Anyone who has had a Bad Puppy knows how frustrating they can be. The good news? Those Bad Puppies often grow into a Great Dog.
Beth Berkobien from Rehab Your Rescue and I got together for a casual conversation to chat about how we got through those hard puppy years to live full and happy lives together with our now Great Dogs.
Did you miss our live Clubhouse chat in the Dog Lovers Club? Here is a quick recap of what we talked about!
Do you have questions about having a great life with your dog? We’d love to hear from you!
Connect with us over on Instagram @_luckypup to tell us about it!
We are using the term Bad Puppy here, but it is important to note that we use the phrase as a term of endearment, and a shortened version of Bada$$ Puppy. As believers that there is no such thing as inherently “bad” or “naughty” behavior or dogs, we do want to acknowledge the power that words hold over our thoughts and actions. With that, let’s dive right in!!
You might hear that the puppy years are to be survived. While that is certainly true in several ways, we do believe that it is also possible (and encourage!!) to thrive during them. If you have a puppy at home or are considering bringing one home, you will definitely want to check out these tips for making the most of life with your very own Bad Puppy:
- Know what you are signing up for – When we ask a breeder or rescue for our new pup, they often ask us what we are looking for in our new partner. We might say things like, I want a puppy that wants to always spend time with me, that is forward thinking, is always playing with the siblings, and loves meeting new people. Those traits are all wonderful, but they can also be the recipe for a Bad Puppy in the making! Know that no matter where your puppy comes from, and no matter how experienced you are as a puppy raiser, your new puppy will likely try your patience, make you question your sanity and judgement, and leave you scratching your head at their antics.
- Patience & Dedication – It is easy to forget that our puppies are just babies, much like human teenagers are also just babies. Even though they may have a grown up dog body, a grown up dog bark, and grown up dog energy, it doesn’t mean they are actually a grown up adult dog. Depending on your dog’s breed or mix of breeds, they might be considered puppy-like until they are 2-5 years old. Really!! So give yourself and especially your pup some grace. Raising a puppy into a Great Dog is one of the hardest things anyone can do, beat only by raising a baby into a Great Human. When times get tough and you are feeling your frustration growing and your resolve slipping try to remember that they still have a baby brain and they need your love, dedication, and direction. Even when they are acting like an angsty teenager with really big feelings and opinions about life, they are still a baby and they still need your kind guidance.
- The transition to a Great Dog takes time – Having realistic expectations is important. You cannot ask more of your dog than you are asking of yourself. We need to put the time in to teach those things. If we aren’t willing to put in our own work into training our Bad Puppies, we can’t expect them to do the things that Great Dogs do. It is important to remember that our puppies need to learn all the things about living life together with us, and it is our job to teach them.
- Too much of a good thing is not so good! – We don’t need to give our Bad Puppies (or our adult dogs, either) lots of exercise. By trying to exercise their energy and antics away we can actually create a super athlete with a never ending need for more exercise. Definitely not what we are going for!! Instead, we want to provide lots of mental exercise instead of just physical exercise. Instead, teach them how to relax and how to have an off switch. Our Bad Puppies often need time to just decompress, take a nap, or have more downtime without stimulation. Young puppies only need 20-30 minutes of activity before they are usually ready for a nap.
- Enjoy the ride together! – The most important thing you can do is be ready to Live Full, Live Happy together with your Bad Puppy. Life is an adventure to explore together, and the more we learn who they are and what they like, the more fun we will have together. Comparison is the thief of all joy, so do your best to avoid comparing your Bad Puppy to a previous dog or another dog you know. When we compare our puppies others we can’t enjoy the dog in front of us. Instead of wishing they were different, learn to love who they are and help them become the best version of themselves they can be. Because through that process you’ll soon understand how your Bad Puppy is growing into a Great Dog.