What It's Like Having a Puppy in College

I've been wanting to write this post for a while. Ever since Kayla and I adopted Koda in August our lives have been totally different. When we would usually sit inside and watch Netflix now we're taking walks on the trails, going to the dog park and letting Koda play in the river. But it's not all fun and games. It's realllllly not. I would not trade anything over having my sweet Koda! So what is it really like having a dog/puppy in college?

Yep. Be prepared. We adopted Koda when she was 11 weeks old, and she had some accidents in the house. She was partially house trained when we adopted her, but we knew she would make a few accidents while trying to get used to the house and going to the back yard. She had a few accidents throughout the first week, but if you pick them up quickly and take them to where ever you're planning on letting them go to the bathroom (backyard, outside on a leash, etc.) they should pick it up pretty quickly. Try not to get frustrated, because it's going to happen. And invest in some pet odor spray!

Wow Koda was bad at chewing! She chewed on EVERYTHING when she was a baby (and still does sometimes if we're not picking up our stuff well enough). She used to follow you around and bite at your feet (she wanted the socks). I would just stand there and cry cause her tiny baby teeth seriously hurt and I often couldn't get her off! Luckily she grew out of that pretty quickly, but she still does occasionally grab something that's not hers and start chewing. Make sure to buy plenty of chews to give your puppy! We have used rawhide chips, rolls and even some of the super big and hard ones from PetCo.

Make sure you have a lot of money saved when you get a puppy. Koda had to get a few shots and get her checkup and rabies shot soon after we first got her. The shots themselves aren't too expensive, but the vet visit (each time) is $30-40 and that really adds up. Each month, you have to get dogs/puppies heart worm medicine. When Koda was a puppy (11 pounds) it was $10-12. Now that she's a monstrous 50 pounds, it's around $18 each month just for heart worm medicine. Also monthly you will have to get flea medicine/ topical. You can buy that pretty much everywhere but make sure you're getting a credible brand. And of course you'll need to by copeous amounts of food (German Shepard puppies eat 3 cups a day, not sure about other/smaller breeds), treats, chews, toys, a collar and leash. I would also recommend a harness. Koda is big, and hard to control on a leash and when I take her for long walks on the trail, I like to put her harness on to be able to walk her better. You will also, MOST DEFINITELY, need a crate. At night and when you're gone, puppies cannot be out. They'll chew and pee on everything.

Free Time
You won't have free time, most likely. Any time we went anywhere, we would have to be back within 2-3 hours because she would have to go potty. We couldn't go out and hang out with friends for hours at a time because she would have to go outside. Also, puppies have A LOT of energy! So it's important to get them out and exercising them. So a lot of my free time is spent taking her on a walk or to the dog park. You will also have to spend lots of time training puppies. When you adopt, most don't know sit, stay, shake, roll over, etc. You do have to teach that and it takes time. It's important to always keep working with your dog, even after they're puppies to teach them new tricks.

So more on tricks. There are a few things that I love that Koda does, and things that I want to teach her. Koda knows sit, stay, shake, lay down and crawl, she does most of those before she gets a treat, chew or her food. And she actually taught herself to jump up on the back door when she needs to go outside, so I know when I hear 50 pounds of dog being thrown against the backdoor that she needs to go outside and potty. You could also use a bell for the same purpose, and there are many tutorials on online to show how to do that. She also knows "snuggle" so when I/we say "Koda come snuggle" she runs up onto the bed and slams her body into you. (if you haven't noticed, she's not very graceful and does not realize her size). We're about to start training her on an "emergency recall word". This means that when you say a specific word (now, stat, or something random like bananas) they know to come to your side NOW! It's a great thing for when they're running into the middle of the road (it can happen), there's a fight at the dog park (happens way too often) or some other emergency. But it's SUPER important that you ONLY use that word in an emergency or you risk loosing the importance with the dog.

I'm a cat person. I have two cats at home which I love with my whole heart. But when I got Koda I was not prepared for the complete and unconditional love that we get from her. Sometimes she looks at us and you can tell that she loves us so much. She loves to snuggle and she's so sweet. Recently she's begun to get protective over me. When we're home alone and there's a noise she begins to growl, if it doesn't go away in half of a second she's up and she's running to the door barking her head off. (Mind you, she doesn't EVER bark in any other situation. She's seriously silent). I'm sure you've seen the saying: "A dog is only part of your life, but to him, you're his whole life." And it's true, I can see it when it's just us three hanging out. She hates when I'm in one room and Kayla is in the other because she hates having to pick who she wants to be with. It's so sweet. And, if you get a puppy, be prepared to cry a lot when you see how much they change. Sometimes I look at her and I literally cry because I can't believe that she has grown so much!

Overall, yes I would recommend getting a dog in college. I/we say pretty much everyday that getting her was the best decision we've made. She gets us up and going, she gives us so much love, and she's made us a little family. Make sure that you're ready and can handle it, though. Make sure you have enough money and free time to handle a dog, because it is a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it!

Tell me about your pets below! Tweet me pictures of your sweet babies - @designallyblog!

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