We Got a Puppy! My Experience and Tips for First Time Dog Owners

This post has been sponsored by Hampr. Thank you for your support of my work with local businesses that help run Belle on the Beltline! All opinions are my own.

we got a puppy dog basil first time dog owner cuddling playing pet

Meet Basil, the newest member of our family! Ryan and I adopted a puppy and it has been the most amazing (and exhausting) last few weeks. We have been planning to adopt as soon as the wedding craziness died down and the holidays were past- we have been looking for rescues for months and telling ourselves, “January, January, January” whenever we saw one we loved. Well y’all, we made it to 7PM on Jan 1. That’s right…we got one the first day we told ourselves we were “allowed.” Basil just turned three months old and was rescued off the side of the road on Oct 15, 202- our wedding date! I can’t believe someone could just abandon our sweet boy- he is a bundle of joy and we are so lucky to be able to raise him. 

we got a puppy dog basil first time dog owner cuddling playing pet

The Work That Comes with a Puppy 

It’s been about two weeks of having Basil in our lives and we have loved every second. Don’t misunderstand me though- it’s so much work. But, it’s rewarding, cuddly, and fun work.  We got a lot of ‘warnings’ from others when we told friends and family we were planning on getting a puppy, but I truly had no idea what to expect as puppies are so different than the fully grown dog our family had growing up! Here are a few things have helped make the transition to puppy parenthood easier and helped to lighten the mental load that comes with our little guy.

Having a puppy is a lot like having a baby- except that baby will run, crawl, climb, and get themselves into anything and everything! It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to be by their side all the time. The best thing Ryan and I did to avoid getting burned out and stay organized was to outsource as much as possible- from anything to food delivery to laundry!

we got a puppy dog basil first time dog owner cuddling playing pet laundry delivery

Laundry with Hampr

The biggest thing I’ve noticed with having a puppy is the laundry…it never ends!! And with a puppy in tow that wants to be with you all the time and play, laundry has taken the hardest hit with our housework (vacuuming however, is a very effective way to get him to leave the room- he is terrified of it!). Our laundry has just piled up since getting Basil– luckily we’ve had very few accidents, but he uses a lot of towels for his crate, wiping his muddy paws, and bath time. Plus, he has a tendency to get our human clothes dirty after playtime outside, so our human laundry has been piling up, too. 

As much as I wish I could do it all, I just can’t. And chores that used to be simple, like a load of laundry on a Sunday, have been falling through the cracks as Basil demands 100% of our attention at all times. With him by my side, chores that used to take 2 minutes now take 15 because something as simple as loading blankets into the washing machine has become a tug of war game. It’s so cute- but has definitely been an adjustment! There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day anymore now that we’re going on three walks a day, having playtime, and training time. 

We’ve been using the Hampr app to do laundry and it has completely changed the game. Hampr is a laundry app that allows laundry pickup in their easy little baskets right to your door. All you have to do is load up your basket, pick a time on the app for pickup, and select your laundry settings for washing and drying (you can even save your custom settings in the app- mine are: wash on warm, soil level medium, with a low heat dry!). The laundry is returned the next day folded and ready to go, like it’s done by little laundry fairies! It’s honestly the most amazing thing and has lighted both my laundry & mental load (no pun intended).  It’s so nice to have one less thing on the to do list and to lighten my mental load of “another task” to complete…I never realized how much time and mental energy I spent every week doing and folding laundry! Getting that time back has meant one less stressor on me, and more time to do fun things, like puppy playtime.

we got a puppy dog basil first time dog owner cuddling playing pet laundry delivery

Hampr has been a huge help- for both puppy laundry and human laundry. We schedule our pickups during the weekdays about once a week with our Hamprs that the company sends you in your welcome box, usually presorted (one hamper for towels, one for sheets, etc) and they come back the next day folded and ready to go. Then, all I have to do is put everything away- my time spent doing laundry has gone from about four hours a week to 20 minutes! It’s amazing how much getting something so simple delivered has changed how organized I am- using Hampr just completely opens up my brain space to focus on more important things, like Basil. 

we got a puppy dog basil first time dog owner cuddling playing pet laundry delivery


Right now we are focusing on potty training Basil and teaching him to sit and give kisses (he is teething right now, ouch!). We use mealtimes and ‘special treats’ to train Basil, because he’s extra focused when he’s hungry or realizes that pumpkin puree is in the mix. I made a huge batch of homemade dog cookies and froze them- it’s amazing what you have time for when laundry isn’t on the list! Basil loves them and they allowed us to potty train him in just three days. You can find the recipe here.

We have been amazed by how smart Basil is. When we adopted him, his foster mom told us he was the smartest dog she’s ever fostered in her years of helping the shelter. He learned to sit and learned it at the shelter just by watching another dog get trained! He’s definitely learned that treats are involved with sitting- he also shows off how he can sit when he wants our dinner or snacks, which is so cute! 

He’s also learned to sit by the back door when he wants to go out, and he sits by the front door when he wants to go on a walk. I can already tell he is going to be a bit mischievous- when he has something he knows he shouldn’t, like our shoes, he makes sure we don’t see and takes off running under the furniture.

Our Daily Puppy Routine

Waking up with Basil has been the toughest part of dog ownership, no question. We’re so grateful that he sleeps through the night, but in the past two weeks he has woken up anywhere from 4-6 AM. Because he is so young, he must be taken out immediately or he will have an accident, so this rough part of puppy ownership is unfortunately unavoidable. 

Right now, our schedule with Basil mostly follows the following, with him being let out about every 2 hours:

  • 4:30-6:00 AM wakeup & take him out outside
  • Playtime
  • 6:45 AM breakfast
  • 7:00 AM first walk 
  • Playtime, naptime, and free time in the yard
  • 12:00 second walk
  • 12:45 lunch 
  • 5:00 third walk 
  • 6:45 dinner 
  • Playtime, naptime, and free time in the yard
  • 9:00 bring him up to our bed to relax and wind down
  • 10:00 bedtime in his crate in our room
we got a puppy dog basil first time dog owner cuddling playing pet laundry delivery

My Tips and Tricks

I’m no expert on dog ownership and every dog is different, but here are a few tips I’ve learned on the fly while adjusting to our new puppy (that weren’t mentioned in our training books)! 

  • Outsource as many tasks as you can- something as easy as Hampr can make such a difference! Having a puppy is a little similar to having a newborn- except they can walk and get into everything. Being able to keep your focus on them for the first month and not worry about laundry, or just get dinner delivery, makes a huge difference. 
  • Before you get your dog, puppy-proof your home. We cleared everything off our bottom shelves of furniture, and put items that need to stay on the floor, like our shoes and our computer routers, in wicker baskets and sprayed them with no-chew spray. I also stuck all of our decor on flat surfaces to tables with museum wax, so if Basil decides to chew and yank a lamp cord, the lamp won’t budge. 
  • Keep regular mealtimes and use them for training. Dogs are super schedule oriented and this helps them so much. We have our schedule for meals written on a sticky note on the fridge to keep us honest with our set times, and use them to teach him commands. Basil hasn’t been super interested in the treats the shelter gave us, but he loves his kibble. When he’s hungry for dinner, he learns the quickest. 
  • If you have a dog that likes to dig, line your fence with bricks. We checked our fence before we got Basil, but completely underestimated how quickly he would search for an area to climb under. My mom gave me this trick and it’s helped my peace of mind that we can let him play off-leash in the backyard.
  • Get your puppy acclimated to things that he’ll have to get used to early. For example, we let people pet Basil, we take him on car rides, and we get him used to us touching his mouth, paws, and even gently pulling on his tail. That way, it will be much easier later in his life when he has to go in the car, or to a groomer, or even if a child accidentally pulls on his tail. 
  • For teething dogs, frozen veggies, ice cubes, and even toys dipped in water and frozen are super soothing. I even took bits of pumpkin puree and froze them in mini ice cube trays- Basil loves these! His gums have been super sore and inflamed and the numbing effect helps him. 
  • Have a doggy ‘station’ set up by your door. I reworked my gardening cabinet by our backdoor to hold all of Basil’s belongings, and it’s been super handy to have everything organized for him. Right next to where we let him out, we have his leashes, puppy wipes, the treats we use for potty training, tons of old hand towels that we use to wipe his paws, etc. Having everything right there and ready to go has made 4:30 AM trips to the yard so much easier. 
  • Have a ‘go bag’ and car station set up for your pup. Like my station by the door, I also have a tote bag and my car each stocked with wipes, travel water bowls, treats, poo bags, etc. That way, we will always be prepared when we need to go somewhere with Basil. And don’t forget extra beach towels in your car- we inevitably always need them!
  • Keep teething toys in your pocket. Basil can get nibbly right now, which is normal as his new teeth come in. When he gets nibbly on my toes or hand, having a toy I can bring out of my pocket in <2 seconds has been super handy!
Questions? Have your own tips and tricks? Want to share your puppy stories? Have you tried Hampr? Drop them in the comments! xoxo

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