Tips for First Time Dog Owners
So you’ve finally decided to let a canine friend into your life. Congratulations! You’re in for a great time ahead. Adopting or buying a new dog is a big decision; a decision that can bring about significant changes in your lifestyle.
You’re finally becoming a parent but instead of a baby, you’re taking over the responsibility of a four legged child. The work is almost the same. You’d have to feed it, clean it and also ensure that they don’t get into mischief. Though it’s a relief that you wouldn’t have to start saving for their college fund, having a dog can be pretty much like raising a child. And you better be ready to take on that responsibility.
Understand the Life of a Dog Owner
So the first step for anyone thinking about getting a dog is to understand and accept how much that decision can change your life. Even dog owners who’ve had their dogs for years can tell you how difficult it can be sometimes.
When you get woken up at 3 am from continuous barking, you don’t necessarily have to worry. It can be something as simple as a scary insect to something as terrifying as a thunderstorm. Your canine friend would have his/her own personality and you’re the only one who’d have to adjust. It’s common for pups to get easily scared and if that happens, then God help you. Even the unscariest things can cause your puppy to get wild.
You’d find that keeping a few empty sandwich bags is a wise decision and you’d finally be able to tell your friends why you have dark circles. So make sure that you understand all the changes owning a dog can bring about in your life. Once you’re ready to share your food and home with a canine friend, you can move to the second step and start making some necessary changes to your house.
Make your House Dog Friendly
Even though dogs are the best of companions, the same couldn’t be said about their relationship with your furniture. Dogs, especially puppies, tend to chew up your carpeting, furniture and of course, your slippers; they are the personal favorite item to chew. Not only can they create havoc but all this chewing can be a health hazard for them. That’s why it is important to know the hazards of chewing and to steer your puppy away from this habit.
- Use baby gates to restrict indoor or outdoor access
- Make sure that you don’t leave any harmful substance lying about.
- Cover all the electrical outlets and make sure that any electrical cords are out of reach.
- Secure all cabinets and cupboards with locks; preferably ones that your dog won’t be able to unlock.
- Invest in a trashcan your dog can’t open. You’d save yourself from a lot of cleaning and extensive vet bills.
- Make sure all your expensive stuff is stored away securely. Or you can wait for the day you find your Gucci shoes all chewed up and then you’d have learned an important lesson.
- Buy all the necessary dog supplies. Leash, collar, dog food and toys, bedding, food and water bowls, identification tags and the most important thing, disposable dog waste bags. You’re going to need them over time, when you decide to take a walk outside.
Fulfill their Nutrition needs
Puppies are similar to children and hence, need the best nutrition, especially for the first year of their life. A balanced diet will ensure that your puppy remains healthy and happy, and of course, it’ll help in their growth. An ailing puppy is the last thing you would want. And to ensure that he/she gets the proper level of nutrients, you must buy the best quality commercial dog food on the market.
Their nutrient needs change with time and you must make sure that they get the daily requirements of a healthy diet. Foods such as chocolate, grapes, pork, alcohol, nuts etc can be toxic and hazardous for your dog. Just so they don’t eat any of these things accidently, you’d have to discourage any food stealing from the beginning.
You’d need to find a good vet nearby and arrange a meeting as soon as possible. You should get your dog familiar with the vet soon after you get him/her. Make the trip to the vet is a fun experience so that your dog looks forward to the visit. Make sure that he/she receives all the necessary vaccinations. You may also want to neuter your puppy, so ask the vet about the perfect age to get that done.
You have to set some ground rules for how to behave in the house and teaching your puppy to be obedient is important. Your dog may be your best friend but that doesn’t mean that he/she can romp about the house creating havoc.
Potty training is also something you have to look forward to. There are always some signs that can indicate when he/she needs to go but in the first few days, you’ll find yourself cleaning up a lot of ‘accidents’. So be quick in getting that training over.
After that, you can move on to general training like no chewing up any stuff and no scratching. You must be firm but not harsh. Be friendly and persistent so that your canine friend can relate to you and only then would he/she become obedient. You might be tempted to lose your temper but don’t. Remember, your puppy is a child and needs all the love and care you can give him/her. Make sure that you award each good behavior. Dog treats are the perfect incentive and can help you along the process.
Let the dog know when you don’t approve of their bad behavior. You don’t have to shout or hit them, just make sure they understand that their actions have displeased you and won’t be tolerated. Always remember that all your dog wants is to make you happy. With time, he/she would be able to understand you properly but till then, you’d have to practice patience.
With everything completed, it’s time to finally bring your friend home.