Getting a dog is a big commitment. It changes your life in ways you will never imagine and you are never really ready for it.  From the first moment that Mochi came to our lives, everything got turned upside down! Here are some of the things I’ve learned in the last year about having a dog.

Bichon frise sleeping

1. Puppies are expensive

Even if you have planned everything out, you will soon realize that the amount of money you are spending on your puppy is A LOT more than you expected or budgeted for!

There are “classic” expenses: food, vaccinations, pads, plastic bags for their business. Add to that the “unexpected” costs: sudden doctor appointments, toys, and treats. Plus you may have to pay for dog daycare and classes. The budget you were thinking is probably not going to be enough.

When planning to buy a dog remember to consider ALL the expenses. Plus remember to look for cheap alternatives! We use Amazon to get better price deals than at dog stores. Remember, sometimes pricier doesn’t mean better quality!

bichon frise sleeping cute

2. You have to plan around them

One of the first things you will understand is that dogs, especially when they are puppies, need A LOT of attention! Even on days when you have a busy schedule, you have to save some quality time for them. Soon you find yourself planning your free time to be with your dog. Going out to restaurants or coffee shops becomes harder as animals are not allowed there (at least this is the case here in Toronto). You start inviting people over instead of going out. Or during summertime, you try to convince your friends to “just go for a walk”. You are going to start a new routine based on THEIR needs!

Bichon frise out for a walk

3. Everyone will comment on how you are taking care of your dog.

And by everyone, I mean strangers on the street! Once a guy stopped his car in front of me, pulled down the window, and started yelling at me that I shouldn’t walk my dog in the rain because apparently, Mochi seemed unhappy. Well… what he didn’t know (and started JUDGING me for) was that Mochi doesn’t pee at home and he will be in pain if I don’t take him out. However, at that moment I got very upset and felt like a very bad mom. But the reality is that YOU are the one spending the most time with them and YOU are the one who knows what’s best for them. Anyway … it took me a few more episodes to figure this out. Don’t get bothered by other people’s opinion.

Bichon frise dog puppy with hat

4. Go with your gut!

I have a big self-esteem problem. I don’t really trust myself and I prefer to count on other people’s judgment. Mochi made me realize that I have to trust myself. I spend most of my day with him so I am used to his behavior. Of course, I ask questions to my vet or I talk with other dog owners, but now I know that if I feel that something is wrong 99% of the time I am right. I am the one who knows when he is whining to get attention or when he is really in pain, or scared.

Bichon frise puppy portrait

5. Your house will never be 100% dog proof…

Before getting Mochi, and also during the first month that we had him, we spent a lot of time “dog-proofing” our place. Taking out carpets and hiding anything he could possibly chew. At the end of the day what I’ve learned is that with puppies no place can be 100% dog-proof…Mochi is a small dog but he can reach wherever he wants! We found him on our dining table, in the bathtub eating soap, on our bed chewing on the nightstands or any other place that you can imagine. I can’t say how many times we closed a door so “he can’t go into a room” to just realize a few seconds later that he WAS ALREADY IN THERE.

Bichon frise portait

6. Have great family or friends that are willing to help.

I honestly don’t know how other people take care of their puppies without having good support. We are lucky because we have family and friends that are always willing to step in if we need someone to help with Mochi! We try to leave him alone as little as we can. Dog daycares are amazing for busy days but they are not always open. On the other hand, Mochi already knows our friends and our siblings. He loves spending time with them!

Bichon puppy on jeep

7. You need these objects in your life

Before getting your puppy, you need to buy some necessities first. I can’t describe how many unnecessary things we bought but we completely forgot about the more important stuff:

  • PADS: We taught Mochi early to do his “business” outside. Still, you have to consider that for the first months, your puppy will not be vaccinated so you can’t take them outside. You are going to be surprised by the number of pads you are going to use for those few months!
  • KONG: As soon as you get a puppy, GET A KONG! There are a lot of restrictions about what puppies can chew. This toy is the safest choice for them and you will need it when they are teething. Plus you can put a little bit of peanut butter inside the kong. Your puppy is going to love it!
  • POOP BAGS: For when you start bringing your dog outside! I have bags in almost all of my purses! Just to be ready if we forget to change the empty one!
  • WET WIPES: Yes, I use the baby wipes! They are A LOT CHEAPER! The important thing is to see what’s inside and remember to buy the unscented ones! If you are not sure, just email your vet with the picture of the wipes you are using (that’s what we did!).

8. It’s a different type of love

In life, you’ll experience different types of love. Having Mochi showed me a new world! If you ask me now what happiness is, these are some answers:

  • His cold nose pushing on my face in the middle of the night so I wake up because he is bored.
  • Seeing him running in the snow for the first time and hiding his full face in it.
  • Trying to write on my laptop and having to give up because Mochi wants to sleep on my lap.
  • Having him kicking me in bed because he wants to sleep near my husband and I am in the way.

Having a dog means feeling a different type of love. My life turned upside down with Mochi. But I can’t be happier about this!

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