So you took the plunge and got a little bundle of joy – a puppy! Puppies are amazing and a lot of work all at once. If you’re a first-time puppy owner, it can get a little overwhelming. I’m here to help. I got my girl, Lola, as a puppy when I was a junior in high school. I can look back fondly at the puppy times, but it there are some tips that might make the first 6 months or so go a little smoother.

Do your research. Puppy-dog-eyes are a real thing and you can easily fall victim to them if you’re not careful. Read up on the different breeds and see which ones fit your lifestyle best. Different breeds require different levels of exercise or even training skill. You want a dog that matches your activity level and amount of work you want to put into training the dog.

Be prepared. Definitely get all your supplies before you pick up your puppy! You can still go to a petstore and let them pick out some toys and what not, but having the basics – crate, food and water bowl, collar, leash, a few basic toys, pee pads, grooming supplies, etc. – makes things a lot easier than needing to rush out and pick up something you forgot. Puppy-proof the house, as well. Pick up any shows or small things that you don’t want chewed up off the floor. Pet gates are wonderful for blocking off areas of your house until you can trust your pup to behave.

Sign up for an obedience class. This is just as much for you as it is your puppy. If this is your first puppy that you’re truly responsible for, then there are some training basics that are good to learn to teach your puppy. I did PetSmarts puppy class and it was very helpful. We did sit, stay, wait, and leash training. It was once a week for 8 weeks. They showed us how to train our dogs and helped us figure out what methods would work best for our pups. Mine was very food driven, so I relied heavily on treats to get the basics down.

Beware of puppy breath. It is rancid and all of them have it. They’re just too cute to not get their face close to yours, but try to time your breathing so you don’t get a faceful.

Be persistent. You’re going to get frustrated. It’s inevitable. Don’t worry, just keep at it. Persistence is key. Puppies thrive on a schedule and consistency. If you set up a schedule our routine for them, you’ll see them learn much quicker and you’ll keep your sanity.

Get photos done. Yes, shameless plug, only because this is one of my biggest regrets. I would KILL for puppy photos of Lola. I don’t have any high-quality photos of her, just snapshots. The puppy phase will be over before you know it and you’ll be wondering where your little dog went. Don’t wait! Get in touch with me and let’s capture your puppy as a puppy so you can look back on the time fondly for years to come.

Enjoy them. Going off of the previous point, puppyhood goes by quick, so enjoy it while you can! Snuggle up with your puppy while they’re still little and do as much as you can with them! It’s a precious time and you can’t get it back.

Do you have any tips for first-time puppy owners? I’d love to hear yours! Comment below!