Butters is the sixth dog we’ve adopted but he’s the first puppy. We’ve fostered lots but they generally leave here by 12 weeks. Raising one that you plan to live with for the rest of it’s life is a whole different beast! Last week on my Facebook page I did a post a day about things I’ve learned about raising a puppy since adopting this tiny hurricane of bricks.

I posted different images on Facebook but I’m going to share new images from my 52 weeks of Peanut Butter project here and I’ve added another five “things”.

red pit bull type puppy sitting at rainbow crossing at mardi gras

#1 Unless it’s an obviously recognisable breed, everyone will have an opinion on what your puppy is. EVERYONE!

Originally when people asked me what type of puppy he was I’d say he’s an Amstaff. I’d say it with conviction because I’d seen photos of both parents (his litter was taken on by the rescue when they were just days old because their mother had died). I wouldn’t even need to tell the story of how we were fostering Butters and his sister before deciding to adopt him. He could have been pedigree papered for all people knew, they’d still take it upon themselves to tell me what kind of dog he is.

Boxer is a popular one. So is Mastiff. I’ve had people yell across the car park “Is that a Shar Pei?”. When I replied they insisted he’s definitely got Pei in him. Everyone’s an expert at visually identifying breeds apparently!

As Butters has grown I’d be the first to say he’s kinda kooky looking and not like any purebred Amstaff puppy I’ve ever seen. So now when people ask I just say he’s a rescue, then smile and nod while they put forth their guesses. His father looked identical to Butters as a puppy, then similarly kooky until he matured into a big blockyheaded handsomepants. My guess is Butters’ Pei-like wrinkles are waiting to be filled with head … we’ll all have to wait and see.

Want to add your thoughts to the mix in the comments? Go for your life, everyone else has!

You can read the Facebook comments on this post here.

wrinkly red pit bull type puppy lying with head on paws on rocks

#2 Your puppy doesn’t need to be perfect by the time his imprinting window closes

I can’t tell you how much stress I put on myself to raise a perfect puppy. All our dogs are a little bit broken in one way or another but now, for the first time, I had a blank slate to work with. I felt a ginormous responsibility to give him the best start in life. To make sure he didn’t grow up to be a “bad dog”.

I beat myself up every.single.day when his obedience wasn’t perfect, when he growled at another dog or when he threw a very noisey tantrum about being left alone. I’m probably friends with more dog trainers than any other non dog trainer out there and I found it hard to accept “he’s just a puppy” as the unanimous response to my concerns. I don’t know where I got this notion from but I thought I needed to mould Butters into a perfect canine good citizen before he turned 4 months old. That however he was at 16 weeks was how he’d be for the rest of his life. I was a sleep deprived ball of stress and anxiety for those two months.

He’s nearly 6 months old now and he’s still far from perfect but we train a little every day and we go to obedience classes every weekend so hopefully we’ll have the dog of our dreams eventually. In the meanwhile he’s keeping us highly entertained, he’s slotted into the pack very nicely and I’ve dialled my worrying down to about a two and three-quarters!

You can read the Facebook comments on this post here.


#3 I am in fact the type of person who sends their dog to daycare

I’ve always been of the opinion that doggy daycares are for other people. For people who got a dog but don’t really have time for it. I guess if I’m perfectly honest there was a little judgment attached to my belief. In my previous life I worked long hours but I’d get up early and exercise our dogs, whatever the weather, before leaving them. I wondered why dogs needed more than that.

Well, look at me now, haven’t I changed my tune?! Mr Butters gets chauffeured across the city once a week to spend a day at daycare. I’ve seen too much bad behaviour and personality clashes at dog parks to ever feel comfortable bringing my dog to one. Especially my puppy who’s over exuberant, a little rude in his play style and doesn’t always come when he’s called. He loves to play though and I want him to be good with other dogs, so letting him get it out of his system in a safe environment once a week (while I get several hours of blissful uninterrupted work done) seems like the perfect answer.

I guess I’m one of “those people” now. Judge away!

You can read the Facebook comments for this post here.

red pit bull type puppy standing behind a bar wearing a green bowtie on st patricks day

#4 People will think you’re THE ABSOLUTE WORST for not letting them pat your puppy (or letting their dog say hi), but that’s ok

Everyone will want to pat your puppy. Other owners will want their puppy to “just say hi”. Butters goes from zero to over-excited (lunging, barking and basically carrying on like a pork chop) in a heartbeat. I don’t want him to be rewarded for that behaviour by getting what he wants so if people approach I try to step in and stop any meeting from happening. The most common reaction is they pull a face like I’ve just mortally offended them (and their dog!).

I may be ruthless™ but I’m also pretty sensitive and I don’t like people thinking I’m mean. I’ve had to push that aside though. I’m advocating for Butters. So he doesn’t have a life of being kept in an exclusion zone because he’s been practicing over-excitement so much that he’s now become an expert at it.

If you see a dog desperately trying to get your attention do the owner a favour and resist the urge to interact. Hard as it is (believe me, I know!!).

You can read the Facebook comments for this post here.

upside down dog

#5 You become mildly obsessed with poop

Who knew that watching my puppy do a nice looking poop would bring on such a feeling of pride? I’m responsible for creating this perfect little work of art because I’ve succeeded in feeding Butters a healthy balanced diet!

Am I alone here with the poop obsession? (I don’t think I am because I was at a dog’s birthday party last weekend and the conversation turned to this very topic!)

I’ve had a trying time getting Butters’ food right. I overfed him. I gave him too many options and made him fussy. I fed him chicken wings without the fat taken off which upset his stomach so bad he didn’t poo properly for days. Those days are behind us now, thankfully. I make his raw mix from scratch and he’s doing really well on it. He’s growing faster than I’d like but unfortunately that isn’t something a change in diet will reverse!

I’ll post a photo of his perfect poop in the comment section … lol, just kidding, I’m not quite that gross!

You can read the Facebook comments for this post here.

wrinkly red pit bull type puppy leaning over wooden beam in park at sunset

#6 If you monitor your puppy’s every move and take them everywhere you may end up with a dog that doesn’t cope with being left alone

I don’t know if I’ve done an amazing job at preventing Butters from destroying any of our stuff or if I’ve done an amazing job at creating a dog that expects me to be nearby at all times. I fear it may be the latter.

I’ve been a bit of a helicopter parent. I know where he is at all times and he’s never unsupervised for long enough to get bored. To date he’s only chewed up one pair of headphones (not on my watch I might add!). Our new daybed is still untouched by dog teeth and Dave’s lovely lawn is mostly hole-free. If I’m going somewhere and I can take Butters with me I do, for socialisation purposes.

The end result is we now have a puppy that wants to be with us all the time. He’s got one hell of a set of lungs and wants the world to know how hard done by he is!

We’re working on it and hopefully it’s not too late to turn him around. Wish us luck.

ruthless ratpack four rescue blockheads

#7 If you have a multiple dog household training a puppy is going to cost you a fortune in treats

I carry treats everywhere so I can reward Butters when incidental training happens. It costs me a bloody fortune though – I can’t seem to reward him without having to dish out three more treats to the scab dogs that all want something for nothing. (In fairness, all their recalls are improving, so it’s not exactly nothing.)

Prepare yourself for having to reward everyone when the puppy does something right or prepare yourself for several disappointed faces when only the puppy gets a reward. I’m too soft, so I get to spend much of my free time making dog treats. I guess it keeps me out of trouble.

man kissing red pit bull type dog on forehead

#8 Don’t make any big plans for your life or business because unless you’re superhuman and can exist on no sleep you won’t have time for anything new in your life

Every year, during summer, I take a break from shooting and spend a big chunk of time working on my business and personal projects. This summer was to be no different. But then our foster puppy manipulated us into adopting him by being so damn cute and funny! I gave myself two weeks off working to just enjoy him. I genuinely thought I could then go back to working 8+ hours a day and he’d just slot into the routine our older dogs and I enjoy. Nope. Just nope. Tell her she’s dreamin’!

I tried to undertake a massive personal project in January, as planned, but I was finding it almost impossible to fully submerge myself into it. Some good friends reminded me that Butters won’t ever be a puppy again and to just relax and enjoy him, so I did just that. I have no regrets.

man holding red pit bull type dog like a baby in arms

#9 You’ll master next level stealth mode

My next enterprise might be petty burglary because I’ve become pretty excellent at tiptoeing, whispering and generally not waking the baby. My bladder is learning to become very strong too. I do love when Butters is awake and being entertaining but, when I’m trying to work, sleeping Butters is my favourite kind of Butters. If you knock on my door and wake him, ignoring the no soliciting sign, it won’t be pretty!

senior pit bull type dog with puppy on leopard blanket month three
senior pit bull type dog with puppy on leopard blanket month four

#10 They really do grow up so fast

Serena from Pretty Fluffy, owner of another Butters (Butterscotch, not Peanut Butter), imparted some very wise words on me when we first adopted the boy – “take lots of photos, they grow up so fast”. Sticking my camera in his face every five minutes was always going to be a given but just how fast he would grow came as a shock to me. Only four months ago he was this tiny and now he’s almost as big as Bruno! He’s growing close to a kilo a week.

Trying to keep on top of editing all these photos has been hard but I’m so grateful that I have them. It seems like an eternity ago that I could carry him and his sister under one arm. I can’t even push the beast off me with one arm now when he decides that he’s going to deposit all twenty-something kilos of himself across my chest on the sofa!

Do you have a new puppy too? You’ve probably got your hands full with training and socialising, and it’s easy to think “I’ll book a session when he’s better trained”. But then they’re grown – and everything about their smallness will fade faster than you can say “have you seen my other shoe?”.

I have a Puppy Package that makes it easy for you to book three sessions to remember it all. We’ll get to catch more than one phase – and you’ll get to keep all your favourites. Click the button below to enquire today and we can swap puppy stories!

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