Did you know instantly that your dog was for you as soon as you saw them?

When I first met Otto at home with his mum and siblings, I knew we were meant for each other! He was the cheekiest of the litter and just oozed confidence.

Our first few months together flew by. Just like all new dog parents, those early puppy-love days with Otto were packed with milestones and memories that set the stage for our life together.

Here are some of the things I did (and some I wish I did) to celebrate those first few months and develop our lifelong bond.

Capture sweet moments with your smartphone 

One of my favourite puppy pics of Otto was taken with my phone, of the moment I gave him his (now favourite toy) Fishy.

I’m so glad I got it, to remind me of that time. Poor fishy has been through the wash a few times now, but is still as popular as ever.

Monthly milestone pics of important moments will be precious to you as your dog grows. Puppy faces change to grey muzzles so quickly. Being a Pet Photographer, I have a lot of pictures from Otto’s first year, but I can see how easy it would be to miss those special moments, and in that first year, your pup is literally changing and growing every day. My biggest tip is to pick out your favs and back up the rest of your puppy pics each month, so they don’t get lost or deleted. Afterward, you can safely remove outtakes from your camera roll so you have plenty of room for new photos and can avoid the dreaded “out of space” message.

Schedule a session with a professional pet photographer 

Professional photos are a MUST because they will not only capture the emotions and personality of your Pup, they can turn this into a piece of Art that will hang on your wall as a permanent window into this special time. An experienced pet photographer will be able to capture the true personality of your pup. Even if your pup is camera shy, a professional photographer will make them look great, and you’ll forever have a record of the beginning of your journey together.

If you live in the Mackay region, you can take advantage of Tropical Petography’s Puppies First Year club which entitles you to reduced prices for sessions and a bonus First year Photo book at the end of the first year.

Build a training foundation so you speak the same language 

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! Otto went to Puppy classes at our local Petbarn where together we learned all the basic commands - sit, stay, look, come, leave it.. etc as well as insights into why puppies do what they do and how to spot cues and stop situations before they even happen. 

Having a solid training foundation is essential for you and your puppy to understand each other and is the key to a long and successful relationship. 

Keep a journal or memory book

These days, Instagram (or any social media) is a great place to keep a journal of your puppy’s days. Other things you could do would be to keep a scrap book of printed photo’s and written memories or even use a photobook website to create your very own hardback coffee table book of memories. I’ve used Photobook Australia, and Snapfish before but there are plenty of others out there. Camera house and Officeworks, even Big W and Kmart offer this service.

The goal is to capture the firsts, the best moments, the fun times and goofy 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.

Make forever friends

Otto’s first playdate was with a friends Staffy pup. They were the same size when they first met, but now at one year old Otto makes his friend look like tiny when they stand together.

He also got to meet several other pups at puppy school.

Supervised puppy play dates can be a win-win! Pups get to socialise and you get to hang out with another dog person.

Who knows… Maybe the next person you see walking their dog while you’re walking yours will be your new BFF!

Take the time to ensure puppy memories aren’t forgotten


Otto is 1 year old now and I still think about our first months with all the chaos and puppy cuteness. I’m so glad I took the time to absolutely fall in love and build a deep connection with Otto. Most importantly, I’m glad I saved the times we shared in words, pictures and traditions. I wish I’d saved even more of them!


Did you do something else meaningful in the early days that you think more puppy parents should try? How did you capture those puppy moments? Shoot me an email and let me know or tag me on Facebook or Instagram