Why Babies and Puppies Should Come With Manuals

By September 9, 2013General


(Note: There is an amazing resource at the end of this post. Also? When I’m sleep deprived, I get a tad sarcastic. Fair warning.)

What’s Wrong With this Picture?

Last week I bought a speaker for my computer. It came with an instruction book.

My car? It came with an instruction book.

My blender? Came with a book.

Vacuum cleaner? Book.

When we came home from the hospital with our oldest daughter, we got a flyer.

A flyer….!

Blenders come with instruction books and babies come with flyers. Ok, maybe there were two flyers. But still… we wonder what’s wrong with our world?!

New Parents Again…Sort of

Now that was 11 years ago. Why am I unearthing this wrong done to us so long ago?

Well, we just got a puppy. And guess what our puppy came with?

That’s right. A flyer.

A flyer to guide us through the next 12–15 years of his life. As a new puppy parent I feel woefully uninformed and possibly misled.

Before we got Captain (yes, we named our dog Captain), all our friends said how great it is to have a dog. They said puppies are so cute. They said a dog completes a family. They said its fun.

These are all people who don’t remember what it’s like to have a puppy.

They DIDN’T say that having an 8 week old puppy is much like having an 8 week old baby.

Except harder. (sarcasm alert!)


My husband and I are back to taking turns having sleepless nights, staying up late trying to make decisions about paper training, crate training and clicker training.

An inordinate percentage of our prayers involve the phrase, “Please make him go to sleep.”

Babies diapers can be changed inside, in air conditioning and luxury.

Puppies need to be taken outside where there are flying bugs and possums and nasty creatures that I can’t see because….HELLO….it’s the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

But look! Isn’t he so cute?


I mean, be still my sleep deprived heart. He is seriously the sweetest, most adorable puppy ever. He juuuust needs to sleep at night and go potty oooooutside.

There is a reason God made babies and puppies cute, But I also believe I meant for them to come with books.

Do you have any advice (or words of hope and encouragement) for this sleep deprived puppy mama? Please share.

A Great Resource from Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae

I’m so excited about this….my friends Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae are doing a parenting webinar THIS WEEK.

sally-clarkson-sarah-mae-webinarSally is the author of many motherhood books including The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood
and she co-wrote the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe with Sarah Mae. It’s a four day webinar that will be packed with wisdom and encouragement. I honestly can’t speak highly enough of Sally and Sarah Mae. I’ve known them both for a couple years and they have deeply inspired me as a mom. I know you’ll learn so much from them too.

You can get all the details and register by clicking here.

I hope to see you there!

Leave a Comment



  • Cathy says:

    They do have puppy books at the pet stores and puppy classes that you can take the puppy to.

    • Kat says:

      Yes, I can’t wait to take Captain to a puppy class. He’s not quite old enough yet, though. Any puppy books you recommend? I’ve looked at several (and I’ve done a lot of reading on the web as well) but would love a recommendation if there is one you’ve read and enjoyed.

      • Floria says:

        Funny this, life. As you write I’m using The Blog Starting Kit to map out my blog “for dog owners” in Spanish. There’s soooo much info out there in English and not a fraction of the amount in Spanish. One of my absolute best ever recommendations is using Clicker Training. Google Karen Pryor Clicker Training and buy a few clickers, the puppy training DVD and the book “Reaching the Animal Mind” this book will forever change you as a person. I promise. You will never see life the same way again. The book is also available as an e-book, I read my copy in Kindle.
        Enjoy your puppy! All time and effort invested at this stage will pay off for the rest of the time you have him!
        PS- Clicker training, when done correctly really speeds up potty training aaaand crate training 🙂
        Please keep us posted and feel free to email me any time you want to.

  • Kristy says:

    Puppies are A LOT of work. But just know, unlike a baby – which takes like 3 yrs to “train” (potty issues at least), a puppy takes about a month. Now the chewing will be longer. But after around a month, your puppy will be totally trained to potty outside. Just take him out LOTS in the beginning. Make sure he goes, then bring him back in. When our dog was a puppy, my daughter wanted him to sleep in her room, which totally solved our night time waking issues. He was snug as a bug in a rug in her room. Good luck! The hard part will be over soon, then you will have a loyal, lovable, furry family member. It just takes a while to get into that rhythm.

    • Kat says:

      Woohoo! That means we only have about 3 weeks to go. And the past two nights, he’s done MUCH better with sleeping through the night. Despite the potty training and night time waking, he’s already been such a HUGE blessing to our family. I love how much more time we spend outside now. My kids adore him and he is so nice to have around the house now that the kids are in school all day.

  • SusanDR says:

    That is seriously an adorable puppy! (And your daughter is pretty cute too!). Just like kids, nothing lasts forever, and soon you will have forgotten the trouble you are experiencing now and have the most unconditional love from your dog. (If we didn’t forget why would any of us have more than one child or one pet?). And as your daughter grows up, you may even have days where you love your dog more than her (LOL – hello teenage years). Good luck with your new family member. It won’t be long before you cannot even remember life without Captain.

    • Kat says:

      Thanks! Yes, I think in my sleep deprived state, I just need reminders like that. 🙂 It’s ridiculous how naive I was when we got him. My husband and I knew he’d be a lot of work during the day, but it hadn’t even occurred to us that he would need to go at night too. Ha! And he made us think we were super puppy parents the first day because he slept through the night AND didn’t have a single accident all day. Must have been the exhaustion and excitement.

  • Captain is so adorable, Kat!
    So here’s what helped me: Their bladders can only hold for as many hours as they are months old. It gets better fast! Of course training has to happen fast too. The first time we crated up Maple and put her in another room and she whined, I almost relented and another mom said, “if you relent now it won’t work,” which saved my skin and she was happy in her crate ever since. We give her a yummy treat every time we put her in too. Now at a year and a half we aren’t sure we even need to keep the crate. Oops, she’s snuffling at the door to go out. I’ll sign off. Love to you!

    • Kat says:

      That’s so encouraging Beth. And I can see that even after two weeks he’s learning and growing soooo much. Last night he went nearly 10 hours before waking up and needing to go out.

  • Elizabeth says:

    We have two beagles, Ranger and Wriley. We got Wriley at 8 weeks old when we lived in a town home with no fenced in backyard. Since I worked from home I got her on a schedule of when I would get the leash and take her out. I think when she was little it was once every hour. At night Wriley would sleep in her crate. We would take her out to potty right before putting her to bed. Every time she went outside to go potty she received a treat. If she needed to go potty before the “scheduled time” she would whimper or go to her potty pad in the house to let me know. With Ranger it was easier because we had a house with a doggy door. Our beagles are precious and so good with our kids. Just wait until he starts to bay, or brings you a rabbit through the doggy door. Good times are in store for you. 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    We have a yorkiexshitzu. They have VERY tiny bladders as pups….totally can identify what you are going thru. I did tons of educating myself before we got her and I thought I had it all figured out….well she did everything the books say dogs won’t do!!! She used her crate as a bathroom even!!! Accidents all the time. Soooo frustrated I was I googled everything….the best piece of advice I read was roll up a newspaper (I was like here it comes) and hit YOURSELF in the head cause you are not watching closely enough!!! I was totally humbled and from that point I relaxed…. and she grew. She is totally trained!!! She actually rings a bell to let us know she needs out. Best thing we ever did. Just hung a bell on a dangley chain on the back door and rang it each time we took her out. It is a short season….(tho it seems long in it) You will get thru!!!He is super cute!!! Have fun:)

  • Tristin says:

    Congrats on the puppy! As for the potty stuff, I’m sure that will work itself out since your choice is personal to your routines and desires.

    The one thing I wished I knew earlier when I was raising my puppy is that a tired puppy is an obedient puppy. In other words, if I wore my pup out with a walk or play, he was clay in my hands for training, and he lost his urge to chew on everything. 🙂 He’s eight years old now, and I may be biased, but he’s the best dog I’ve ever met. Enjoy your little guy!

    • Kat says:

      Good advice. He loves to be outside so we try to keep him up and outside playing with us until the kids go to bed. It has definitely helped. I can’t wait until he gets all his shots so I can take him for evening walks!

  • ellen says:

    We got our dog at Christmas and he’s been so much more work than we thought. But. He’s been the best gift we’ve ever given our children. A dog is a relationship that involves unconditional love and a whole lot of responsibility and I love watching that grow in my children. He can be a handful at times but he’s also the first thing they want to see when they come in the door.

    I checked out a stack of dog training books at the library and my favorite was Imagine Life With a Well-Behaved Dog.

  • Rebecca says:

    OH, he is gorgeous!
    My husband’s grandfather raised hunting dogs (including beagles) and swore by a ticking clock placed just outside their kennel or bed for company to help them sleep.
    We found our dogs to be much happier with a crate “cave” where they could escape the noise and busyness of family and friends coming and going. We keep ours right in the main family traffic area. We teach our dogs the command “kennel” that we use during meal times, when a visitor drops by, or when it’s time for us to go. We leave the door open unless we are leaving, though.
    Good luck and enjoy!

    • Kat says:

      I’ve read about the ticking clock idea. I’ll have to try it tonight! We have a crate, but it’s one of the wire ones so we need to get a cover for it to make him feel a bit cozier, I think. He definitely is beginning to like it more and more, though. I also like how you called it a kennel. Something about the word crate isn’t very cozy. 🙂

  • alicia says:

    Crate train at night abd when you are gone. For daytime potty training, take a bunch of jingle bells and tie them in a ball and hang them from a rope on the handle of your backyard door(inside the house). Make the dog ring the bells everytime you take him out. At first just push his nose against the bells. Eventually he will ring the bells on his own to go out. Worked VERY quickly for us..

    • Kat says:

      His crate training seems to be going well, but I need to use the bell idea for potty training. It hasn’t gone quite as well. 🙂

  • Ariana says:

    I have words of advice as a fellow new puppy parent: This too shall pass. 🙂 I keep saying having a puppy is like jumping right in with a two-year-old, never mind an infant. Human babies at least aren’t mobile, AND they wear diapers so the poop is somewhat contained.

    Puppies grow up faster than babies, as a commenter said above, so before too long he will be reliably house-trained and sleeping through the night, and then you will have a wonderful, sweet companion. Totally worth it.

  • Erica says:

    I am a veterinarian and know how difficult puppies can be. I strongly recommend Dr. Sophia Yin’s book–The Perfect Puppy in 7 days. It is on Amazon and there is also a kindle version. It is a great book with tons of photos that is perfect for the new puppy owner. She also has a great website that is all about using positive reinforcement–www.drsophiayin.com

    Hope that helps-

    • Kat says:

      I was actually looking at that book yesterday on Amazon, but I just didn’t know if it was good. I’m off to go get it now! I’m also happy to report that the past three nights he has slept straight through until 5am and went into his crate at night without complaint!

      He has already been so good for our family. We get outside so much more and he is such a stress reliever for the kids. Thanks so much for your recommendation!

  • Joyce says:

    I have no advice, but I am lifting you up in prayer! :p

  • Anne says:

    Oh my word. I had a puppy when I was single and lonesome. It is SO busy!
    Crate train! For sure! Get the puppies for dummies book. Find a trainer and do a puppy class so Captain gets socialized. Sleep in an old tshirt and then put the old tshirt in the kennel to help captain feel like you are close at nighttime. Trade water for ice cubes after 8 to minimize the nighttime pee trips. Get a kong chew toy and stuff it to keep that puppy busy, and teach him to chew on things that only belong to him! Much love from one puppy mom to another!! My puppy is 7 now and a happy gentle loving to my kids member of the family:)

  • Amy says:

    Take the water away around 8:00 pm and then before going to bed take Captain out one more time. A friend recommended this to us and it worked like a charm with ending the middle of the night trips to the back yard. I also recommend the bells. We used this on our first dog 23 years ago and have used it ever since. It is also great if you ever move to let the dog know which door is for him. Crates are you and your puppy’s best friend. It gives them a safe place to go when they are tired. We have a one year old puppy now and he will go into his crate at nap time on his own. Good Luck!! Pets are a wonderful addition to a family and teach children and parents many wonderful things.

    • Kat says:

      Those are great ideas! We started taking his water away and it’s really helped. He sleeps almost all night now. If we can just push his wake up another 30 minutes, it will be ideal. Thanks!