Your first stint with a pet dog can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. You are bound to feel overwhelmed with the initial responsibility. But life becomes a lot easier with time as the pet gets comfortable and your family adapts to the new lifestyle. Still, the road to developing that comfort level and bonding with the new member can be a long and daunting one. However, some guidance and advice from seasoned dog owners can help you have clear expectations. You can also use them to plan better to welcome the new family member home. Here is a beginner’s guide that can help.
Have clear expectations
Whether you plan to bring home a puppy or a grown-up dog, life will not be the same. Both the animal and your family will have to go through an adjustment period, so it is better to have clear expectations from day one. Dogs are often scared when they first come to a new home, and you must give it enough time and space. If you have young children at home, prepare them for the first encounter. Ensure that they do not show overexcitement during the initial interactions with the new member. The pet will get comfortable and confident in a few weeks, and life will be on track.
Learn about the breed
Every dog is different, and you will probably know about the temperament of your pet over time. Its breed can give you a fair idea about the physical needs and behavioral traits of the animal. As a first-time dog owner, you may not have much knowledge about breeds. It makes sense to invest time in some research before you bring the pet home. Research is vital because it can help you pick the right breed that will easily blend with your lifestyle. For example, families with kids must adopt less aggressive and gentler breeds. A big and aggressive canine will be an apt choice if you live alone.
Understand the pet’s basic needs
As a first-timer, you will probably need some time to master dog care basics. Talk to a seasoned pet owner to understand what the animal will require to be happy and healthy. You will be responsible for providing proper nutrition, comfortable shelter, grooming, physical care, and social interactions for the animal. Once you know the basics, you are on the road to becoming a wonderful pet owner. Caring for it becomes a lot easier because you will already know what it needs and expects from you.
Stock up on supplies
Bringing a furry friend home is just like welcoming a baby. You will need to make a lot of preparations. Have a checklist of supplies ready so that you do not miss out on anything. You will need to start with food supplies, and the best place to get your first recommendation is from the seller. You will need more stuff such as a crate, collar, leash, bowls, and toys. A comfortable bed is also a must-have to give the pet space. You may look around at local pet stores or check online to stock up on supplies.
Invest in training
Once the dog and your family are all settled, you will need to move to the next responsibility of pet parenting. Investing in dog training is important because it makes the animal’s life more structured. It will understand your commands and build positive behavior early. A significant aspect of training is that you cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to it. Bigger dogs like German Shepherd need to be handled with caution. So German Shepherd Training will not be the same as that for a smaller breed. It is best to read about the ways you should handle and train the breed you own. It is best to opt for the professional training for first-timers.
Go the extra mile with bonding
You may have a pro trainer to teach mannerisms to your pet, but personal bonding is crucial. The trainer wouldn’t stick around forever, and you will have to handle the dog on your own. Spending time with your pet is the best way to strengthen your bond with it. Even if you have the busiest schedule, take it out for a walk in the morning and evening. Set aside an hour for playtime every evening. Encourage your family members to interact with the pet because dogs thrive on human interactions. The better you and your family bond with it, the happier it will be in the new home.
Prepare for health issues
When you adopt a canine companion, you are responsible for its health. You can expect it to come across a few health problems during its lifetime. Most owners need not struggle much because they have to deal only with common issues like itching, obesity, and diarrhea. But some canines may have serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Senior dogs encounter problems like dementia, arthritis, vision and hearing loss, and kidney issues. It is vital to understand the common and serious health issues and their symptoms. Also, having a vet for regular pet care is essential. You can look online for a reputed vet or get recommendations from dog owners you know.
Gear up for behavioral problems
Apart from physical health issues, you may also have to deal with behavioral problems. Even the friendliest dogs may have bouts of aggression, separation anxiety, and excessive barking at some point. You must work on understanding the underlying cause because the animal may be suffering from a problem. Early intervention by a veterinary specialist can help because your pet may require treatment for the underlying issue. Focus on giving it love and care, and it will probably feel and behave better.
Adopting your first pet requires a great deal of commitment as you may find it far more challenging than your imagination. Still, the love and companionship they offer make all the effort worthwhile. This beginner’s guide will make your journey as a first-time dog owner a lot easier. Just follow it and let your instincts do the rest.