Real Life: Ch-ch-changes

We brought Lucy home a week ago yesterday, and wow, what a week it’s been. She’s the sweetest little bunny, and we both just adore her. But much like having a kid, bringing a little puppy into our family has definitely changed the dynamic, which wasn’t something I had really thought about or considered before we got her. Of course, everything will feel more natural in time, but this last week, I couldn’t help feeling more empathetic for all new parents — of pets, for sure, but more specifically, of children. Hello, lifestyle change!

I think it’s natural to feel a bit unsettled anytime you have such major change in your life, whether it’s from a new job, or a move, or whatever, but adding another body to the family has so far been one of the most interesting ones Joe and I have gone through. It’s funny. With getting married, nothing really felt different, probably because we’d been together for so. freaking. long. But with Lucy, suddenly we can’t think of each other as much, because we have to focus so much energy and love into our little nugget, who needs us right now as she transitions. Make no mistake, we absolutely knew all this going in and prepared mentally, but it always feels different when you’re in the center of it. We also know it won’t always be this way, and don’t get me wrong, we are having so much fun laughing and playing with her. It’s just a change, you know? It got me thinking — what are some of the other gamechangers you’ve had in life that required an adjustment on the part of you and your partner (or friends)? How did you acclimate? And for those of you with dogs — how long until I can sleep a full 8 hours? :)

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  1. 11.28.12
    natalie said:

    when we got our dog-son beau, he cried at least once a night [just like a real little baby] and wanted someone to come comfort him. it was a big adjustment, but after a few weeks, he was sleeping through the night and now my hubby and i just can’t see our life without him. [and it helps that hubby lets him sleep in our bed!].

  2. 11.28.12

    Awwww, she’s so adorable, what a sweet little face.

  3. 11.28.12
    Jill said:

    Such a cute pup! My now-husband and I moved in together the first year of law school and got a dog about 6 months later. Luckily he was an adopted dog who was already house-broken, so we didn’t have to train him, but it was still an adjustment! I think it’s a great practice round for having kids someday– working together about who is going to feed/walk the dog, when, etc.

  4. 11.28.12

    that face!!! Wish I could help, but I didn’t adopt Bailey until he was 6 months, so it didn’t interrupt my sleep to much. It definitely affects travel trough!

  5. 11.28.12
    Kirby said:

    I completely know what you mean! My fiance and I got a puppy last month and even though we wouldn’t trade him for anything, the dynamic is definitely different!

  6. 11.28.12

    Aww, she’s a cutie! The rule of thumb is that a dog can “hold it in” an hour for as many months old they are after drinking. So, if you let Lucy drink water before bed, you can expect that she’ll need to pee 4-5 hours later at this age. If you feed her and let her drink (a lot) for the last time around 6-7, then she should go out before bed and be fine until morning. The key is being aware of how much water she’s taking in – it’s unlikely she’s going to be truly thirsty unless she’s running around like crazy before bed or it’s hot.

    My husband and I do not allow our dogs to wake us at night to go pee, and they haven’t “asked” since they were about 5 months old. My mom, on the other hand, always lets her dog go out when it wants and 4 years later she’s still going out at 1am while the dog sniffs around. Sometimes you have to be the mean mommy :)

  7. 11.28.12
    Randilea said:

    I love her little face! Makes me want another dog, but grad school and dogs just don’t mix well :(

    I think it was about a month after getting my dog-child Chloe that I was able to sleep the whole night. That first week crate training her was the most rough! Having a dog definitely is a game changer, but I would still do it again. There’s nothing like snuggling with a dog! :)

  8. 11.28.12

    Awww how exciting! When I rescued Simon I had a mental freak-out (our family dog was still alive, but ooold, and I didn’t want him feeling replaced!). But it took me a month to get used to my little wild thing, getting him to walk on a leash, lift his leg, etc. Then my sister and parents bought Simon’s brother and sister (from a second litter) and that was even crazier!!! We over-committed to the whole dog thing but that was such a fun time, with two puppies rolling around the house. Definitely don’t be afraid to use pee-pads for overnight (just in case)!

  9. 11.28.12
    Gina M. said:

    It took my pup a few weeks to adjust to her new home, but a general rule to keep in mind is that puppies can “hold it” for as many hours as they are in age (months). So a 4 month puppy can only go 4 hours without having to go potty. This helped us immensely with potty training and we really saw an upswing with this once she hit 6 months. Now, she can stay in bed all day, in fact, she prefers to laze around and while we’re getting ready for work. Your sleep will come!

  10. 11.28.12

    Oh man, I remember those early days with Tucker. It really is kind of like having a baby. I got pretty lucky with Tuck; he started sleeping though the night pretty quickly and didn’t have too many bad puppy behaviors (like chewing.) Potty training was the toughest for sure. Hang in there! She’s adorable.

  11. 11.28.12
    Chelsea said:

    It took our puppy dog a few weeks to adjust to life, but it’s been a blast ever since. And a good step towards having a baby – which was our HUGE game changer. It’s been a really great ride full of ups and downs, but my best advice to anyone, whether it be a plant, dog, or baby that changes your life, is communication is key. I thought my husband and I had great communication and we did(ish), but adjusting it so that we can raise a child has been a process. There have been a lot of laughs, some tears, but mostly a lot of fun!
    Sleep will come soon, I promise! Lucy is such a doll and furthers my desire for a frenchie!!

    Haute Child in the City

  12. 11.28.12
    Alex said:

    You know I am obsessed with my pup! But when he was a baby. I couldn’t handle it. He was terrible with sleeping, it took him unusually long. But then… at around 6 months he starts to really understand you are his momma and you fall so much more in love with them that none of the annoyance matters like it did when they were puppies. Promise. It happens. And as for the relationship, its a serious lesson in parents, but one I’m really thankful for. There won’t be any surprises when we have babies now :)

  13. 11.28.12

    Oh my goodness she is so cute!

  14. 11.28.12

    I feel ya, friend. I really do :)

    I think someone said it up there but communication is key. I knew having a dog would be work, but this hard!? no way. of course our situation is a bit different, but still… hang in there.

    it will get better.

  15. 11.28.12

    aww I so feel ya on this one. We got Seamus, our 14 week old Eng. Bulldog pup, a little over a month ago and balance is FINALLY restoring to our home. We got him so that Wilma (3 yo Eng Bulldog) would have a friend and because we did all of this with her – we just kinda figured ‘we got this’. Were we ever wrong. First of all, hes totally different, as children are. And secondly, the puppy thing is intense. Esp. for Wilma. Im sure she’ll grow to love him, but right now… not loving it so much.

    I love seeing Lucy on here and Instagram. Please please please keep up the pics!

  16. 11.28.12

    ps – we trained Seamus the way we did with Wilma. At first, we got up every two hours. Puppies dont want to go in their beds/crates, because its their safe place so they will try NOT to at most costs. BUT, sometimes they just gotta go. So we did every two hours the first few nights. Then we realized, NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY, so we started doing it every 4. Then slowly we would wait for his signal, and just wake up when he yipped/barked in his cage. Now, at 14 weeks, he’s sleeping thru the night completely and is being super good. But when we are up and awake with him during the day, I NEVER use that rule of they can hold it for the same amount of hours as they are old. Puppies are curious and busy and will go just to go or when they find a new smell. To combat that, I took him out every hour or so, just so he was forced to empty his tank :)

    goodluck!! hope it gets easier soon! Its funny, we KNOW all the right things to do and what a serious commitment it is, but when you are actually IN it, its more than that it seems!

  17. 11.28.12

    She is so sweet! It get so much better – I promise! Pretty soon, you’ll create a routine that’s unique to the three of you and she’ll fit right in. We’re often reminded of this whenever we dog sit for friends. Our dog, Orvis, just fits our lives and our routine so well. It wasn’t always that way, but it will surely happen for you guys and Lucy. I hope you all get to sleep through the night soon – that’s definitely not one of the perks of having a puppy. It really does get much better though!

  18. 11.28.12

    OMG so cute! I was hoping you would post a pic. Exact pup I want but unfortunately my boyfriend and I need to wait until we move :(

  19. 11.28.12
    Traci said:

    Omg she is adorable! We have had our frenchy for 2 years now and I PROMISE it gets better. If you crate train her at night and put her crate in a place not so close to your bed she will eventually realize you can’t hear her and go to sleep. In a few weeks she is going to figure out her crate is her home and not want to leave it. It is definitely a crazy adjustment but now you can enjoy your new family!!

  20. 11.28.12

    We love Frenchys!

  21. 11.28.12
    Kelsey said:

    Lucy is just the cutest! We have a frenchie puppy too (named Dexter) and they definitely have big personalities! We live in Laurel Heights in SF and he just LOVES to be outside of the apartment, exploring the neighborhood and any patch of grass he can find haha

    They are definitely a handful and I wish I could lie and tell you I sleep all the way through the night (although it’s mostly because Dex is snoring, not because he is actually awake). It just takes time :) hang in there!


  22. 11.28.12

    Love the cute little face! We’re waiting — I’m practically counting the days — until we get a dog. It all depends on when we get a place with a yard. I can only imagine how this time is… both excited and hoping it won’t be too bad… Have fun with your expanding family.

  23. 11.28.12

    Lucy just kills me with cuteness!

    My biggest adjustment was moving across the country from Atlanta with my boyfriend of two years. We moved in together (yikes!) I began working from home after being in an office environment for 6+ years (yikes!) and then add the cross-country move factors like unfamiliar surroundings, loss of nights out with best friends, etc. (double yikes!) and needless to say, we had to make many adjustments to behaviors and attitudes. Both of us. Luckily, we got through it swimmingly and a year later we’re just fine, but I think my best advice to anyone thrown a curve ball is to be patient, pick your battles, and listen. Not just say you’re listening, but actually listen and hear and take to heart.

  24. 11.28.12

    So glad she’s got a good home with you.

    Love From,
    Eat Cake

  25. 11.28.12
    Lindsay said:

    I rescued two puppy Malteses three years ago. It was definitely six months before I stopped worrying constantly about them. Izzy had a klutzy streak. And Tink ended up WAY tinier than we expected. But they became adjusted and slept through the night in just a couple weeks. A little walk (as much as they can do as a puppy) or some play time at the end of the day tuckers them out, ensuring more sleep. Hang in there and enjoy. Lucy looks like a sweet girl.

  26. 11.28.12
    Kelly said:

    I feel much better now knowing that you just got Miss Lucy; I kept seeing photos on Instagram and thought, “wow, I really am out of the loop!”. It took us maybe 2 weeks of absolute craziness with Luca. She would cry and whimper at night and need to go out. We got her in December…. in Ohio….. it was SUCH awful timing, but actually just last night Christopher and I were talking about how sweet it was when she was brand new and needed to go “potty outside” ever hour- only it was so cold she would curl up in a little ball and wedge herself in between our snow boots. I’ll never forget those moments!

    I’m looking forward to going through the absolute craziness all over again soon- only I’m sure it will be an entirely different craziness with twins vs. a pup!

  27. 11.28.12
    Emily said:

    Aw, what a sweet pup! It’s so hard having adjustments like that. I remember when I first got my dogs they would need to go out about 4-5 times a night. But after about 3-4 weeks they lasted through the night, and after about 3 they were fully trained. It’ll go by fast! Just drink a lot of coffee ;)
    Isn’t That Charming.

  28. 11.28.12
    Christine B. said:

    Coming from a family that never had pets I never realized the needs of puppies. However, my mom just dogsat my aunt’s pups over the holiday weekend and she described it as having “giant infants” (they are mastiffs). Here’s hoping your pretty pup enjoys sleeping so much that you get 8 hours soon!

  29. 11.29.12

    It gets easier! We were kind of shocked too when we got our puppy last summer. We knew it was a big change, but not quite as big as it was! Post-potty training its a lot easier, especially when they don’t need to go out as much!

  30. 11.29.12

    Congrats on the new addition to the family! Batpig & Me love following your blog and Lucy is just so adorable.

  31. 11.29.12
    Maria said:

    My dog that I’ve had since he was a puppy has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me- he’s taught me to be patient and caring..I’ve seen such a maternal side come out with her. While having a puppy isn’t the easy its so rewarding, your little pup beyond loves you- how sweet is that.

  32. 11.29.12
    brighton said:

    I love your honesty V! But oh boy, I would be having a REALLY hard time with that! The older I get, the more I’m realizing how selfish I am! And how I want to be in control of my time. the though of not being able to sleep because of a dog? I just CANT even imagine having kids! Good think I have some time to wait! haha

  33. 11.29.12

    We just discovered your blog and absolutely love it. And your new baby is so darling!! The beginning is the hardest, but soon you won’t even remember life without her. Start training early and be consistent- she’ll appreciate it later and you won’t regret it!
    xox Liz and Lo {}

  34. 11.29.12

    I totally get it! Dogs completely change your life :)

    Just know that it IS hard at the start (even with them being SOOOO CUTE!), but it gets easier. My dog is now 11 years old and I now look back so fondly on her time as a puppy.

    Possibly the best advice I ever got was that while you will always love your dog, they are happiest when you are the leader of the pack and in control – it’s less stressful for them. The more you can teach her now (puppy preschool etc), the more boundaries you give her, the happier she will be.

    Also for potty training, teaching your dog to go ‘on command’ works a treat! Just everytime they’ve had a meal, woken from a nap etc take him out and give him a command (some people use ‘Bathroom’ or ‘Hurry Up’ so they don’t look crazy!) When she finally does go, say the command again and reward her. She’ll soon associate the command with doing her business.

    Don’t ever underplay or feel bad for how stressed or different you may feel just because ‘she’s only a puppy’. She’s a new life in your care and its a transition for you.
    Wishing you lots of love with your new furry family!

    Oh and lots of walks, puppy training pads and Puppy Kongs with Peanut Butter are your friend!

  35. 11.30.12
    Elizabeth said:

    What a precious baby! At this point in my life, the biggest game-changer was moving halfway across the country to go to college. It was hard being so far away from my family, and I drifted apart from many friends. Of course, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had in college for anything. It’s just the beginning that’s so tough.

    • 11.30.12
      vmacandcheese said:

      “It’s just the beginning that’s so tough.” SO true! Of so many things in life.

  36. 12.4.12
    Laura said:

    I have a 3 year old Chocolate Lab and can totally relate to this! Although things are much more settled down I went through all the same feelings in the beginning. It is a major lifestyle change and although you prepare, you don’t know how it will feel until you’re taking your puppy out 3-4 times during the night. It does get a little easier every day and after a few months she will be sleeping long enough through the night for you to be able to sleep too. We brought our dog to a puppy training class when he was very young and also occaisonally daycare to help socialize him with other dogs. They really stressed focusing on rewarding what they do right and redirecting their attention when they do something wrong. If you are consistent, it really works.

    There is nothing better than having a dog, so it will all be worth it! They bring you so much happiness and so much love. Seeing him when I come home is the best part of my day. Good luck!

  37. 12.6.12
    K said:

    Lucy is amazing! I hope you are getting acclimated and getting more sleep!

  38. 3.10.15

    Hi Victoria!

    Do you have a post that explains the process of how you found Lucy or has recommendations about the breeder you worked with? I would love to know your experience. I’ve been clicking around old posts but didn’t find anything yet… but I did see the story about Lucy’s paralysis.. heart breaking! Even though it was a while ago, reading that makes me want to hug my own puffin.. so sending hugs to her both today!