Tips for Raising a Pup in College

I got my first pup when I was two years old. His name was Rolie Polie (after that 90's tv show about a robot family) and if I'm remembering correctly, he was a yellow lab. I didn't know it then, but that would spark a life-long love for animals.

I got my very own dog (not one that lived with my parents) on Valentine's Day three years ago and it changed my life forever. Having a living, breathing thing rely and depend on you is a huge responsibility, but it's so rewarding.

Getting to come home to a sweet pup face every day makes my day 10x better. If I'm sad, just having my pup lay next to me is comforting. There's just something about those four-legged fur balls that melts my heart.

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When I got Daisy three years ago, I was raising her with my boyfriend at the time so we shared most of the responsibilities. (I made him do the messy work.) We rescued her from a shelter and she had a pretty tough time adjusting to coming home with us. Neither of us had ever raised a dog before, so we were clueless. We left her alone for maybe an hour and came home to a couch that looked like it exploded. She pooped and peed all over our carpet and scratched up the front door. We learned very quickly that crate-training was the best option for us. When he and I went our separate ways, she stayed with him. I was heartbroken, but I knew it was for the best. 

I ended up getting an 8-week old lab/pit puppy a few months later. Bailey is the most rambunctious pup I've ever met in my life. She has SO much energy, it seems like I can never wear her out. We got Daisy when she was six months old, so we were pretty much past the puppy phase. I got Bailey right at the beginning of it. Bailey has chewed up shoes, clothes, furniture, cords, batteries... the list goes on and on. Raising a puppy on my own has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. When I had Daisy, I had someone to help. Bailey is my responsibility alone and I didn't realize how much effort it requires to raise a puppy, especially in college. 

Here are some tips I've come up with to help all of you college dog mama's out there:

* Shop for dog toys/accessories at places like TJ Maxx. They're so much cheaper than pet stores like Petsmart and Petco. Walmart also has cheaper toy and treat options.

* Use the Ibotta app to get cash back every time you buy dog food. Use code 'bnwvwgs' to get $5 when you sign up and redeem your first rebate!

* The $4 flea collars from Walmart work just as well as the expensive prescription ones from the vet.

* Make sure to keep your pup updated on their shots. You never know what they might get into or what other dogs they might come in contact with, so keeping them vaccinated is super important!

* Keep chew toys and bones readily available, especially if you have a puppy. They will chew EVERYTHING. Buying a $5 chew toy is much cheaper than having to replace things in your home that they've gotten ahold of. 

* House training your pup can be difficult, but repetition and consistency are key. Try to take them on walks frequently, especially after they eat or drink. 

* It's important to let your dog socialize with other humans and animals. Dogs that are cooped up all the time are more prone to have issues interacting with others. Take them to the dog park or go for a walk. You're bound to run into another person/dog!

* Before moving into a new house/apartment, make sure dogs are allowed, for one, and that there are no breed restrictions. I was keeping Daisy for the last couple months and when I moved into my new apartment, I was told I was only allowed to have one dog. I had five days to get Daisy out and ended up having to bring her back to my ex. It was such a sad thing to have to do. 

* Love your pup unconditionally. Owning a dog can get frustrating at times, but it's all trial and error. They're learning just like you are. 

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Your dog loves you just as much, if not more, than you love them. They depend on you for everything and you are everything to them. Having a pup in college is a big responsibility and requires a lot of hard work and effort on your part. I've seen so many people get puppies only to give them away when it gets tough. Animals are not just objects you can get rid of whenever you feel like it. They are living creatures that deserve all the love in the world because that's what they give us. 

So if you're thinking about adding a fur baby to your life, be sure you can handle all the responsibilities that come along with it. For you new pup moms out there, hang in there. It may seem tough at first, but it's so worth it. Dog's are man's best friend for a reason. There aren't many things better in the world than having a cute pup snuggled up next to you.