There is nothing like finding your new best friend and bringing them home, but if you are a first time dog owner there are a few things you should know before settling down with your new furry friend. I spoke to my friend who works at the rescue we adopted Bella from and she helped me put a list of 10 tips to help making new dog parenthood a little easier.
What tips do you have for new dog owners?
Dog Proof Your Home: No matter the age of the dog a new home can be stressful and curiosity can get the best of them, so make sure your home is safe for your new BFF. This may include taping loose electrical cords and baseboards, storing plants on higher shelves, removing any objects that are small enough to swallow and placing breakables/valuables in hard to reach areas.
Purchase Supplies: Grab everything you think you will need for your dog before bringing them home. A few of the essentials are a leash, collar, crate (if you are crate training), food, water bowls, food bowls, identification tags, treats, a cozy bed and of course treats.
Find a Vet: It is important to find a vet you trust. Ask friends with dogs who they would refer and read reviews online. Make an appointment with a vet shortly after you get your new dog. The vet can tell you if your dog is up to date on shots, make sure they are healthy and recommend a dog food it should be eating based on its breed, age and weight.
Microchip and Register: You can have your dog microchipped when you have your first vet visit. It is important for your dog to have a collar and make sure it has tags with their name and your contact information, but you also want to make sure it is microchipped. Once your dog is microchipped make sure you register the microchip right away. Collars can come off, but microchips aren’t going anywhere.
Get Outside: Exercise is one of the most important things for a dog, especially a puppy. Whether you enjoy walking, running, throwing a frisbee or a ball make sure daily exercise becomes a routine. Being active is great for both you and the dog.
Set Rules: Let your dog know who’s boss. You don’t need to yell or get too stern, but if you see your dog doing something he shouldn’t make sure you let them know immediately. When your dog does something good reward them with a treat and tell them they have been good. Studies have shown that 8 out of 10 dogs respond better to their owner telling them they are a good dog after they do something good than treats, so make sure to let them know verbally that they are doing something you like.
Sign Up For Obedience Classes: Even if your dog is well behaved it doesn’t hurt to sign them up for obedience training. Not only does your dog learn new tricks and how to behave, but you will learn about how to be a better dog owner. It is also a nice way to meet other dogs in your community, so you can plan a doggy play date.
Prepare Other Pets and Children: When a newcomer is added to the family other pets and children can get neglected. Try not to have a favorite and treat each animal the same to avoid jealousy. When introducing your new dog to other dogs in the family or friends dogs meet them somewhere neutral, like a park/ l. Don’t go to a house where one animal will feel territorial and become the alpha. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming them. It is best not to bring too much excitement to the dog in the first few days.