don’t need to go in there. There are times when our dog used to sleep in his crate with the door open and when we were at home, just b/c he loves it. Feed him/her treats only in the crate and training will be a breeze.

    7. Have a TON of patience, especially with a puppy. They will learn, but it will take time and they will test you every step of the way. If you give in before they do, guess who is the alpha dog all of a sudden? Don’t tolerate whining, barking, chewing, etc. as a form or getting your attention. You can use a spray bottle with water to get them out of that habit quickly.

    8. Be very clear about the things you are giving up. Your dog will need to be walked not only when it’s 70 degrees out, but also twice a day when it’s snowing, raining sideways and when it’s 12 degrees out at 6 in the morning in January. You will need to take him out when you’re tired, hung over, sick or when you have family in town. You won’t be able to make it to the spontaneous happy hour after work. You have a pet now that depends on you and it will likely feel just as uncomfortable as you do when you have to pee/poop and there is no place to go for three more hours.

    Good luck!

  • My little buddy had to go in today to have his anal glands expressed. What?! I had never HEARD of such a thing. I’m still not sure what it is. So you might want to ask about that …

    • Ooh, I feel for you both. He’s literally going to smell like ass for several hours.

      • Poor guy looked uncomfortable this morning, so I hope he’s better now (even if he does smell like butt). I wasn’t the one to take him in, so I haven’t seen/smelled him yet.

    • This is generally an issue for smaller breeds. Still something to ask the vet about, though.

  • Kikopup on Youtube is a great dog training tutorial.

    Also work on specific “city” manners & safety issues from the beginning.

    – The dog should never step off a curb, go out of your open gate or jump out of the car without a command (OK)

    – “Leave it!” is your most essential command. (But it will never work with chicken bones.)

    – Train the dog to heel, and to immediately “come to heel” when she is walking on a loose leash. Useful for passing groups of children etc.

    – If another dog is walking on heel, you should pass with your dog on heel as well and not let your dog engage.

  • We recently just added a puppy to our home as well. I highly recommend Heather @spot on training. We went to a couple trainers before we met Heather, and now she is stuck with us. As day to day life with puppy, our dog walker has made life better for us and our dog. We use John with Brighter Day Collective and I can’t say enough wonderful things about them.

    Good Luck with your puppy! Please feel free to contact me directly if you have questions or would like contact info.

  • Does anyone have a good list of outdoor patio’s that allow dogs? I saw some dogs at the Heights yesterday, but would love to know of other locations that welcome dogs.

  • Does anyone have boarding recommendations, either in DC or within a reasonable drive? We have a lab puppy. Thanks!

    • I send my dogs to Shady Springs up in Maryland, it’s a bit of a drive but they do pick-up and drop-off from DuPont and Pallisades vet clinics. For high energy dogs (like mine) it’s good, they stay in their own long indoor/outdoor run, they get playtime…even a pond for swimming during the warmer months (which I imagine your lab would enjoy)

  • Don’t forget to puppy-proff the house – especially wires and such – the pups like to chew.

  • Are you ready for love?

  • Please don’t overdo it with your puppy. They don’t need much when they’re little to their exercise and stimulation. 2 10-15 minute walks is plenty for a dog 10-20 weeks old. They’re like babies: the need lots of sleep and attention, but not exercise. S/he will want lots of exercise when s/he’s more developed.

  • Please Please Please teach it to walk off leash and don’t give in to the sheeple who anal retentively freak out every time they see a dog off leash just because they didn’t take the time to teach theirs!!

    • you’re on a mission!

    • I have dogs who will walk off-leash. Do I? Not unless we’re somewhere that allows it or somewhere I won’t be scaring people. Some people have been attacked by dogs and are not “anally retentively freaking out”, they are legitimately frightened. Also:

      Division I. Government of District. Title 8. Environmental and Animal Control and Protection. Subtitle E. Animal Control and Protection. Chapter 18. Animal Control. Section 8-1808. Prohibited conduct.
      (a) No owner of an animal shall allow the animal to go at large.

      Translation: Walking a dog off leash is illegal. Period.

      • When I lived in an HOA we were always getting nasty letters because we sometimes let our dogs run the 5 feet from our front door to the car without a leash. You’ll spare yourself a lot of hate if you just keep them leashed.

      • Another Anal retentive person…freaking out. FTW

Comments are closed.