Is there anything cuter than a puppy? With their tiny paws and little noses, it’s no surprise that a dog can help improve mental health.
However, if you’re getting a dog for the first time, you’ll need to do more than walk into a shelter and pick the cutest pup. Taking care of an animal is a significant commitment, requiring time and consistency.
If you’re looking to get a dog, there’s a lot you’ll need to know. Keep reading for a comprehensive first-time dog owner guide, full of everything you’ll need to know before bringing home your new best friend.
Research Before You Commit
Though getting a new dog seems like it will be all snuggles, walks, and playing fetch, you need to know what you’re getting into. Owning a dog requires a lot of work.
It’s crucial to get on a consistent schedule for sleeping and feeding, and ensuring your dog gets enough exercise. This means spending time outside with your dog, whether on walks or playing in the yard.
Not only will you need to know the amount of time that goes into caring for a puppy, but you should also research the proper dog training methods. Training is essential, and you’ll need to stay consistent.
Different dog breeds have different needs and levels of energy. However, each dog has a unique personality, so talking with the shelter staff can ensure you find the right dog.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, let the staff know! They can help you find a puppy that’s fine with spending most of the day on the couch. However, you’ll still need to ensure they’re active every day!
Puppy Proof Your Home
Once you’ve done the research and decided that you’re ready to handle the responsibility, you’ll need to get your home ready for a new dog. This is an often overlooked step that can result in frustration and pricey replacements!
Dogs are naturally curious, which can lead to accidents. Minimize damage by moving breakable items that could be knocked over by happy tail wags. Hiding wires is another must, as dogs may see them as chew toys.
You’ll also want to keep your dog safe. This includes investing in garbage cans with lids to help deter your pup from getting into the trash. Similarly, move any cleaning products, chemicals, or medications from ground level.
Invest in Quality Supplies
Before bringing your dog home, you’ll need the right pet supplies to help your pet feel comfortable and cared for. For starters, you should invest in:
- Food, recommended by the shelter or a vet
- A dog harness, like those from joyrideharness.com
- A leash and collar
- A dog tag with your information
- A dog bed
- A crate large enough for your pup to stretch out in
- Plenty of toys
- Food and water bowls
These supplies will help your new dog feel safe and comfortable in their new home.
You should also set up a designated space for your dog to feel safe in. Placing the bed, their food, and toys in a specific area can help them feel like they have their own space in their new home.
Slowly Introduce New People or Animals
Though you might be excited to bring your dog around new people and your friend’s pets, you should start off slow.
Until you become more familiar with your dog’s personality. Some dogs may become overwhelmed and fearful when put in a social setting. This fear can manifest like aggression and cause your dog to lash out.
Instead, you’ll want to keep your dog and others safe by slowly introducing your dog to new people and other dogs. Keep your dog on a short leash, and stay alert to any warning signs of aggression before they manifest.
It is essential to socialize with your pet, though. Failure to do so can cause your dog to become fearful and aggressive when exposed to the outside world. However, when your dog is socialized, they can form healthy relationships.
Have a Vet on Standby
Once you bring your new dog home, you’ll need to get your god set up with a veterinarian. This ensures you have a place to bring your pup in case of emergency, as you’ll already have an established relationship with the doctor.
It can be a challenge to find a veterinarian. If you’re having trouble, you can ask your friends who have pets for recommendations about where they bring their dogs.
In general, you will want to take your dog somewhere in close proximity to your house. Similarly, your vet should be caring, honest, and listen to any concerns you may have.
Keep Your Cool
Finally, one of the most essential tips when bringing home a new pet is to learn to keep your cool. As a first-time dog owner, this can be one of the most challenging steps
Accidents are bound to happen. Whether your new dog goes in the house, chews up your favorite pair or shows, or knocks over your favorite decor piece, you’ll inevitably become frustrated.
Similarly, you may dread taking your dog for their morning walk on freezing winter days or paying a heft vet bill because your puppy is pooping differently.
While all of these are frustrating, owning a dog is one of the most rewarding life experiences. You’re the only life your dog knows, and they don’t mean to do bad things; they’re animals and don’t know any better, so go easy on them!
Everything You Need to Know: The First-Time Dog Owner Guide
If you’re ready to bring a new dog home, keeping these tips in mind can help make the transition smooth and comfortable for both you and the puppy.
Make sure that your whole family is ready for the responsibility of owning a puppy. When it comes to keeping the house puppy safe, training methods, and keeping your dog active, everyone will need to be on the same page.
If this first-time dog owner guide was informative, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website. There, you’ll find more great home and lifestyle content.