6 Things I’ve Learned After Adopting My First Dog

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Pendleton dog

It’s crazy to believe that we adopted BINGO just over 18 months ago!

Paul and I couldn’t imagine life without him or with any other dog for that matter. We’ve made a lot of progress with his separation anxiety, but we’ve also taken a couple steps back when we picked up and moved from Los Angeles to Portland.

We love our rescue pup BINGO!

owning a dog

He’s a shy little guy who came to us with a lot of shelter stress after being abandoned by his family. We thought he was just going to be our foster dog, but he adopted us instantly! Neither Paul and I expected this, because he was labelled as aggressive when we decided to foster him.

We couldn’t believe how quickly he bonded with us and we fell in love quickly and adopted him pretty fast after that.

Here’s are 6 things I’ve learned so far about owning a dog and life with a pup:


1) Moving is STRESSFUL

We weren’t sure how BINGO would react to our big move, but it was definitely stressful for him – especially coupled with his separation anxiety. We’ve lived in Portland for almost 6 months and have yet to find a daycare that will accept him.

His problem? He will bark for almost 1-2 hours straight thinking we’ve abandoned him and he is so scared, it overrides his ability to relax and play with other dogs. He was fine at his daycare in Santa Monica, but not so much since our move.


2) Get Ready to Walk – A LOT

BINGO is a Terrier Mix and requires more attention and exercise than your average dog. Which means he gets a minimum of three 30-minute walks a day – longer if we can. Before we got BINGO, Paul used to wear a pedometer. After about a month, he stopped wearing it because he was hitting an average of 15,000+ steps a day!

If you’re thinking about owning a dog and welcoming a furry friend into your family, make sure you have the time to commit to walking him or her. The benefit for you? It’s great for your health and a perfect way to stay active.


3) Find a Good Pet Sitter ASAP

I do recommend finding a good pet sitter or dog boarding place sooner rather than later. Since we were new to Portland, we didn’t have any friends or family members that could watch BINGO when we traveled. Do your research for a good pet sitter or doggie hotel as many of them have wait lists or require a pre-interview for temperament.

It’s sort of tough to rush into a dog hotel at the last-minute and many of them book up quickly for the holidays. You might also go through a few pet sitters or doggie hotels before you find the right one, so give yourself lots of time.


BINGO goes river tubing with us on the Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon

4) The Unconditional Love

Owning a dog was new to me and can I just tell you – the unconditional love is the BEST thing ever! BINGO is always waiting to greet us with a flurry activity when we get home and he’s pretty much obsessed with Paul.

He either needs to be lying or sitting between us at all times or be touching at least one of us with his paws or head – making sure we are still there. To him – we’re a trio.

puppy graduation petsmart

5) Do Sign-up for Training Classes

We found an amazing dog trainer and obedience classes at our local pet store and it’s done wonders for BINGO’s confidence and social skills. He listens really well now and no longer barks when a big dog approaches him.

Our classes cost us around $100 and were about 6 weeks long for about 2 hours each. It was great bonding time with BINGO and we learned how-to be better pet parents because of it. BINGO also learned a lot by watching how other dogs would behave.

Stainmaster spray

6) There Will Be ‘Accidents’

Yup. Every once in awhile BINGO will have an ‘accident’ in the house. I keep STAINMASTER® Carpet Pet Stain Remover and a few microfibre cloths under the sink ready for quick clean-up.

It works to remove stubborn pet stains and contains ODOR REMOVE™ technology which cleans and protects against the next ‘accident’. You won’t be left with any pet odors, dirt or stick residue.

All you need to do is spray and wait 3-5 minutes to allow solution to penetrate the stain. After which, dampen the spot with water and blot with a clean cloth. You want to make sure you treat the stain immediately for best results!

stainmaster pet spray

Looking for STAINMASTER® Carpet Pet Stain Remover in the cleaning section (not in the pet section) of Target – like in the aisle above. Look for this Cartwheel offer and save!

STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover is not available at all Target locations, but is available online. Click here to find STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover, or have it shipped for free, to your local Target store. I picked mine up at the Target store in Beaverton!