It’s been 7 months since we got our very dog, Mellie, a Border Collie. She just turned one a month ago! We got her when she was 4 months old and boy were we in for a ride. I think it’s time to do a post on my experience of getting a new dog and also some reviews of shops/dog trainer/cafes that we frequent together with some tips and what to expect for first time dog owners. I’ve always thought that I am more of a cat person but getting a dog is a whole different ball game (pun intended).
We didn’t plan to buy a dog from the pet store. Until now, me and Steve are still quite guilty about doing this. We started looking to adopt a dog or puppy from SPCA or other animal adoption agencies in Singapore like Causes for Animals and Mutts and Mittens for months but we just couldn’t find one that we bonded with or had the temperament to co-exist with my cat Amany.
We passed by a pet store near the Pasir Ris Farmway area and Mellie was just sitting outside being the active lass she is. The moment we pat her on the head, she would sit right down with her tail wagging. She was the most docile, calm, affection dog we have ever met! We bonded almost immediately but still hesitant to purchase her. The pet store owner took out her card and we immediately saw the sign in the stars. She has the same birthday as Steve’s dad! EXACTLY THE SAME. Ok i know that’s a long stretch but she quickly became the one.
We Learnt our Lesson:
So, recently, we discovered that Mellie is suffering from a hip defect and her hip ball and socket joints were not well formed. This is probably due to bad and irresponsible breeding. We love her all the same, if not more, but now Mellie will never be able to do long runs, play fetch and high agility movements without feeling pain in her legs. We swim weekly with her now in our pool to build those muscles but moral of our story is, do not buy dogs from pet stores. They breed for looks and not health. It’s always better to adopt and crossbreeds usually do not suffer such gene defeats anyway.
Ok back to our dog experience review.
I swear to you, this is Amany’s face when we got the dog, until now, i think she is still -.- “like really guys? REALLY?!’
What to Expect:
- Things You Need to Get before the Puppy Comes
- A puppy pen or cage that’s not too big or small for her. Something that fits 2 to 3 times her size would be good enough.
- Dog leash – get a thin one that doesn’t retract. Those are best for training her to walk beside you.
- Poo bags + Poo bag holder that clips to the leash
- A chew bone (if your dog is a bigger breed, you may want to get something less destructible as they can finish it in days).
- Water and food bowls. This portable one is great for bringing out!
- Research on which are the best type of foods you’d like to give your puppy. I’ll list some of my favourites below.
- Treats. These are the important as they help so much during training. You want to get the kind that you can break into tiny pieces or small beads/nuggets so you can give a tiny amount multiple times.
Everything else that the pet shop says need, you actually don’t. And anything cute or fun, can always be added on later. Start with these basics and learn what else you need as the days past.
- Toilet/Pen Training
Be prepared to clean up poop and pee for a good 2 to 3 weeks. Even the smartest dog breed took a little time to learn where to go when she needs to. Start by first agreeing with your partner or family members where your new pup is allowed to go and where she’s not. When she takes a pee on the wrong area, sternly tell her ‘No’. What i found really helpful is to soak up some of her pee or pick up her poo then placing it on the correct place(s) then direct her attention to it.
Don’t give up! Your new pup will get it eventually.
– I placed a floor mat in the puppy pen for her to lie in but she took it as a pee pad instead. When she was no longer sleeping in a pen, she did went around peeing and pooing on floor mats all over the house for a few days. Also, on our expensive carpets as well. Do not leave a floor mat or use it as a pee pad/pee area during your training!
– When she did something wrong, we placed her in her pen with her feeling guilty and sad that we were angry. Never let the puppy think that the pen is a place she goes to when she is being punished. She wouldn’t want to stay in there for long this way.
- Puppy Biting
This is what most people are afraid of, new puppies destroying furniture. But with the right toys and discipline, your new pup is going to know what she’s not allowed to chew. Puppies also chew when they are bored. Try to keep them physically and mentally occupied to prevent thing from happening. If your dog is a medium to large breed, don’t bother getting those puppy biting bones. Ours went through those in a couple of days, if not hours. Get those virtually indestructable nylon ones. These work very well for us:
This was taken one day when Mellie managed to get her hands on our letters and papers on the table. God knows how! Be prepared for disasters like this. Keep everything you hold dear to your heart AWAY from places that your new puppy could reach. RIP invoices, letters, best laid plans and sunglasses.
When we got down to the kitchen, we were trying to hold our laughter. It was SO FUNNY because she looked so guilty! We just can’t bear to scold her but it has to be done. We took a deep breath and lowered our voices for a good smack down.
Places to Shop for Pet Stuff
I’m sure there’s always a pet store near you but if you’re interested to shop it online, I’d recommend Kohepets.com.sg if you’re in Singapore.
I was introduced to this website by a colleague of mine and when they contacted me, I decided to place an order with them to try it out. It was a fuss free experience and one-stop shop to get your pet supplies delivered to your doorstep. They were responsive and communications was superb. I got my delivery at the exact time they said they would as well. I have a cat and a dog and getting pet supplies can be a very heavy affair even when I drive. Having them all delivered is so much easier!
You can get an array of pet foods, treats, toys, even cat condos! I’m having my eye on one or 2 and should be placing an order for them soon. They’re all so pretty, i just can’t decide!
You can get:
- Free samples to try out
- Regular promotions on food and treats
- Giveaways on their Facebook or Instagram
- Delivery within 2 working days and it’s free above $60!
Do also check out their Donate section where you can purchase food and donate them to shelters at cheaper prices. I think that’s definitely what sets them apart from other online pet stores!
Here are my picks for treats from my last order:
Places to Visit / Food Places that Accept Dogs
- Bishan Park dog run. This place is a great to bring your dogs to socialize with others. They learn how to meet, greet and play off leash. Try going on the weekends between 6 to 7pm and that place is packed!
- West Coast Park Dog Run. This place is HUGE! Even with training area + logs available. I would avoid this if its raining though. It does get quite muddy.
- Little Guilin at Bukit Batok. Explore the lake + park!
- Tanjong Beach. Teach your dogs how to swim here!
- Henderson Waves
- Colbar at 9A Whitchurch Rd
- Sunset Rail Cafe at Clementi Arcade
Recently, we decided to expand Mellie’s potential as the smartest dog breed to beyond what we knew. Border Collies are herding dogs and they tend to take the lead in walks and some behavior because she wants to be in control of her sheep! She also has separation anxiety when one of her ‘sheep’ goes away to order some food or simply crossing the road. -.-
We managed to get ourselves a Border Collie specialized trainer (he also trains other dogs) and his name is Lucas Bong from Smartdoggy Academy. Just so happens, he stays just 1 street away from us and has 2 lovely Border Collies himself. He is absolutely great and we’re only half way through! He knows what he is doing and is very affection to our dog as well. We totally recommend to have him train your dog and if you’re interested in lessons, you can get in touch at +65 9790 3033. #notsponsored #justamazing
It’s a 10-15 year commitment when you get a dog or any pet for that matter but you know at the end of the day, it’s unconditional love. I never knew how fun or funny it would be to have a dog. To be honest i was always a cat person! Now i still feel like i connect more with my cat because well, we have the same temperament and introvertedness :X. But Mellie completely changed my mind about dogs and you can just feel their love emanating from the bottom of their hearts.
Even on a bad day, you can just sit with them and never feel like you need to explain, convince or prove to them how special you are and vice versa. Consider adoption always as a first step! If you have any more tips for me, i’m still learning and would love to hear from you. Comment below or drop me an email!
Dog Training Research I Use that were Effective