This time around, with Hamilton, it’s been so much better. I wouldn’t say it’s “easier” because I think training puppies is hard work and exhausting, but it’s definitely less dramatic.
Some major things that are making a difference this time around:
1. Teddy was my first ever dog and I had never grown up with one so everything was new– particularly the new lifestyle of being a dog owner. I had to change my life honestly to fit the schedule of a new puppy. Now that I already have a dog though, my lifestyle is already good to go for dog life. Our lives are already shaped for dogs because of Teddy, so that part is much more natural now. I had just quit my job when I got Teddy and hadn’t fully gotten used to working from home so that’s also something that has helped.
2. It’s not winter!!!! People say there’s no good time to get a dog, and I would agree. There’s always going to be something going on life that can be considered a reason to wait a little longer. That said, I would highly recommend timing your new addition when it’s not freezing outside. I got Teddy in November. Because NYC sidewalks are disgusting, the vets recommend they not go outside on the ground until they’ve gone through a full round of shots. He was cleared the week of the polar vortex. It was miserable and disgusting “training” a dog inside for months. (Teddy was way to small to be outside in snow and ice.)
I go outside with Hamilton twice an hour right now as we’re in the full swing of potty training. It’s not fun, but I remind myself how thankful I am to be going out in yoga pants and a sweatshirt only.
3. We found an incredible vet nearby! I was really worried about leaving behind Teddy’s vet in NYC, we loved her. But this vet here in Stamford is exceptional
. They’re a father/son team and actually the nicest guys ever. Even though this isn’t my first rodeo, Dr. Steve sat on the floor holding Ham while he spent a solid 45 minutes walking me through everything and giving me the best tips. Things I wouldn’t have even known to ask. (And his assistant typed it up and emailed me the whole transcript.) I was nervous about getting a second puppy because I knew how stressful it was with Teddy, but I left Hamilton’s first appointment feeling unbelievably more confident.
(Total side note, but I think finding great doctors is a great life lesson in general. Having a relationship with a doctor who is passionate and caring and takes the time to get to know you makes a huge difference in the type of care you will have.)
4. It’s also a lot easier having a puppy outside of the city. Training a puppy in NYC is doable and when you have a dog you realize just how great the “dog community” of NYC can be. But…. it’s so much easier with more space, a car, and more grass. We live in an elevator building here which is more challenging than the apartment I lived in in the city, but that’s the only downside. We’ve been able to take the dogs to clean parks and Hamilton loves car rides already (versus city raised Teddy).
5. Having two dogs isn’t necessarily easier or harder. It’s different. Teddy knows Hamilton is here to stay now and they play so well together. It’s really cute to watch. They also tire each other out which is really helpful. Hamilton sleeps through the night without any issues. That said, it’s really hard to manage two dogs outside the apartment. I feel like I don’t have enough hands! I’m getting better at figuring out strategies for handling it all, so hopefully that part gets easier as Hamilton matures a little.
6. Lastly… it REALLY helps having Garrett around. We didn’t live together when I got Teddy so it was all me, all the time. The toll that took on me was tremendous. Now that there’s two of us, I feel like we’re in it together and it helps lighten the load. We’ve been doing a lot together but also tag-teaming so the other person can get a break. There aren’t enough words for how grateful I am to have someone as amazing as Gar.
I took them to a park where I knew there’d be a ton of grass and they had the best time rolling around in the sun. There was one part where the grass was a bit unkempt and tall– watching Hamilton hop through it with this giant smile had my heart melting.