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Building on the post I wrote a couple of years ago, I decided to add to the list, now that I’ve been a dog mom for almost five years.

How much I would love buying things for them

I think I had a different attitude toward buying dog stuff during the first year or so we had Zara. I was all about saving money, buying just enough to get by. I think part of it was adjusting to having a dog, and the expenses that come with it. We also spent so much in unanticipated vet visits that buying extra toys and treats seemed out of reach. And to be honest, we were making less money and living in the DC area, which has a high cost of living.

Now, I love buying them things. I especially love buying dog toys, because I know how much Zara loves toys and she gets so excited when she gets a new toy. I have to be very careful about going into pet stores, because I find it hard to resist the cute toys!

I have always been frugal when it comes to buying things for myself, but I find it so much easier to spend money on Zara and Colombo. If I’m due for a new pair of shoes, I’ll hold off for months to save money and get by using the ones I have. But as soon as I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the dogs needs a new harness, or a new bed, or a new coat, I’ll be researching and purchasing the item within a few days.

How much I would enjoy dog sports and competitions

I got my first taste of competition when Zara and I entered her first Junior Hunter test in December 2015. I went into the event thinking it would be fun but not having much idea of what to expect. But watching Zara hunt for birds and having a blast gave me such a thrill. The fact that she did so well (10/10 scores) was icing on the cake. I felt the same excitement when Colombo and I participated in his first conformation shows this year.

I’ve realized that part of the reason I like these types of events so much is that it takes the pressure off of me. I’ve competed in running races and triathlons for years, but I usually get very nervous before them and my anxiety has sabotaged my performance in multiple events. But with dog sports, the focus is on Zara or Colombo, not me. Yes, I’m there to guide and help them, but being in the role of the trainer gives me much less anxiety than being the sole person competing.

That I would spend more time preparing their food than my own

I actually used to be really into healthy eating, cooking, and preparing new recipes for myself. That interest has tapered off in the past few years. I’m not as motivated to spend time cooking for myself anymore. However, now that both Zara and Colombo eat raw diets, I spend a minimum of one hour a week prepping their food and more time shopping and planning their meals. And I love it! I love finding odd cuts that they haven’t had before or scoring deals on meat.

That I could talk about dogs for hours on end

There is nothing I enjoy more than meeting up with other dog owners and talking about our dogs. I could literally talk for hours about the ins and outs of diets, the spay and neuter debate, vaccinations, training, and exercise.

How much I would enjoy hiking with them off-leash or watching them play

There is nothing more enjoyable to me than watching Zara run freely through the woods or fields. I can’t help but enjoy it since it is her absolute favorite thing to do. Colombo also enjoys running off-leash but he usually needs another dog to motivate him to run. We do a lot of playdates with other dogs and watching them run and play is so fun to me.

How much off-leash exercise vizslas need and how difficult it would be to find places that allow it

This was not even something I thought about before I had a vizsla. I knew they needed to run, but I thought running with her on-leash, going to the dog park, and playing fetch would be sufficient. Sometimes it is. But vizslas really thrive on long, off-leash runs. In both places we’ve lived (DC and Raleigh), it has been a struggle to find places to take her where she can safely run and it is not against the rules. Many times we have to be creative and go to places during off-peak hours or during weather when others are unlikely to be out. Zara has excellent recall and we always call her back to us as soon as we see another person or dog when she is off-leash. It is sad that more places don’t allow well-behaved, well-trained dogs liker her to have freedom to run.

Did you learn anything you didn’t expect after you got a dog? Leave a comment below!

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