Are you getting a dog for the first time in your life?
What can you expect? How should you prepare?
Be the best first-time dog owner with the tips below!
It’s important to get the right type of dog. Emotions can run wild when you start your search (especially with those huge puppy eyes!), but before you commit yourself to a particular breed, do some research first.
Things to Consider before Adopting a Dog
Considering a big or even giant-breed dog? Without proper training, they can be difficult to restrain even on a leash and transport. Active breeds like Shepherds, Labs, Weimaraners, Huskies and any Sporting, Working, Hunting or Herding dogs all need a great deal of exercise, especially in the first five years of their lives. (Be prepared to walk them for at least an hour a day, maybe more.) Without proper exercise and training on a daily basis, large dogs can quickly become unmanageable and exhibit a variety of behavioral problems. With that being said, big dogs may work out really well for runners and frisbee enthusiasts as most have greater endurance than smaller breeds.
Even if you have a fenced-in yard, your dog will still require regular and adequate exercise and socialization.
Do you suffer from allergies? If you do, you may also be allergic to dogs. If you are, you will need to take that into consideration when choosing a dog. If you have your heart set on getting a dog, consider breeds that shed very little, like Poodles and Portuguese water dogs (like the First Dog, Bo).
Another important consideration is the size and nature of your home. If you are renting, for instance, you need to check with your landlord first about what kind of dog, if any, is allowed. Many landlords will allow small dogs, but not the larger breeds. Before adopting a Pitbull or Staffordshire Terrier, check your local ordinances for any breed restrictions in your community. Denver and Miami, for instance, still outlaw Pitbulls and even dogs that look like them.
Also, keep in mind that many landlords today require pet deposits or even monthly “pet rent” if you have a dog in the residence.
Consider rescue first. According to the ASPCA, animal shelters take in 7.6 million dogs and cats each year. Unfortunately, only 2.7 million are adopted each year. When you adopt a rescue or shelter dog, you are saving two lives; the dog you adopt and the dog who will take his now-available place.
Still not sure what breed is right for you? Take this quick quiz at Dogtime.com and find out in just 21 quick questions!
Preparing Your Home for Your New Dog
Before bringing Fido into your home, review it relative to the safety of your dog and your belongings. Keep in mind that happy dog tails can be disastrous to fragile knick-knacks, plants and more. Relocate such items to out-of-reach shelves or protected cabinets for your dog’s safety. Also keep food, candy and potential poisonous plants out of reach of inquisitive noses and mouths.
Also buy a comfy (and easy-to-clean) dog bed and/or dog crate that will become your dog’s comfort zone. Dog crates are wonderful training tools for both puppies and older dogs; it gives them a “safe place” to go when they get tired or are overwhelmed.
You’ll also need a collar, leash or harness, dog bowls, dog toys to keep your dog busy (and distracted from inappropriate chewing) and a well-formulated dog food. Local experts can help you make the best, well-informed choices.
Bonding with Your Dog
Congratulations! You’ve done your homework and found the best breed for you and your lifestyle and have prepared your home for the new four-legged arrival!
Remember, your dog will need a period of adjustment after you adopt him and bring him home.
Patience will help make the adjustment easier and facilitate a stronger bond.
Dogs may cry, bark or whine a lot their first few days in a new place. They may want to hide in closets or under the bed. Food may be a great motivator when it comes to helping your K9 adjust more easily (or a toy depending on your dog’s preference). Put the food (or toy) within sight and smell of your new dog; but not in their hiding spot. When he comes out to eat (or play), praise him. If he lets you, give him some reassuring pats. Before long, your dog will begin to trust both you and his surroundings. Daily brushing can also help build trust.
Make sure to walk your new dog around the neighborhood and let him get used to the new sights, smells and sounds. Introduce him to new people and dogs of all sizes. This helps build their confidence. Take your time and never force your dog to do something he seems uncomfortable in doing.
Invest in dog training! Not only will this enhance your bond with your dog, but it will also help head off or address any bad habits or negative behaviors. Dog classes or one-on-one training are both beneficial.
Dog ownership is, without a doubt, one of the greatest joys of life. Whether you are bringing home a new puppy or an older dog, you will enjoy many years of unconditional love by following these tips.
Photos By Pixabay.
Meet our Guest Blogger:
Jessica Brody is an avid dog lover and passionate advocate for rescue pets. She created OurBestFriends.pet to offer an online place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth and enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.