Valentine’s Day is a time for spoiling the ones we love, but for single dog parents, that love is often focused on their furry companion. For many, their dog is their sole significant other, roommate, companion, and even their child. Single dog parenting can be a challenging experience, but with the right tips and tricks, it can also be incredibly rewarding. In this guest blog, meet Amy, a single dog parent to Angus. She shares her personal journey and expert advice on what to expect when taking on the role of single dog parenting. Whether you’re considering adopting a puppy or already have one, Amy’s insights are sure to inspire and guide you on your single dog parenting journey.
My Tail-wagging Childhood
Having grown up in a family that has always had dogs it was inevitable that I would have one of my own one day. The joy they bring and the bond that you have with them is like no other. The first dog I was ever introduced to was my dads’ best friend- Ben. He was a handsome red setter who doted on me from the moment I came into this world. He was mums trusty baby sitter and guard as he watched over me and protected me, he let me get away with everything.
I then grew up on a farm where we had two Alsatians and a Jack Russell. The three mischievous musketeers, the Jack Russell obviously being the boss.
Having had these wonderful family members throughout my childhood it was a natural thought that I too would have a dog as part of my family once I was married. Unfortunately, or fortunately (however you look at it) I have not found that special someone to share a little family with.
So instead of waiting for the perfect partner, I decided to focus on single dog parenting. As a single person working full-time, I had to carefully weigh the pros and cons before taking the leap. In the end, the benefits to my mental health and well-being made the decision a no-brainer.
Love At Fur-st Sight
One Tuesday evening in December, I stumbled upon a post featuring a beautiful little puppy who had been left behind as the last one in his litter. Being the “runt of the litter”, he was in need of a loving home. The moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was meant to be mine, and after a quick visit, it was love at first sight for both of us.
Starting my journey as a single dog parent brought a mix of emotions – excitement, happiness, love, responsibility, and anxiety. Despite the overwhelming feeling, I was determined to make it work and provide him with all the essentials for a comfortable first night. Little did I know that the first few nights would be filled with crying and howling. Leaving me as a full-time mum with no one to help with the night shifts.
The first week with my new puppy was a huge adjustment, both for him and for me. As a single dog parent, I found myself crying often, as I struggled to balance the joys of being a new pet parent with the responsibilities that came with it. However, I took comfort in knowing that this was a common experience for single dog parents. We were both adjusting to our new lives together. So I took the time to educate myself on the best practices through books and blogs.
Luckily for me it was the Christmas Holidays so I didn’t have to juggle work at the same time. I would advise anyone to make sure you have a least one whole week at home with your puppy before you leave them (unless you want to come home to unhappy neighbours and a lot of eaten furniture). To help us and help me stay calm I read every book and blog I could find mainly to get some advice and to also check I was doing things right.
My Tips and Advice
The process of raising a furry child on your own can be both challenging and rewarding, and I hope that by sharing my tips, it can make this transition easier for you.
My main advice is to not panic and to have confidence in yourself as a single pawrent. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious at first. But I can assure you that the love and joy you will experience will far outweigh any challenges you may face.
What To Expect?
- Sleepless nights: This is a common experience for many single dog parents as their puppies settle into their new homes. Be prepared for a few restless nights until your pup becomes comfortable with his new surroundings.
- Demanding puppies: Get ready to say goodbye to personal space, as your puppy will want to join you in everything you do. Showering, cooking, and even going to the bathroom will become a shared experience. Expect constant playtime, lots of walks, and the occasional accident as you potty train your new furry friend.
- Constant supervision: As a single dog parent, it’s important to be vigilant about what you leave out in the open. Chew toys and bones will become your new best friends, and everything from shoes to tablets must be kept out of reach. Your puppy will be teething for at least a year, so be prepared to keep a close eye on what’s within reach.
- A hectic household: Forget about a clean and organised home for now. Your puppy will get into everything and leave a trail of biscuit crumbs, chewed toys, and puppy pads wherever he goes. Embrace the chaos and remember that this is all part of the journey of single dog parenting.
- Barking: Be prepared for barking at everything. Your pup will bark at anything that catches his attention, from the postman to the birds, the neighbours, and even the spiders. With a little patience and training, this is a behaviour that can be corrected over time.
Teach your dog important commands like “No”, “Stay”, “Wee-wee”, “Quiet”, “Kisses”, and “Stop”. These commands can make your life as a single dog parent much easier by helping you manage your dog’s behavior.
Toilet training is an important part of single dog parenting. It takes patience and persistence, but once your dog is trained, your life will be much easier. Encourage your dog to use puppy pads and reward them for going potty outside.
Be prepared for the demands of single dog parenting. Your dog will require constant attention, including playtime, walks, and potty breaks. You may also have to deal with barking, chewing, and accidents.
Give your dog plenty of love and affection. Even though you may be a single dog parent, your furry child still needs lots of love and attention. Try to make time for cuddles and playtime, even on the busiest of days.
Stay vigilant when walking your dog near roads. Use the “Stop” command to ensure your dog stays safe and under control.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s from friends, family, or a dog-walking service, having an extra hand can make single dog parenting much easier and more manageable.
Things to remember
Here are some things to remember when taking on the role of a single dog parent:
- Your dog is, and will remain to be, the boss no matter what you tell yourself. Embrace the dynamic and make the most of your bond with them.
- Your happiness will improve 100%. Your dog will always be there for you, providing unconditional love and affection.
- Say goodbye to your bed, as your dog will soon take over.
- There is no such thing as a bad day with a dog. They always have the ability to bring a smile to your face and lift your spirits.
- Your dog will become your bodyguard, providing comfort and security.
- Prepare to have your camera roll filled with pictures and videos of your dog.
- Your social life will revolve around your dog, and you will do everything in your power to include them in your activities.
- Get ready to dance and sing with your dog, they won’t judge you, they will just love you for it.
- If you’re single, your dating profile will likely mention your dog and you may only consider dating someone who also loves dogs.
- Your parents may come to see your dog as their only chance at grandparenthood.
- You may experience separation anxiety when away from your dog, and set up a puppy cam to check in on them during the day.
- Your friends with cats may stop inviting you over.
- Your dog may become the main topic of conversation, even when your friends are talking about their kids.
- “Netflix and chill” takes on a whole new meaning, as it becomes a time to cuddle up with your dog and watch a Disney movie in matching pyjamas.
The Joys of Single Dog Parenting
Single dog parenting has its own set of challenges but the reward of having a furry companion is immeasurable. With Angus by my side, I’ve seen a drastic improvement in my anxiety and overall happiness. As a single dog parent, I make sure to include Angus in my social life and I always follow the Dog Furiendly motto of “if I can’t bring my dog, I’m not coming”. This has led to new experiences and opportunities to meet new people. All while having the best adventures together with my furry child. I am grateful for the love and companionship that Angus brings into my life, and I truly believe that with a faithful dog by your side, who needs a man?
Brilliant read!! Great tips. Also a single doggie mum, wouldn’t change if for the world x
such a good blog! loved reading this
Really well thought out and written. Could relate to a lot of it myself!
Awww, so true ! – great blog. Single Dad to a Labrador pup and loving it. Lot’s of fun, loads of ‘accidents’ and a huge amount of love 🙂