Getting a dog for the first time can be a challenging task for adults and children alike. Start off well with these helpful tips for a first-time dog owner
More than half of American dog owners say they would rather chill with their canine companion than with their human friends. If you’re a first-time dog owner, you’re probably starting to get it.
Despite the fact your little bundle of perfection is 110% better than you ever dreamed, you may also be getting the drift that there’s more to being a dog owner than kisses and baby voice.
But it’s not hard to pick up. These first-time dog owner tips will help you be a responsible and well-informed pet owner.
Attend a Dog Training Course
This is more for you than it is for your dog, and honestly it’s a good idea to attend several.
When you’re training your dog, it’s easy to make common mistakes, like not enforcing a command, or letting your dog get away with something “just this once because look at how freaking cute he is!”
We get it. And while yeah, you get to set the rules on whether you want your dog on the furniture or not, there are some things you can’t be willing to compromise on.
Like your four basics: sit, stay, come, and lie down. Your dog has to know that when you say come, you mean now, because the car speeding towards him won’t wait.
Attending a dog training course is about learning to understand the way your dog speaks to you, and how you can speak to him and keep him safe. It’s not about control, it’s about communication.
And remember, every interaction you have with your dog is training them in one way or another.
You Need to Socialize Your Puppy
Your puppy is exploring a big beautiful world! And after he’s vaccinated, he needs to see as much of it as possible. Doing so will help them feel more stable and in control of their world, and react more kindly when something surprising comes along.
You should also get your puppy used to being touched. Play with their paws and ears. Move around their legs. Pull back their lips to see their teeth. When you do this, your goal isn’t to rile them up and wrestle, it’s so they get used to being handled.
Trust us. Your vets and groomers will forever thank you when your dog is comfortable being handled. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about your dog snapping at a kid if they’re used to being touched in weird ways.
There’s a lot of ground you need to cover, but you can check out a complete puppy socialization checklist here.
He’s Not Out to Spite You, He Just Doesn’t Understand
Your new dog WILL pee on the floor, chew your shoes, and ruin something you love. But no matter how much it seems like he’s trying to destroy your most beloved possessions, and make sure you never get your deposit back, he’s not out to get you.
More often, he doesn’t understand. He can’t identify between the ratty old tennis shoes you let him use as a chew toy and your nice leather sandals that cost $150. Just like he can’t tell the difference yet between the stuffed bear toy, and your actual stuffed toys.
That’s why when you get a puppy, you need to set firm boundaries. If he can’t chew on shoes, he can’t chew on any shoes. If he’s not allowed on mom’s and dad’s bed, then he can’t get on the kids’ beds either, no matter how much the kids beg.
You and I can understand these differences, but your dog can’t quite yet. Allowing some things but not others will only confuse him, and make training that much harder.
Congrats on Being a First Time Dog Owner
You have an amazing journey ahead of you. There’s a lot to learn as a first-time dog owner, but these tips will get you started.
We’re here to answer all of your pet questions so you can be a well-informed pet owner. Keep exploring for more useful tips!