The Apps and Websites Helping This New Puppy Mama
We’re beyond excited! We just recently got a new puppy. She’s beautiful. But learning to raise this tiny pup in our wintry Wyoming home showed us there were many things we didn’t know. We wondered if she was warm enough. We worried if she was eating enough and eating the right food. Was she barking because she was anxious, happy, cold, scared, hungry? When she growled, was she being playful, or was she upset? How long would it take to potty-train her? And how often should she see a vet?
With these questions, and many more, my smartphone has become a portal to help me learn what my puppy needs to be healthy, happy, obedient, and pampered. After all, while she’s our first puppy, she’s not the first one ever. No reason to re-invent the wheel, especially in this day and age of apps, websites, and blogs all designed for the new pet-parent.
I never doubted that we would love her—my daughters and I are really good at loving—but I knew we also needed to learn how to care for her. As you probably know, caring for and loving your pet can be two different things sometimes, especially when it’s your first. So, we started with the basics.
First thing, we downloaded the Puppy Coach 101 app. We found videos from a professional dog-trainer that helped us navigate crate training, teaching her to learn her name, and even giving us handling and grooming advice.
One of my daughter’s friends suggested another app—Human-to-Dog Translator—that we all put on our phones. This app helped us learn her sounds and to make puppy sounds of our own. I’m pretty sure it helped us communicate with her, but I know for sure it provided hours of laughs as we spent much-needed time together with our new puppy, and we discovered that my husband can do an intimidating growl.
And an interesting thing happened. We did learn about the puppy, and we came to love her more, yes. But even more—we grew closer together as a family. That was one of the reasons we got her in the first place, but the surprise in all of this was how the apps on our phones helped that happen. We were learning together. We were succeeding and failing—together. Her life wasn’t about who’s turn it was to feed her or clean up after her—it was about how we were growing as the family that was raising her—together. I’ve been looking at my phone differently ever since. What else could I put on there that would hold me close to my growing girls? I don’t know, but I’m not done looking.
In addition to the apps, we also found some websites that helped us feel like pet-experts. Here’s three of our favorites:
1) Best Friends
Each of these sites is a treasure-trove of information that teaches you everything from pet-health to pet-training. We found articles on how to care for our dog’s teeth and the best physical touches to make her feel safe and loved. We read about dog-nutrition, dog-behavior, dog-facts, and places to buy dog-supplies. My youngest read about helping at an animal shelter, and what it’s like doing rescue work for pets, and she hasn’t stopped talking about becoming a veterinarian since.
All of these apps and websites not only answered our questions but opened our eyes to a world of pets and animals that we’d never known. And it was FUN! So fun, in fact, that we kept finding more and more—right from the device in our pockets!
One of my most recent happy finds is a Kindle book that I have downloaded entitled, 52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog. My children have used this to teach our puppy a few tricks, and surprisingly, it has made us feel so much more connected to her. Maybe that’s because she is learning more than tricks. She is learning about us—that we love her and that she’s safe in our home.
My vet (and 800,000 other pet owners) use the website and mobile app, PetDesk to schedule appointments, get updates on vaccinations, and stay connected to those helping maintain their pet’s health. You can even use the app (and website) to connect with your pet-groomer—keeping all of your puppy’s needs in one place.
We use Amazon to track down our dog’s favorite doggie treats, collars, leashes, etc. This gives us more time at home with our puppy—she hates it when we leave!! And the time shopping online with my daughters has given us a few memories too.
I can’t wait for my family’s summer Wyoming adventures—it will be like exploring these favorite places all over again as we introduce our beloved dog to our hiking, camping, boating, and traveling traditions. Even as I write this I’m excited to start looking for pet-travel-apps, websites, and blogs to take advantage of the world of wisdom that can be found online.
Do you have a pet? Do you want the best for them? Turn to your phone. Turn to the technology that’s been created just for you (and me)—the pet lover! And let us know about your favorite pet apps and websites in the comments below. We know we haven’t found them all, yet!