What Should You Give the Person Who Just Got a Puppy?

Honey the Golden Retriever puppy naps under the desk.

What are you complaining about? I’m adorable.

Honey is four years old now. But her puppy months are burned into my brain.

Because of her, I realized that I hate puppies.

But with a little distance, I’ve learned that puppyhood wasn’t that awful. I was just poorly supplied.

Here’s my list of things you should give the person who just got a puppy.

Best Gifts for the Person Who Got a Puppy

If you’ve ever raised a puppy, you’ll agree with this list. And probably add a few of your own.

Sock and Underwear Insurance

Hey, my organic undies stitched by fairies paid a living wage cost a fortune. A good insurance policy would definitely have paid for itself.


Because when you tear your hair out after the puppy pees on the rug inside the door immediately after coming inside from a potty break, you’ll need chemical help to grow it back.

Body Armor

Mere clothing is not enough to protect you from puppy shark teeth. And since puppies tend to latch on to body parts that protrude, you may also consider breast reduction surgery.

Honey the golden retriever puppy bites the hand that feeds her.

So this is my new person? He tastes delicious.

Chemical Disposal Unit

You’ll need it to get rid of all the amazing products that were supposed to help you survive accidents (Nature’s Miracle, Ewww) and chewing on furniture (Bitter Apple spray).

A Step Stool

If you get a climbing puppy, like my first foster, Scooter, you’ll have to put everything he could get into higher than six feet off the ground. Yep, good luck reaching anything if you’re short.

Scooter on the drafting table

I have no idea how Scooter got up on the drafting table. One minute he was on the floor. The next he was practically at eye level.

Therapy (or Marriage Counseling, if applicable)

Failing Dr. Ian Dunbar’s plan for errorless house training will give you the guilt you haven’t suffered since you told your sister you hated her right before she fell on the ice and broke her arm.

And your marriage? Will it really survive the post-pee arguments? “I thought you were watching her.” “I’ve been with her all day. It’s your turn to watch her.”

A Really Large Annuity

Because if you work at home, you have no chance of getting anything done until your puppy grows up. You’ll need another source of income.

A Grub Hub Gift Certificate

Do you really think you can cook a meal without burning it when your puppy needs to go outside every ten minutes? Better rely on pizza and sushi for a while.

Honey the Golden Retriever looks glamorous in her crate.

Who wants to be Little Miss Perfect? I’d rather be Miss Glamour.

Flunitrazepam (otherwise known as roofies)

You’ll need something to make you forget the day before. Or you’ll never wake up and start all over again with the whining, the biting, the peeing, the pooping, the chewing…. Well, you get the idea.

On the other hand, maybe you don’t need this after all. Because one glance at that adorable bit of furriness in her crate gives you strength to carry on. And the hope that someday, if you survive puppydom, you’ll end up with a very nice dog.

Honey the golden retriever says I think about dogs too much.

I am a very nice dog.

This post is dedicated to all my friends who just adopted puppies. Hang in there. It doesn’t last forever.

Your Turn: What did I miss? Any gifts you think the person who just got a puppy needs to have?



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  1. A first aid kit because my biped isn’t convinced that there’s body armour strong enough to withstand puppy teeth!

  2. I hated Bailey the first couple of months we had her. I thought about taking her to a shelter every single day. I thought I was a horrible person for feeling this way until a bunch of dog owners finally came clean and told me they felt that way too. I love the idea of annuity payments. I could barely function for 2 months and my work suffered like hell.

    I would love a sound proof room. My biggest problem was the crying during crate training. I got absolutely no sleep for two months. The pure exhaustion was my enemy and was the fuel to me absolutely hating her. If I was able to get more sleep, I think I would have had way more patience for everything else.

  3. I guess the noise, the crying and barking wouldn’t really get to me since I’m deaf. But I will still lose a lot of sleep because I am deaf. I’ll be worrying I might miss an emergency like the puppy getting tangled in something and needed rescuing and then her puppy eyes will just capture me and I’ll spend the rest of the night feeling like an awful person because I know its better for her to be in the crate in the beginning.

    What made you decide to keep Honey?

  4. It really is a good thing that her moments of cuteness outnumber her moments of totally out of control craziness!! Getting work done during the day has been very, very difficult – wish I had a large annuity . . . and hopefully I won’t need a marriage counselor . . . hopefully 😉

  5. Heavens to Mergatroid! We haven’t had a puppy in about 12 years. That puppy lasted six months before going to live with an adorable yuppie couple who’d always wanted a Yorkie. NO MORE PUPPIES.

    In all fairness, I was trying to potty train a three year old while potty training a tiny dog with a nearly non-existent bladder. Won’t do either of those again.

    To sum up, you’ve just reminded me why I’m so staunch in my “no puppies” policy. I’m currently looking for a miniature Schnauzer or a Westie, but a rescue that’s at least a year old. NO PUPPIES.

  6. I could have written your post about Ian Dunbar, including the “I told you to watch him!” arguments.

    The real gift: offer to puppy sit. Good socialization, plus puppy owners could really use a break.

  7. You just made me remember why I specifically looked for a dog who was at least 5 years old. Puppies are HARD work! And yes, their cuteness really makes up for a lot of the disruption they cause. But still…getting a puppy while in my 40’s just didn’t sound as much fun as it did when I was in my 20’s and still had enough youthful energy to keep up with my then puppy, Shadow.

    Another great gift is just to lend an ear to the new puppy owner. Sometimes, they just need a sympathetic ear and someone to make them see the humor in the situation and to realize that before they know it, their puppy will finally grow up and hopefully, be a great companion.

  8. How about the number of a good puppy sitter so that the humans can have a few precious moments to go out and do things that don’t involve watching the puppy and worrying about what will happen next? :)

  9. 😀 What a really cute list. Yep, reminds me of the good-old days. Sephi wasn’t too bad as a puppy but she did go through a really horrible chewing phase. Maya was a breeze when it came to crate training, but did not do well at potty training. After Sephi passed on, I decided on adopting an adult dog and got Pierson. No puppy problems with him. Yay! From now on, I think I’m going to stick with adopting adult dogs.

  10. I love it! Mom really likes the socks and underwear insurance! There are days we wonder why we have Bailie around here, but most of the time she is a really good puppy that we wouldn’t trade for the world!

  11. I actually loved Nola’s puppyhood; she was the easiest puppy! Aside from being crazy high energy (which she still is), it was effortless. She hardly ever chewed, nipping was easily stopped, she’s a fast learner and didn’t even cry the first night. Her teenage stage was a little different, though. 😉

  12. Julie Blackwelder says:

    The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition) by Monks of New Skete (Author)

  13. Hahaha! A coworker of mine recently got a puppy. I gave her a gift bag with a puppy Nylabone, puppy wipes, some of our favorite training treats, and a poop bag holder with poop bags. She was surprised and excited!

  14. Ha ha! This is the best post! I still need body armor – Kayo’s teeth don’t seem to have gotten any duller!

  15. breast reduction surgery – look at you showing off,I should be so lucky!

  16. Lol loved them and all so true.

  17. I think you about covered it. LOL

  18. You know, as cute as puppies can be, I have never really been struck by puppy fever. I like a nice adult dog. Ruby was around eight months old when I adopted her and I was not entirely prepared for her energy level (which is kind of insane and much to do with her breeds as her age). She was not housetrained by any means but I’m lucky that she picked that up really quickly. I think I would someday like to raise a young puppy (a Norwegian Elkhound has been my dream for a while) but not until I’m retired or working from home (your warning is not unnoticed, however!)

  19. I’m grateful to those that do adopt puppies, but I’m not one of them. Rumpy was the youngest dog I ever took in and the vet guessed he was between 6 and 9 months old then. Never again.

    On the other hand, I would gladly take in an older, special needs dog.

  20. A lot more patience, and lots of coffee! Oh, and more warm winter clothing for those of us foolish enough to get a puppy in the middle of winter.
    My favorite of yours is the marriage counseling….so true. How many times have I said, “I need to get something DONE, can’t you watch him for a while?” :)
    Really, though, Luke has been a good puppy. Easier than the last ones. Which could actually have a bad side….we might be silly enough to do it again, and the next one might not be so good!

  21. Being on Puppy #16 (sweet Levi, the little black Labrador’s our current service pup in-training), I think giving the gift of a quality, positive reinforcement puppy school is really helpful. Just remember, puppy socialization ends at around 14 *weeks* — so it’s important to get that gift in there quickly!

  22. Marriage counseling is so on the money. There have been so many times these past few months when I wanted to pound J for not waking up (I know he can hear them) and the worst was when I was sick.

    I would also suggest a tape recorder so that you can record the number of times your significant other says something and play it back for him right before he utters it again – so he knows “I know. I know.” :)