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Puppy Prep Boot Camp

I receive a lot of email forwards, many of which are about pets in general and dogs in particular. Years ago, I received one about...

Casey Lomonaco  |  May 12th 2011


I receive a lot of email forwards, many of which are about pets in general and dogs in particular. Years ago, I received one about how to “prepare for your new puppy” that was absolutely hysterical. Unfortunately, this email has long since been lost and my efforts to retrieve the email online in some shape or form were unsuccessful. So I had to reinvent the wheel.

(EDIT: One of my FB friends found the original chain email after I posted this article! You can read it here!)

Follow this protocol for a few months to determine if your household is ready for a new puppy!

Pour apple juice on your bed or carpet: This will replicate the joy of finding that a puppy left unsupervised (often for about 3.4719 seconds) has deposited a yellow “surprise” on something valuable in your home. BONUS: Melt some chocolate, and smoosh it into your rug.

Set your alarm clock to wake you up every three hours: This will prepare you for the joys of midnight yard trips to let your puppy out for potty breaks. Stand outside for at least ten minutes. Occasionally, go back to bed for another fifteen minutes, wake up again, and repeat. Bonus points if you make an audio recording that sounds like this puppy and have it play sporadically throughout your sleeping night.

Enroll in a 4 credit lab class at your local college or university: Plan on spending at least this amount of time attending puppy classes, socializing your puppy, exercising your puppy, etc.

Grab your favorite pair of jeans and some sharp scissors. Cut small, dime – nickle sized holes in each leg from the knee down. This will prepare you for the experience of having your favorite pair of jeans destroyed by nippy puppy teeth. Encourage all family members to do the same. BONUS: Run over your favorite pair of shoes with a lawnmower.

If you have children, purchase a toy that they want really badly. Keep it near you at all times and don’t let them play with it. Doing so will illustrate how difficult it can be to train small children. You must monitor this toy and your children at all times – they can never be in the same room with this toy without your direct and dedicated supervision. If you have older children that you expect to care for the puppy in any way, give them a chore list (cleaning the toilet, doing the dishes, etc.) – how good are they at sticking to their list without nagging or constant reminders? Keep this in mind when you bring your new puppy home. BONUS: Never let a single child’s toy be on the floor of your home – all toys must be put away when not played with.

“Play” with a briar bush – roses, blackberry bushes, etc., will all work well. Basically, anything with needle-sharp thorns that hurt will suffice. Try wrestling with, hugging or kissing it. Encourage all members of your family to join you. Remember, at least your briar bush isn’t mobile, unlike a small puppy!

If you don’t have one, borrow a toddler for a few hours. Imagine this toddler with razor sharp teeth, sans diapers. ‘Nuff said.

Run important documents through the shredder. Tax forms, paychecks, the last chapter of the book you’re enthralled with, etc. will all do just fine. BONUS: Drag rolls of toilet paper around your house, shred boxes into little bits, etc. Do this with any paper items that are not securely closed in cabinets or placed on high surfaces (>5′).

Run over your cell phone with your vehicle – puppies have expensive taste. It’s Lomonaco’s Law of Puppy Taste that if a puppy gets to choose between a $3 toy cell phone for small children and a $350 smart phone, the smart phone gets chewed every time.

Take a sander to the legs of your antique coffee table: Puppy’s expensive taste is not just limited to electronic equipment, they also appreciate the fine craftsmanship of valuable furniture. BONUS: Practice stabbing your furniture legs with a sharp knife to get the full effect of puppy teeth.

Play a recording of a whining, barky puppy, as loudly as you can. Then try to get some work done, take a nap, Facebook, or read a chapter of your favorite book.

Give a cat a bath.

Purchase a first aid kit.

While this post is meant in jest, truly most new puppy owners are shocked at the amount of work, time, and money that are involved in raising a puppy and these exercises will give you an idea of what to expect from your little “bundle of joy.” Keep in mind, also, that puppyhood is followed by an even more challenging stage of development, adolescence. Tomorrow, we’ll chat a bit more about what to expect when you’re expecting a puppy and how you can prepare your household for a fluffy new family member.

Also, just for fun, what can you add to the silly list of puppy prep boot camp activities? Leave your additions in the comments!