Puppies are Hard Work!

Otto, Say Hello to the Nice People.

Otto on the rocky beach

Well we have had our new pup, Otto, for a month now so I thought it was about time he was officially introduced. Otto O’Brien is a handsome Hungarian Vizsla that we got from Widdershins Farm in Dover-Foxcroft.

Puppies are the best! They warm your heart, have cute puppy breath, love to snuggle and are absolutely hilarious. My mother always said puppies HAVE to be that cute so that you don’t kill them… she (as usual) is right. Adam and I consider ourselves very good dog owners but a puppy is not a dog. It is a puppy, a baby, a blank slate.

Some things a puppy does not know:

  • Where to go pee… he just knows he has to pee. So he did. Right there. Aren’t you proud of me?!?
  • That the world will not always catch him. Otto will sleep anywhere when he is tired; back of a sofa, under a chair, half off a porch. Someone will always catch him or move him to a safe place right?
  • That the whole world does not revolve around him. If someone doesn’t stop to say how cute he is or to pat him on the street, Otto is VERY confused. ‘Did they not see me?’
  • Bed time vs. play time – it is all Otto time all the time… isn’t it?
  • Not all dogs and cats want to play with him. Coming from a farm with his brothers and sisters and a very understanding cat… Otto doesn’t understand that not everyone wants to play. A snarling pit bull with a muzzle? He probably just needs an Otto hug!
  • The difference between a toy and not a toy. We are fortunate he isn’t in the destroying things phase (yet), toys are just proud things to prance around with. It is all very cute until ‘WAIT! That is my flip flop!’
  • Probably the hardest of them all… a puppy does not know the word ‘NO’. Cute little, sharp puppy teeth clamped onto the tablecloth, a chair, your nose? Saying ‘no’ may warrant a stop and look your way but as of now it does not mean ‘oh they don’t want me to do this’. This is a tough one.

Glad Otto is here

After losing Brody 4 months before, I really was not sure if I was ready for a puppy. Now that Otto is here, I am so thankful he is here when he is here. Adam has a break from school and his time has been invaluable. We were just talking about it yesterday and this time with Otto now is going to make our lives so much better for many years to come. Puppies take a LOT of time. I can’t imagine doing this alone or without Adam’s time off from school. Puppies also bring a lot of joy and fun to our house that I think we were missing after a pretty rough year. This was definitely the right time.

Puppy School is good for puppies and for puppy parents!

I also wanted to take a minute to talk about one of the greatest businesses that we have gotten to know because of little Otto. Brody and Chili were/are wonderful dogs but they were/are spoiled rotten, raised with college kids and ski bums and both (especially Brody) have/had some socialization hiccups (Chili is not a fan of dogs who have had their hair done or that you can put in your purse). With Otto, at this stage in our lives, we wanted him to be as socialized and trained as possible. So we went to the World Wide Web and started doing some homework. We came across the puppy nursery school Dances with Dogs in South Portland. After a little more digging, we found out some of our favorite people and dogs also had gone there or were currently going there.

Julie of Dances with Dogs with OttoOtto goes to Dances with Dogs once a week. Not only do you get the basics of a puppy day care (a tired puppy when you pick him up) but it is a school environment. Julie (right with Otto), the owner/pack-leader, and her husband Mike not only wear out the little buggers physically but they are teaching them and getting their little brains worn out too!

Dances with Dogs is wonderful and being the professional online nerd I am, I have to tell you how well all of Julie’s hard work is executed. Julie uses the internet to show us (the puppy moms and dads) what she does while our pups are with her. Each day your puppy is with Julie, you get an online Puppy Report. they are detailed, funny and sometimes read like a Days of our Lives script (puppy romances, aggression, protecting precious items etc.). You hear how your pup is doing, what they are working on, what they like, things you need to work on at home and so much more. The school’s website is also full of resources and articles for puppy moms and dads.

Julie uses Facebook to keep everyone up to date on what is going on with the school and their pups. She has a Facebook Group and uses her personal page to talk about news, events they have coming up and to share photos of the puppies. She has such a captive audience there. I haven’t seen a post from her yet that doesn’t have at least a dozen people interacting with it.

One of my other favorite parts of Dances with Dogs is Julie is a photographer. She set up a photography site and posts pictures of the puppies and the school regularly. Come on… who doesn’t want to look at puppy pictures all day?!?! On Otto’s first day she had 5 pages of photos of him, which I obviously shared with everyone I know. Genius! Keeping puppy parents in the loop AND marketing herself because all those photos are just going to be passed along!

We are so happy we found Dances with Dogs. It is so great for Otto AND for us. Puppies are a lot of work and you can use all the help you can get! So far this has been an amazing adventure and we are so happy to have little Otto around. I am sure you will be hearing a lot more about him in the future too.

4 Replies to “Puppies are Hard Work!”

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