In January, we had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to our 14-year-old German shepherd.

It was certainly rough on us, but I think it was even more difficult for our other dog. He looked for her for months, appeared to be depressed, and would only get excited about car rides. While we were in quarantine, I would work in my spare bedroom and when it was nice, I would leave the back door open so he could roam free.

Every time that I would check on him, he would be next to the fence where my next-door neighbor’s dogs would be at.

Matt Sparx

My wife and I decided that it was time to get him a companion, as he has never been alone since the day we got him. Last week, we followed through, and picked up another German shepherd puppy.

She is adorable, loving and curious. She also has some pretty sharp teeth, so I now know why they call puppies land sharks. It doesn’t take much pressure to leave a mark on you, that’s for sure.

We decided to name her Cynder. She has been at our side since we brought her home. She has been a handful, but more of a joy to all three of us than anything else.

Looking back on the past week, there are a few things that I have learned from a puppy that barely knows her name at this point.

Matt Sparx

Patience – Having a new, young puppy in the home has taught me a lot about my patience, or lack thereof. As soon as she came into our home, I knew that there would be shoes chewed, accidental pee spots, and an understanding that I need to take more time with things in general.

Matt Sparx

You’re never fully puppy-proofed – We spent weekends prior to the new puppy coming into our home making sure the house and yard were puppy-proofed. But just because you spent weeks preparing doesn’t mean that you'll actually catch everything. That speaker wire running under your couch? Yeah, the puppy will get it. Those shoes that you put up on the second shelf, safe and sound? Nope, not really.

You might be teaching your puppy, but the puppy is also teaching you. This one kind of circles back to having patience. The new puppy did teach me patience. The new puppy has also got me researching how to train them, make them behave, and overall, how to be a good dog.

Matt Sparx

Stress relief – You would think that getting a new puppy would be stressful. It is, but at the same time, they are also an incredible stress reliever. I have been surprisingly calm since her arrival, and the bouts of anxiety that come and go have seemed to dissipate over the past week.

Attention – A puppy requires a lot of attention. Do you know who else also requires even more attention? The long-time dog in your home (You cannot just give all the attention to the puppy). Between the two of them, we can't tell who gets more doting. Our 12-year-old dog was spoiled before. But now more than ever, he is the king of treats, belly rubs, and cuddles.

Matt Sparx

I am no stranger to having a puppy in the home, but it has been well over a decade since our last little ball of baby fuzz joined us. If you happen to have any training tips that you would love to share, I am more than open to hearing all of your suggestions.