Three Crucial Pieces of Advice for First-Time Dog Owners
by Guest Author Jessica Brody @Ourbestfriends.pet
Taking the plunge into dog ownership is fun, exciting, and a little bit stressful. If you’ve never owned a dog before, you may think that it’s as simple as heading to the pound, picking a cute puppy, taking him home, and feeding him every day. Dog ownership is much more than that, however. Here are three pieces of advice every first-time dog owner should heed.
Don’t just take home the first dog you see!
So, you went to the pound and a cute puppy caught your eye. Resist the temptation to snag him on the spot before doing some research into the breed. The difference in dog breeds isn’t just in appearance – dog breeds are incredibly varied in terms of their moods, behaviors, activity requirements, overall demeanor, and allergen production. If you don’t have a lot of space, a highly energetic dog may not be the one for you. If you have allergy issues, a hypoallergenic breed may be the best option. Think about your life and what kind of qualities in a dog would suit you, and do your research. Try an online dog breed selector to get you started.
Activities are the key to a well-behaved dog.
You may have heard that “a tired dog is a good dog.” This isn’t always the case, but it rings true more often than not. Many dogs’ behavioral problems stem from a lack of proper exercise. Pent-up energy that could be released in a healthy way winds up manifesting in unhealthy ways, like ripping your shoes to shreds or jumping on any stranger that comes their way. Even dog breeds that are less active still need some form of daily exercise.
Dog-walking is the tried-and-true method of exercise for your dog (and for good reason), but there are also plenty of other activities that can help your dog fill their exercise quota. Moderate to strenuous playing – toys, fetch, Frisbee – works. Some dogs love to swim. Taking your dog with you on a hike is a great idea. There are even some good options for exercising your dog inside on a rainy day. Like with humans, anything that gets your dog up and moving is going to positively affect their overall health. Getting exercise with your dog is also a benefit for you, one of many tied to owning a dog.
Don’t give your dog too much freedom at first.
Your first instinct may be to let your dog run loose in your home – they need to get used to it, right? Yes and no. You should give your dog a room-by-room “tour” of your home, but in a controlled manner. Some dogs – puppies and rescue dogs, in particular – can be nervous about new environments. Too much freedom can be a bad thing. It actually helps them to be somewhat contained for a while. Keep them in one area of your house, and make it a safe space for them (with their food, water, toys, bed, etc.).
This will also help you deal with any dogs that have house-training issues. Try to remember that no matter how old your new furry friend is, accidents are bound to happen, especially in the first few weeks of transitioning into your home. Try to be patient, but give your dog a firm, disciplinary “no,” and remove the stain and odor as best as you can. Removing the sight and smell will help prevent future accidents.
A dog is a massive responsibility – one you should never take lightly. Never get a dog on a whim. Only adopt a dog after careful consideration about whether you can handle their needs. Once you’ve made an informed decision, follow these tips – be selective about your breed, don’t give too much freedom at first, and prioritize activity – and you’ll be on your way to developing a solid bond with your best friend for life.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Jessica is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a 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. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.