Whats more important that capturing puppy memories???
Did you know instantly that your dog was for you as soon as you saw them? When I first met Montgomery at a shelter in Tennessee, I knew we were meant for each other! I had to photograph him for his shelter profile and didnt want to return him back to his kennel, I immediately got in touch with my partner and her came on his work break to meet Monty and we took him home right then and there.
Our first few months together flew by. Just like all new dog parents, those early puppy-love days with Monty were difficult but also amazing
Here are some of the things I wish I did to celebrate those first few months and develop our lifelong bond. Shortly after getting Monty we moved and then had a baby so it felt like his puppy stage flew by faster then usual, my biggest regret is not savoring that time more
Take all the photos
Capture sweet moments by hiring a pet photographer! but also capturing as much as you can yourself. I have a few great images of Monty on my camera but my favorite photo is one of him and Rhett asleep in the back of the car after a fun filled day and Rhett is using Monty as a pillow.
Monthly milestone pics of important moments will be precious to you as your dog grows. Puppy faces change to gray muzzles so quickly. Perfectly posed photos are lovely but the outtakes are my favorite for puppy memories. Also you can never have too many sleepy photos of puppies!
Schedule a session with a professional pet photographer you know like me 😉
Professional photos are a MUST because you don’t just get pictures of your beautiful new family member that you can print. You also can get pictures with them to show off just how young and small they were with you. An experienced pet photographer will be able to capture the love between you and your pup. Don’t put off puppy pictures because you might not like the way you look and feel in this time in your life. They are only so small for a short time, take advantage of that. Some photographers like myself offer pups first year packages. My package includes four short sessions within a 12 month period capturing your puppies growth and personality as they change and evolve.
I had photos taken with Rhett as a puppy and I cherish them. I wish I would’ve made time with Monty, it’s a regret I cant undo.
Set a routine that includes fun and exploration
Routines aren’t just when your pup sleeps, eats, and goes potty. Schedule time for snuggles and fun or a weekly adventure, so togetherness grows as your puppy grows, too.
In your routine, think about all the unique ways you can bond with your dog, like including a quick game of tug after a potty break. Set aside time for walks, or my favorite, cuddles before bedtime. By making routines less “routine,” you and your puppy can infuse joy in more minutes of the day, and set a bond-forming habit for life.
Build a solid training foundation
Proper training early on will help your puppy make sense of the world, and you both can bond over those joyful ah-ha moments when you discover you can communicate! With Rhett we start off great, getting a trainer and doing daily short training sessions on our own. Rhett went everywhere with us and was so well behaved by the age of 1. I wish we would’ve done the same with Monty
Having a solid training foundation is essential in my opinion. You and your puppy learn to understand each other is the key to a long and successful relationship.
Keep a journal or memory book
Who says just human babies should get baby books!
The goal is to capture the firsts, the best moments, the fun times and silliness of your puppy as they happen. In addition to weekly highlights, track their growth, the food and treats they like (or dislike) and anything that will be interesting to remember (and helpful for your veterinarian, too). Trust me. You’ll enjoy revisiting these moments in the future, when you and your now-grown dog are having quiet time on the couch. You’ll be surprised to read how much you both have changed and grown together. Dont stress about doing this perfectly or weekly, even jotting down notes in your phone is nice too. Thats what I did with my human son Fitzgerald, its still fun to look back on.
Adventure together for puppy socialization
Get out there and enjoy life! Weekly adventures help your puppy grow into a happy, comfortable adult, and build your own lifelong habit of seeking out new experiences together.
Have fun, but don’t overwhelm your puppy with too much stimulation or with frightening situations. Pay attention to how your dog is responding to new sights and sounds, and take a break if you see any signs of fear or stress
Paw print preservation
I wish I would’ve done this sooner, I have paw print ornaments of my dogs but not puppy sized ones.
Recording a paw print every few weeks to chart their growth is adorable. You can also use paw prints in art projects or to make keepsakes like ornaments or clay molds
Take the time to ensure puppy memories aren’t forgotten
Monty is 5 now and I still think about our first months with lots of snuggles on my baby bump. I’m so glad I took the time to absolutely fall in love with him but wish I would’ve done more.
Did you do something else meaningful in the early days that you think more puppy parents should try? How did you capture those puppy memories? Shoot me an email and let me know or post on instagram and tag me