Like many other people in 2020, Idan and I thought it would be great to get a dog during quarantine. After all, we’re home 24/7 and have much more time to train a pup! We finally found the perfect doggo for us–he’s a bernedoodle from an Amish family in Pennsylvania. We went with a bernedoodle because I have some pretty severe dog allergies in my family, and he is likely to be a lot less allergy-inducing than most dogs! I’ve also always wanted a bernese mountain dog (my good friends can attest to this), so a bernedoodle was a nice compromise.
Because this has been the hardest, most challenging thing of our lives, I wanted to share some new puppy advice that I’ve gathered over the last few weeks.
Getting Him Home and The First Night
We rented a car for the day and headed out to PA to go get our new floof. The drive there was a little over 3 hours, and then once we picked him up it took us about 4.5 hours to get home. We had to stop a few times to let him go potty, and he also threw up twice in the car–puppies get car sick! I sat in the back with him so I could keep a close eye on him.
When we got him home, we closed the doors to the bedroom and bathroom so that he would only explore the living room and kitchen at first. We read that you’re not supposed to introduce them to too much too quickly, or they freak! We had his crate and playpen all set up before, and introduced him to his crate with the door open and by using treats to get him comfortable. The whole day/night was a bit of a blur, but he definitely did not sleep through the night (as we expected).
Here are things we brought with us to pick him up that I recommend:
- A blanket to rub all over his mom to get her scent on it
- Lots and lots of towels. We bought cheap ones from Amazon.
- Pee pads (we lined the seats with these and then put the towels on top)
- Water bowl and water bottles to fill it with
- A variety of soft puppy treats
- A stuffed animal and chew toy
- A collar and leash (we brought 2 different sized collars just in case)
We named him Krembo, which is a yummy Israeli dessert made from a wafer, marshmallows, and chocolate. His coloring is very similar to this treat, so that was that! Other names we call him: Boopy Buppy, Floof floof, and whatever else comes to mind at the time. We’re working on name recognition. ;)
Toys He’s Loving
We went a liiiiiittle crazy on Chewy.com before Krembo arrived. One of my best pieces of new puppy advice is to get a bunch of toys but don’t give them to the puppy all at once–they love surprises, so keep them in your back pocket for when they’re really bored! We only let him have a few toys at a time, so when he sees toys for the first time in a while, they are exciting and “new.” Some of the toys that have gotten the most use so far are:
- This jumbo Lamb Chop stuffed animal (we’ve gone through 2 already; he LOVES it)
- This hide and seek dinosaur game
- This Mr. Bill toy (which scared him at first but now he loves it)
- This kong toy that we put kibble and treats in
- This rope toy
- These kong balls that squeak!
Other Things We Bought To Prepare For Puppy
Like I said, we went a *little* crazy buying things before we picked up Krembo. However, he’s used all of this!
Crate: We bought a 42-inch crate because we don’t know how big he’s going to get and wanted to be safe. The crate comes with a divider so we put that in the middle. The reason for a divider is that puppies instinctively won’t go potty where they sleep, so you don’t want to give them a large space to go potty in one corner and sleep in the other. We’ll remove the divider when he gets older!
Treats: We bought 3 different kinds of treats. He goes absolutely bananas over these Blue Buffalo treats! We try to mix up his treats so he gets surprised each time he gets one. Always keeping him guessing :)
Heartbeat Puppy: This was recommended to us by several people, as it has a heart beat meant to mimic the puppy’s mama. I stuffed the puppy under my shirt for a day to make it smell like me, and then put it in his crate at night. Jury’s still out on if it actually helps! I wish I had bought it before we got him, and then rubbed it all over the mom, but hindsight’s 20/20.
Stain + Odor Remover Spray: This is SOOO important. When Krembo has accidents we immediately spray the area with this so his “mark” is gone.
How It’s Going & Some New Puppy Advice
Krembo is 10 weeks old as of writing this. This is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences of my life! He is a total handful–he never sleeps when we actually want him to and gets the zoomies at 11pm every night (sorry neighbors!). We’re lucky that most people on our floor are gone for the summer, so we don’t feel *as* bad about his barking.
Crate training is really difficult and he is smart and stubborn. We’re hiring a trainer to do some Zoom calls soon, because we need a little help! We’ve also been watching a ton of Zak George videos on YouTube–he’s a dog trainer in Nola and has quite a following!
Re: potty training, we’ve been having him go on pee pads. We put 4 of them out together so he almost never misses the pad. He actually took to the pads quite nicely, and has had very few accidents in the house! We’ll start taking him out for potty when he gets his shots all done.
One thing we’ve also been trying to do is desensitize Krembo to sounds. There are fireworks going off here every night these days and he doesn’t really care about those (thank goodness!!), but we found some other puppy desensitization sounds on YouTube that we’ve been playing at a super low volume for him–things like ambulance sirens, other dogs barking, helicopters, etc. Super important for a city pup!
We’re also really trying to socialize him with strangers–especially men and children. Since he hasn’t had all his shots yet, we can’t take him for walks, but we do “walk” him in our shopping cart and let strangers pet him, as long as they’re wearing a mask.
I’m not going to lie–I was warned about how much work puppies are, but I was not fully prepared. I’ve never loved something so much in my life, but I also get super frustrated 90% of the time. Puppies are HARD WORK, but they’re worth it. I can’t imagine our lives without him!
Tracking His Growth
Idan and I aren’t *not* crazy and we put together this puppy growth chart to track Krembo’s growth. We templatized it for public use; here is the link! Just make a copy for yourself :)
I’ll keep posting updates as he grows and changes! I hope this new puppy advice was helpful!
I also can’t wait to make a watercolor portrait of him. Which picture should we use?!