Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner with years of experience or this is the first time you will ever be looking after an animal, the first time that you welcome a dog into your home can be stressful and challenging. Dogs are, without a doubt, some of the most incredible animals in the world. They are emotional, responsive and unquestionably loyal to their owners but equally, they can be a challenge to handle; especially if you’ve never done it before.
We have put together this post to help first-time dog owners ensure that they are prepared and doing all they can to make their lives and the lives of their new friend as easy as possible. If you are a first-time dog owner, use these three tips to help you through the first few weeks and you’re guaranteed to allow an easy, seamless transition from dog-free life to a dog-filled one.
Start Training Quickly
This tip cannot be emphasised enough. All animals, including humans, are creatures of habit. We learn by associating behaviours with consequences, whether they be the reactions of those around us or how completing an act makes us feel. When we engage in a behaviour and don’t experience any negative consequences, we think that what we are doing is okay and then repeat what we have done, forming a habit that is hard to break. Dogs are exactly the same.
Training your dog should be the first port of call for any new dog owner. It’s important to create an environment where you are a superior authority to your dog and can effectively discipline if bad behaviour is displayed. The earlier on that your authority is asserted, the more effective it will be at curbing the negative behaviours of your dog and creating a happier, less troublesome environment for everyone.
Remember, your dog takes pleasure from your happiness and your praise. Teach your new furry friend the behaviours that will earn him or her praise and it benefits both of you.
Get the Right Equipment
One of the most common problems for new pet owners of all species is that they realise they don’t have the right equipment at all. For dogs, most people consider the standard items of a collar and a lead to be enough but there are plenty more things that you might need like toys and dog tags.
Similarly, there is a rising market for pet-related gadgets, all of which are designed to make your life easier and remove some of the stress that might come with walking or owning a dog. If possible, before you obtain your dog, do extensive research on what you will need and what technology might make life easier for you. Preventing a problem is always better than trying to fix it after it has happened.
Create a Dog-Friendly Environment
Finally and most importantly, ensure that your home is dog-friendly. Our houses are unusual places filled with hazards that could affect us, let alone our pets. Before getting a dog, make sure that you have done everything possible to create a healthy space for your dog to stay in.
This is particularly important if you have a habit of leaving food in easily accessible places. Dogs, as we know, will eat almost anything that smells nice, including foods that are bad or even poisonous for them. Get in the habit of keeping food out of sight in cupboards, replacing it where you found it whenever you are finished.
Similarly, cleanliness is key. Your dog will likely lick anything that it considers unusual or featuring a foreign smell, so if you have a dirty home with foodstuffs lost underneath sofa cushions, your dog will be trying to eat those. Keep on top of the housework and keep your dog safe.
As a dog owner, you have one of two options – either you can leave your faithful friend with a friend or family member (or at a kennels) while you go away for a week or so, or you can book a vacation that is welcoming of your pooch! It’s no secret that this will limit where you can go, but why not include the furriest member of your family?
If you look carefully enough, you will find plenty of other options where you can bring the dog with you, making it truly a family holiday!
With these three tips, you should have no problem creating a great space for you and your dog to share. Always remember, the more prepared you are, the easier the transition will be, giving you more time to enjoy with your new member of the family.