3 Mistakes I Made As A First-time Dog Owner

3 Mistakes I Made As A First-time Dog Owner

If you’re planning to get a dog, please avoid doing these things so you won’t regret later.

  1. Getting a dog just to keep you company without ever thinking of the responsibilities that come with it.

    I grew up thinking that some dogs are wild and that placing them outside the house to guard against intruders is fitting. You can’t blame me for it because that’s what I perceived growing up in my neighborhood back home. I also had this thinking that cute hairy dogs are usually fallen into the possession of rich people. Dogs are either properties or signs of social class. These misconceptions had caused me to be indifferent and ignorant towards dogs for a long time. Never in my life did I think that I would be owning one.

    I ended up having one when my husband initiated it. He was worried that I’d be lonely every time he walks out the door to work and I’m left all alone. He also dreamed of owning one. I didn’t agree when he first brought it up because I was scared that the dog might suddenly bite me or something. I witnessed someone got bitten by a dog that was owned by a family member. It was a traumatic sight that is difficult to forget. He carried on convincing me that dogs are wonderful creatures and I will change my perception once we have one. So 2 years after living here in Japan, I said yes without thinking how big of a responsibility it would be. This is definitely the very first mistake I made.

    Taking care of a dog isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It’s also a bit pricey. We have to spend money on regular vet visits, dog food and stuff, and many other things. Then there’s this emotional aspect. Your dog won’t trust you immediately. In order to earn my dog’s trust, we have to show her kindness, feed her, play with her, walk with her, and all other things I never thought I needed to do. To be honest, I was having a hard time coping with this whole situation. I mean I wasn’t even that lonely in the first place. I think I only agreed to make my husband’s dream come true. After some time and pondering on things, I’ve learned to appreciate having our dog.

    A word of advice: don’t get a dog if you can’t keep up with its needs. It’s true that they’re amazing buddies but you have to remember that they have needs just like humans. The most important thing they need is proper training. I’m telling you that’s where I was having difficulties the most. If you can’t be totally committed to giving everything they need including positive training, you might end up giving them up which is a devastating thing to do to your own dog.
  2. No knowledge about the characteristics of the dog you’re getting.

    My husband picked a female Jack Russell Terrier because he saw her eyes looking gloomy. I saw the same thing as well so I went along with it. Unbeknown to me, my ignorance would put me to a stormy chapter of my life.

    The first night she arrived at home, she was very timid. I held her seemingly fragile body and cuddled her feeling nervous. She was 3 months old and never barked the whole night even when she was sleeping all alone in her crate downstairs. I thought it wasn’t bad at all. This dog was right for us until 3 days later. The timid dog we got was gone and turned into a tireless ball of energy. Turns out that her breed belongs to the high energy type of dogs. They’re known to be intelligent and independent. Sometimes, they can outsmart their humans. They’re small but they think they’re big. They’re feisty and love to be the center of attention. My mistake I only found out about all these things maybe a week after we got her. I couldn’t keep up with her energy, gave me headaches. What made me more disappointed about being ignorant is learning that they have the tendency to be unfriendly with other dogs if not properly socialized which we didn’t do well. We had no idea how proper socialization works among puppies. When she was less than a year old, we took her to dog parks thinking it would be fun for her but there were times that what we thought were okay for her to experience didn’t define proper socialization at all. My heart breaks whenever I remember all those episodes. Now she’s 2 years old and is having problems being near other dogs except for those she already knows. This one particular fact gives me hope that one day, she’ll be fine meeting all other dogs. I shed tears due to frustration a few times thinking that I might not be able to help her with her anxiety when seeing strange dogs. But after educating myself with her breed qualities, common behavior problems, and solutions to curb the unwanted behavior, the stormy chapter of my life is now becoming sunny. My advice is that if you can’t be 100% patient, pick a low energy and easy to train dog.
  3. Using aversive tools/methods as solutions to curb unwanted behavior.

    The worst mistake you could ever make is thinking that it’s okay only because it is quick. You think they’re quick solutions but they’re not serving your pet well, emotionally speaking. Again, our ignorance led us to using one of those tools. We used an anti-bark device when Sushi started to discover her voice. Jack Russell Terriers are also loud dogs. When not properly trained, they bark at things that upset, scare, or even excite them. During our first night camping with her, she barked for hours and hours. We were clueless that time so my husband consulted the internet and these “quick solutions” came up. That was the beginning of a terrible mistake. These anti-bark devices or ultrasonic dog bark device control work by discharging a high-pitched sound when activated. They come in different types. Like collars or hanging figures. They detect barking and emit a high-pitched sound in response that only your dog can hear. I noticed that Sushi would flinch at it. She would stop barking only for a few minutes and would appear terrified with her brows furrowed. It didn’t help her after using for over 2 months. I felt something was wrong.

    So I started doing some readings and I discovered a compassionate way to teach her not to bark at things. It’s called positive reinforcement training. Things have changed since then. Sushi is now showing us her trust and recognizing us as her humans. I’m still working on her anxiety towards strange dogs. I know it will take time but I won’t give up. After realizing how wrong we were, I promised myself to make up for the fear or psychological pain we caused her.

    If you’re having trouble getting your new dog to listen to you, I beg you to read about positive reinforcement method or see a dog trainer or visit a training center that advocates that kind of method. Using “quick fix tools” may seem to work for a short period of time but not in the most benevolent way and they can certainly hurt the bond between you and your dog. Take it from me, it’s really a sad path to go down to.

    I wish I could turn back time. Had I educated myself first before deciding on something that made a big impact on my life, things would have been totally different. I don’t regret having a dog. I regret that my ignorance contributed to my dog’s anxiety. We could have had a beautiful beginning. On the bright side, I’m thankful for stumbling on videos of dog trainers who believe that training your dog has to be in a humane way. They have saved our relationship with our dog.

    This is our Sushi posing after running and walking around the baseball field.

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How I Maintain My Weight Without Going to the Gym

How I Maintain My Weight Without Going to the Gym

Please skip reading this if you think talking about weight is a touchy subject. But if you want to know how to lose or maintain weight without getting offended, you might get something from this brief post.

If my memory serves me right, 55 kg (121 lbs) was my heaviest weight during my university days. I didn’t do anything about it because it didn’t hurt me nor did it impede me to do my daily activities. I started watching my diet after graduating so I could be fit as a fiddle while making a living. Cliche but health is definitely wealth.

I’m not on a strict diet because I love sweets particularly chocolate-based treats and anything baked. Also, I’m not really serious about it simply because I don’t want to feel restraint or something. It’s a bummer when you do something that stresses you out. My weight has gone up and down but never exceeded 55 kg through the last 9 years of maintenance. The reason for it is that I hope to enjoy living without getting seriously ill. Taking care of my body is my responsibility. I can’t afford to burden my family if something unpleasant happens to me only because I fail to pay attention to my health.

Height: 157 cm (5 feet 2 inches)

2016 (44-45 kg)

2018 (45-46 kg)

Early 2020 (45-46 kg)

I’ve come up with 3 things to keep in mind if you want to keep a certain number for your weight. It should be the ideal weight for your height. You can determine if you’re at a healthy weight through your BMI (body max index).

  1. Avoid soft drinks and alcohol
    They’re definitely refreshing but there are healthy alternatives to quench your thirst. I personally have experienced some changes when I stopped drinking soft drinks and liquor after college. One is that I used to bloat easily but not anymore. It also contributed to my acne getting better over the years. It’s not a secret that sugary drinks contain lots of sugar and consuming that high amount of sugar is a road to unhealthy weight. Cold drinks can cause bloating, too. Especially when you drink it right after eating oily or fatty food. Do I cheat? I’d be lying if I said no but I only drink ginger ale or latte drinks at least once or twice a year. Yes, it’s totally doable.
  2. Avoid overeating
    Here’s the thing, I really love to eat cakes, bread, sushi, hamburger, pasta, name it. I don’t restrict myself when it comes to food as long as I don’t consume too much, I’m fine. Let’s say, 10 pieces of sushi must be the maximum amount for me. And I get it like once in 2 or 3 months. I eat rice almost everyday but shouldn’t go beyond 2 cups every meal. I eat pretty much everything I want in moderation.
  3. Jog or walk at least an hour for 5 to 6 days a week
    I generally don’t like the idea of going to the gym because it’d make me feel obligated to work out for the membership fee. Walking is my favorite thing to do and it’s even more pleasant now that I’m living in a place where air is less polluted. Thanks to my dog I have more reasons to walk now than before. I don’t think I need machines to maintain my figure for now. When walking, I get the chance to breathe fresh air and enjoy every little thing nature has to offer.

It’s certainly not my intention to offend anybody. No matter how much you weigh, if you’re comfortable with it, great! However, if it causes you to feel sick or something, try to open your mind and think about it.

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What’s your skin age? Try this skin test!

What’s your skin age? Try this skin test!

Out of curiosity, I took a skin test developed by Sofina iP, a Japanese brand created by Kao which is popular for its serum. This simple skin check may not be totally on the mark, but it can help you determine which of their products to try. Just so you know, this isn’t a sponsored post. I’m just sharing this for fun.

I haven’t tried any of their products yet but I’m thinking about trying their top-selling serum when I chance upon it. So without further ado, here’s my result:

Looking at the result, I giggled because I’m turning 30 this year. As I’ve said earlier, it’s not 100% accurate but in this sorry situation, we could use fun things like this to lighten up even a few minutes of our day.

If you want to give it a spin, all you need to do is go to their official English website with your smartphone and follow the easy instructions there. It’s here. No need to sign up. Be sure not to wear any makeup. Do it under good lighting. Take the test only once. You’ll get the result in a matter of seconds. I’m excited to know your result!

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