Early Days with my Best Friend!

Hi Everyone! Today is International Friendship Day so what a perfect time to tell you all about one of my best friends, Pongo.

puppy, cute puppy,

Pongo came into our lives in 2013 right after Aaron and I got married. We got him from a friend whose dogs had puppies, and while he didn't have a sad background story like a lot of other pups do, once I looked into those big brown puppy eyes I knew I had to have him. So we drove back to our little apartment in Orlando Florida while he slept in my arms, and just like that I was in love.

Potty training was pretty easy, he caught on pretty quickly, but getting him not to bite us was HARD. My arms were all scratched up and bruised from him  and nothing seemed to help. We tried extra walks, chew toys, bitter apple spray, at the advice of our trainer we tried spraying him with water or holding his mouth shut ( back then I was completely clueless and desperate, I should have found another trainer). It seemed like he hated us and I wanted to give up a million times, I had thoughts of giving him to someone else and that killed me. I made a promise to this little boy to love, teach, and protect him always, so I was determined to not give up.

dog training, puppy training, obedience training


The years past by and we figured he would grow out of this stage eventually, I started using POSITIVE training techniques and you know what? He has blossomed into this sweet, funny, sensitive dog that I have always wanted. I look back on our past together with some sadness, because I feel like I didn't get to enjoy his puppy years as I would have wanted, but I have him still and boy do we have fun together. He is such a cuddle bug, he has a weirdo sock obsession that keeps us laughing, when I am upset he comforts me, he is my perfectly imperfect best friend, and I wouldn't change a thing about him now.

Happy International Friendship Day!

Ashley and Pongo

I want to share my training experiences with you all, so I am offering my training guide to my subscribers as a thank you for following Our Life!

*Disclaimer- I am not a professional dog trainer, I am offering my experience which is not meant to be a replacement for professional dog training classes only a basic guide. For extreme cases other than basic training, consult your veterinarian or local professional dog trainer.  This is in no way medical advice.


40 thoughts on “Early Days with my Best Friend!

  1. While I can appreciate the sincerity of you wishing to share your experience, and while positive reinforcement training is the ONLY way to go (even Cesar Milan admits that there is no scientific basis for his “dominance” training (ref his latest book)… readers must understand that what worked for Pogo will not necessarily work for their dog and, if in doubt, there is no substitute for a good certified dog trainer. Congratulations with Pogo… better late than never! 🙂

    1. Yes, I agree with you going to a professional dog trainer is very important, however costly. I do not claim to be anything that I am not but I feel like I have some great experiences to offer to my readers. This short guide will at least get them through the basics before they are able to go to a professional as well (as most require vaccinations prior to attending some classes). Thank you for your comment I appreciate your feedback and have edited my disclaimer to avoid confusion.

  2. There are some valuable tips here for anyone raising a dog from a puppy. well done, your love and knwoledge shine through. Pongo was a cute puppy who with loving care grew up to be an awesome dog.

    Well done!

  3. So sweet, I love the name Pongo- is it from 101 Dalmations movie? I agree that positive training is a much better choice and my dog is both timid and reactive so he does very well with this type of training You sound like you have a wonderful friendship. And he’s beautiful!

    1. Haha yes it is I always want to paint him white with black spots for Halloween 👻 thanks for reading!

  4. We all have made mistakes when we were new dog owners. It’s so easy to blindly follow a professional’s advice without question. It’s their job, right? They should know better than us. I’m glad you two stuck it out together and learned a positive way to curb Pongo’s behaviors. He sounds like a sweetheart! <3

  5. We all make mistakes, especially in the beginning stages of our dog parenting, but it’s so honorable to own up to them, share them so others can learn and always seek a better way. I have so much love for this post, truly. <3 My second dog, Chilly, came to me at 9 months with a full set of adult teeth and absolutely no idea that he's not allowed to playfully bite humans. Even with all my knowledge of positive training, it was really hard some days. But we grow through these experiences so much! Thank you for sharing your and Pongo's story! <3

  6. I wish trainers could somehow be certified and licensed. I know this won’t weed out all the bad from the good but maybe it would be a start and people that look to them to help with their dogs could be more confident and get the proper help they need. I’m so happy that things turned out well for you and Pongo!

    1. I know I thought they had to be. There is a great trainer at my Petsmart and I am thinking about giving class another go. Just to curb some little things. Thanks for reading!

  7. Pongo is adorable. I can see why you fell in love with him. I never owned a dog however have owned two cats. My first was a biter too. So much so at the suggestion of our vet we had her two sharpest incisor teeth filed and rounded down on a dental visit. It worked to some extent. She still would bite, just not as much. So what was at first a harsh bite now turned into “love bites”. LOL

  8. Positive reinforcement is almost always the best approach when working with a dog. Kudos to you for not giving up on Pongo. It would have been so easy to give up and move on for people who see pets as accessories rather than the family members they (and Pongo) really are!

    1. Too many people expect their puppies to be perfect little angels from the start. I could never give up on my boy. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Just like with children (I was a former teacher), positive reinforcement is always best. I remember the things the “professionals” used to tell us when I was a child back in the 60s, on how we should train dogs. We’ve come a long way!

  10. Awee Pongo is such a great looking dog!
    Pet parents like you are the best!
    It takes commitment and TIME and PATIENCE but it pays off!
    I am so glad you gave him the best home and yes sometimes in the beginning we struggle not knowing but you worked at it and it has paid off.

  11. Pongo could not be cuter! I am so thrilled you were able to find a better, more positive, way to train him. In my experience a teething puppy can be a challenge. But when addressed with patience and love, and a little bit of knowledge of canine behavior, they can blossom into such amazing life-long companions on a relationship built from trust. I wrote a post about teething puppies and positive training if you want to check it out. BigDogMom.com.

  12. Pongo is adorable! I think different things can work for different dogs; sometimes it’s ok to get creative with it. As long as it’s positive, the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t accomplish what the goal is.

    1. I agree positive training is the only way however you do that though is up to you 😂 thanks for reading!

  13. Good for you in being a conscientious guardian. A lot of people act as if animals should come already trained. The reality is that we’ve taken them into our home and this makes us responsible for guiding them through life. As you’ve learned, the rewards are huge for us too!

    1. I agree, puppies are the hardest. I wouldn’t trade him for anything though and heck sometime he is still a challenge! Thanks for commenting!

  14. Pongo has such a beautiful and sweet face! He looks like a wonderful snuggler! I agree that the puppy stage just seems to fly by. We had three puppy littermates at one time! That was very interested training time! We brought home with a one and two year old! I wish I had a way to slow that time down some…it went way too fast – all the fun, laughs, and mayhem. Now the three are 9! I look back at photos and cannot believe how fast it all went by!

    1. Wow! 3! To be a fly on the wall at your house though haha. I know time flies my baby is 4 now. Thanks for commenting!

  15. First, Pongo is adorable! Second, your voice makes me even more grateful that we found the trainer that we did. Crystal is the best person to help me and Matthew understand our pups better because I’m a big believer that a professional dog trainer is really training the peoples. Thank you for being so authentic in sharing your story.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, I am glad you enjoyed my post. I agree with you 100% when we train our dogs, we are really training ourselves to better communicate with them. Thank you for reading!

  16. What a cutie! I’m glad that you finally switched to positive reinforcement. Sometimes you just have to play around with different techniques. But if something feels very wrong to you and your dog, then you need to trust your gut feeling.

    1. Thank you! Yes I felt horrible about what she told me to do, and it just.. didn’t.. work! Now he listens to me sometimes ;). Thanks for reading!

  17. This is so cute! I love that you can recognize that he needed something different and found an option that saved you both 😊

  18. I think as pet parents we not only grow every year, but with every dog that comes into our lives. I know now, with Rooney I should have emphasized consistent training and socialization at a younger age. I have made adjustments in recent years, and I think that’s all we can do is learn and adjust. So glad that you continued to work with Pongo!

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