5 Things Being A Dog Owner Has Taught Me

June 22, 2015

*Special thanks to Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser for sponsoring today’s post. #1StopPetShop
Benefits of owning a dog
After spending two years as a dog foster parent for PAWS Chicago, I decided it was finally time to do something that I’d been wanting to do since I was a little girl: adopt a dog of my own! So last month, I made the BEST decision of my life; I adopted my little long hair Dachshund mix puppy Loki. Loki has quickly become the love of my (and my family’s) life! He’s silly, intelligent, eager to please, kind, loving and the world’s BEST cuddler. In a nutshell, Loki’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Loki has taught me so much about myself. For instance, thanks to Loki, I now know that I’m not the heavy sleeper I thought I was (who knew such a small dog had such a powerful bark!) They say when you adopt you’re saving the dog but honestly, it’s Loki who’s saved me. I can’t imagine my life without Loki and I’m so thankful he’s apart of my family now! Here’s 5 things being a dog owner has taught me:
1. Having a dog is a lot of work (but it’s also a lot of FUN!)
Dachshund mix puppy
Taking care of a dog is no joke. From daily walks to grooming to cleaning up poop, a dog is a lot of responsibility but if Loki has taught me anything, it’s that the work is WORTH IT! In April, my work schedule changed so dramatically that I had to give up my daily 7PM bike ride (sometimes I substituted jogging for biking.) Although I could have changed my daily exercise routine to the early morning, I was so stressed from work I thought why bother. Now that I have Loki, I’ve reinstated my daily workouts. Loki has become my little jogging buddy and I couldn’t be happier. Sure I’m still tried everyday after work but as soon as I walk into Loki’s little room (he’s claimed my mom’s office as his bedroom) and see him holding his leash, I feel an overpowering boost of energy! 
2. Dogs thrive on encouragement.
Dachshund Lab mixDachshund Lab mix
Just like people, dogs like to be rewarded for working hard (and showing progress.) Never scream or get angry with your dog if they don’t do what you say. Instead, reward your dog when he or she demonstrations good behavior. We’ve been teaching Loki to sit for about two weeks now and he finally (mostly) has it! Whenever he sits, we reward him with his favorite treat, rub his ears (which he LOVES) and say “good Loki!” Seeing how positively Loki responds to giving encouragement has prompted me into giving more encouragement and praise to my friends and family. I’ve always been the first person to congratulate and celebrate my friends (and family’s) achievements but lately I’ve been going the extra mile!
3. It’s OKAY to make mistakes!
Owning a Dachshund
I’m by no means a dog expert but I’m starting to learn that that’s okay. Before adopting Loki my family always thought that a Golden Retriever would be the best breed for our family dynamic (in fact, we’ve been collecting Golden Retrievers training books for years!) The thing about adopting a dog from a shelter is that you don’t know what dogs you’re going to see there or fall in love with. If you would have asked me last year if I’d have a Dachshund, I’d just laugh. I’ve always been a big dog lover. There was just something about small breed dogs that didn’t catch my attention. As fate would have it though, I happened to fall in love with the cutest, fluffiest, nicest small breed dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. All dogs breeds are different so all the Golden Retriever resources I have laying around won’t do me any good. Since adopting Loki, I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes. There’s no guide book to parenting (although the Dachshund Dog Bible is pretty close!) 
4. Socialization is KEY!Dachshund Lab mix
Socialization (especially when your dog is a puppy) is very important! I’ve learned that even though Loki loves to keep me company while I’m working or cooking, he also loves interacting with other dogs (and people!) I make sure Loki gets enough play time with other dogs at our local dog park and have even enrolled him in Puppy Academy classes (he starts next Saturday!)
5. Dogs appreciate everything you do for them.
Dachshund Lab mix
No gesture is too small for your little furry friend. Up until last week, Loki had been sleeping on the blanket we first brought to the shelter when we adopted him. Although it’s a super comfy fleece blanket, we wanted him to have a special place to sleep, so we splurged on an adorable sheepskin plush bed. Dachshund Lab mix
Can you tell how much he loves it? 
You know what else dogs appreciate? Yummy food! Loki’s taught me that just like people, dogs enjoy the finer things in life (and that includes food!) That’s why I buy only the best for my little Loki! The IAMS brand believes that the right diet can do amazing things for pets, including boost immunity, help burn fat, help maintain muscle, and help promote healthy digestion, aid in weight loss, reduce tartar buildup, and, in some instances, even nutritionally manage the progression of disease. During my (daily) visits to Target, I always make sure to stock up on IAMS (Loki’s favorite is the Smart Puppy dry food!) Not only is it super convenient (since I do all my other shopping at Target,) but it’s also really affordable thanks to Target’s Cartwheel app!
Dachshund Lab mix
Check out the Target Cartwheel Deals here:
10% off IAMS dog food (includes both wet & dry) (Expires 7/25)
You can also check out IAMS on Facebook!
Do you have any pets? Do they love IAMS as much as Loki does? What has being a pet owner taught you?