You and your spouse have decided that the perfect addition to your family would be a dog. You only had cats growing up though and your partner didn’t have pets at all. So, how does one go about raising a dog?
Being a first time dog owner is a lot of work. It’s not as simple as picking one up from the shelter and bringing it home. You’ve got to train it and get it all the essentials that it needs for life.
To help you keep your new furbaby happy and healthy, check out this complete guide for dog owners.
1. Raid the Petstore
Before you bring your new dog home to check out where it’s going to be staying, you should make a quick pit stop by a pet store. There are quite a few essentials that you’re going to have to stock up on.
The dog will need a collar and leash for walkies, food and water bowls, and a doggy bed. You should also get them a toy or two. If you don’t they may get bored and decide your favorite pair of slippers are the perfect thing for chewing.
As a side note, if you adopted your pet from a shelter be sure to let someone at the pet store know. They may give you special coupons and perks for it.
2. Training Makes Perfect
Puppies and even older dogs will need a bit of training in order to teach them good behaviors and help them break bad ones. If you got a puppy, it’s important that you start ASAP.
You’ll want to pick up a few bags of treats because the best way to train them is through positive reinforcement. You’ll be giving them a treat whenever they perform a positive behavior or do something that you tell them to do.
If you’re feeling a little lost in what direction to go in with your new dog’s training then reach out to a dog trainer. Again, if you adopted your dog, tell the pet store you take them to. You might be able to get coupons for dog training.
3. Finding a Vet
Your dog will need to go to the doctor just like you need to. They need to get their first-year vaccinations and their rabies shots. It’s a good idea to get them spayed or neutered whenever you can and you may want to get them microchipped.
During their little puppy life, there will be times when they will have to go to the vet for little things. An upset stomach here and flea and tick treatments there. This being said, you’ll need to do some research and find the best veterinarian in your area.
4. Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Pet insurance can cover you in the event of vet visits, death, illness, accidents, and theft. So, to answer the question, yes. It can be worth it to look into pet insurance.
There are a lot of different types out there with varying degrees of coverage. You’ll need to do a bit of research based on what you think your dog will need.
5. Dogs Need Exercise
Dogs have tons of energy. They’ll need plenty of exercise in order to work out their stamina and be happy and healthy. Giving them toys to bat around and chew in the living room doesn’t count as exercise.
They’ll need you to take them out for walks, run around in the yard with them, or even toss sticks around. Life does get busy but make sure you always pencil in enough time for puppy playtime.
6. It’s Okay to Discipline the Pupper
Disciplining your dog may make you feel like the vilest human being on the face of the planet but it has to be done. You have to make rules and enforce them with your dog just as you would a child.
Dogs are pack animals and are looking to you for leadership. If you don’t establish early on that you are a leader then your dog is going to poke at your boundaries. A lot.
7. Puppies and Dogs Are Completely Different
There is a huge difference between puppies and adult dogs. Puppies are are a lot more work. Your puppy will need socialization, they are a clean slate that you have to train them, and they need vaccinations.
This is only the peek of the iceberg. Still, this doesn’t mean that puppies aren’t adorable and enjoyable to have around. It means that you’ll have to do a little research before you pick one up.
8. Learn to Read Their Body Language
Your dog won’t be able to talk to you when something is bothering them. That means it’s up to you to read their body language to figure out what the issue is. It’s easier than you may think to figure your dog out.
Look at their stance and how they behave when they are happy, stressed, sad, and everything in between. Soon, you’ll be picking up on all their emotions. No matter how subtle.
Tips for Becoming a First Time Dog Owner
Are you thinking about adding a dog to your family? While they are a joy to have, it’s a lot of work to keep them happy and healthy.
Try out some of these tips for becoming a first time dog owner to prepare yourself to bring home your new furbaby. They’re counting on you.
Once you have your dog in your home you’ll have to worry about keeping them groomed amongst other things. Check out the pet section of our blog daily for a few more helpful care instructions.