Becoming a dog owner: everyone, meet bear!

You know that saying, "you'll never be ready, so stop waiting. (insert life changing event you are waiting to be ready for).  For some people that could be applying for their dream job, moving across the country, having a baby, getting married, running a get the idea.

At this point in my life, that said event was getting a puppy!  Everyone, meet Bear. Also known as Little Bear, Beary or Care Bear.

My boyfriend and I fell in love with Bear the second we saw him.  We were visiting a breeder to meet her adult dogs and puppies when we fell in love with this little guy. From the second I held him in my lap, I knew he had to be a part of our lives. Whether it was the right time or not, was of course a part of the conversation.  But in this case, feeling like we had found our perfect dog who we would spend the next 10 years of life with, overruled the discussion of is this the perfect time?  Because let's be real.  There's never a perfect time to do anything.

Life is short, so we fulfilled our bucket list dream of being dog owners and welcomed Bear with wide open arms.  For those wondering, he is a Blue Merle Australian Shepard!

Similar to how I imagine new moms or new business owners feel when they find themselves in their new situations ( I can relate only to the 2nd!), there are so many things you hear about having a puppy but don't really understand until you actually have one.  The past couple months since having Bear have been equal parts challenging and rewarding.  I never expected how much I would learn from this furry little creature.

Bear 5 (1)

Some things about Bear:

1) Bear is always in a good mood.  If I'm tired and have had a long day, there is nothing better than seeing his happy little face.

2) Bear is an amazing sleeper!  He has slept from 10:30pm-6am since the first night we brought him home.  #grateful

3) He LOVES all other dogs and humans.  If it were up to Bear, he would socialize with anything that moved.

4) Flip-flops are his favorite thing to chew on...(RIP my favorite pair of flip-flops)

5) Flies stand no chance.  Bear kills them like it's his job.

6) His favorite things to play with include: a deflated soccer ball that he found on a soccer field, rotten apples that fall from the apple tree in the backyard, toilet paper rolls and ice cubes.  (Notice none of these things are toys we bought at the pet store...)

7) Bear loves digging in piles of dirt and sand, chewing on every stick he finds and being dirty.  Life is good when you're a dog ;-)

Bear 1

Some puppy training tips that have been helpful:

*Keep in mind these are my personal opinions.  Every dog and training approach is different!

1) Start training as soon as you bring your puppy home!  We started teaching Bear the basic commands like sit, lay down and no bite, as soon as we brought him home.  Start 'em young!

2) When approaching other dogs, always ask the owner if their dog is friendly.  We have avoided some unfriendly bigger dogs by doing this!

3) Don't talk in an overly excited high pitched voice if you don't want your puppy jumping on you!  SO hard to do, especially when you are greeting them, but worth it if you don't want a crazy pup.  Still working on this...

4) Find a vet close to your house.  It's comforting to know a vet is close by if an emergency happens.

5) Start socializing your pup as soon as they have all of the necessary shots!  The more diverse social interactions with humans and other dogs, the more adaptable your pup will become.

6) Never go anywhere without treats or kibble in your pocket.  They do wonders when trying to get a puppy's attention.  All about that positive reinforcement!

7) Last but not least, have FUN with your puppy.  The puppy stage doesn't last long and after all, the purpose of getting a dog is to bring joy to your life!

Bear 4