A dog is a great companion. There may even be studies that owning a dog can reduce stress and depression in the owner and even possibly help the owner live longer. Of course, owning a dog is a responsibility. It’s important to know what to do to be a good dog owner. Here are the 18 most useful tips for new dog owners.
1. Get plenty of chew toys
Not every dog will chew but many do and it will definitely be a problem if they get into a habit of chewing your stuff. The best thing you can do is to get your dog chew toys that allow them to get our that chewing energy. If you have young kids with toys try not to get chew toys that resemble your kid’s toys. You don’t want the dog to confuse your kid’s toys with their chew toys.
2. Give your dog it’s own space
Giving your dog it’s own space where s/he can go to relax or get away from an activity is a great idea. Make the space a comfortable place where they can go to relax or take a nap when needed. Often, this area is where you will put their bed and their toys. Make sure that those living in the house knows that this is the dogs space and to not accidentally fill it up with random items.
3. Get a kennel for the adult dog
People are often tempted to get a smaller kennel when they first get a puppy. While the smaller kennel will work in the beginning, you’ll most likely find yourself buying a bigger kennel that fits your dog once it is full-grown. It is best to just by the larger size from the beginning. This will save you time, money, and some discomfort from your dog and s/he outgrows the smaller kennel.
4. Find a good vet
When you get sick, you have a doctor you call to help make you feel better. Well, your dog needs someone to help when he’s sick too. Start very young when you need to neuter or spay your canine. Ideally, your dog will develop a relationship with the vet. This will make trips to the vet much more manageable. If you do end up moving out of your veterinarian’s area, you should find a new vet before you move. Don’t wait until something happens. Not all vets take emergency calls. In the case of a late-night accident, you should have the contact information of an emergency vet as well.
5. Buy plenty of training pads
Puppies have accidents. It’s an inevitable part of being a dog owner. These accidents can be much less troublesome if you just prepare yourself properly. Start by getting plenty of wee-wee pads for your dog. These absorbent pads will soak up accidents until you can get home. Simply place the wee-wee pad in the same place every day. The dog will become familiar with this location. This will help centralize accidents to one, easy to clean area in your home.
6. Take them out often
Your dog needs plenty of exercise. They also need to be outside a lot in order to become potty trained. It’s a good idea to take the dog out every couple of hours to ensure that they are outside when they need to go. This will also keep them from having too much pent up energy. A dog with too much energy may end up being destructive and chewing up items in your home when you aren’t there.
7. Find a reliable dog walker/dog sitter
You can’t be at home all the time. You most likely have work. Even if you work from home, you may need to leave for a vacation or familial obligations. You won’t always be able to bring your dog with you. In these cases, you will have to hire someone to care for the dog in your absence.
8. Don’t use negative reinforcement
Every dog will misbehave from time to time, especially when it is a puppy. You may be tempted to hit the dog on the nose or yell to correct the behavior. However, the truth of the matter is that most dogs will not know why you hit them on the nose or whatever you did. They will only know that you hit them. This can create distrust and possibly even anger. To learn more about how to train your dog check out this list of the best dog training methods.
9. Buy sturdy toys
Most dogs will go through their toys quickly. They will bite and chew the toys until they are unrecognizable. This means you will be buying new toys every couple of weeks or months. It’s best to buy sturdy toys from the beginning. This is obvious with large dogs with strong bites, but even small dogs can tear through toys surprisingly quickly. Find a brand that holds up against your dog, and stick to this brand to maintain consistency.
10. Always keep your dog on a leash in public
Some dogs are so well behaved that they will walk next to their owner without a leash and not run off. Unfortunately, this is the exception compared to the rule. Even a well behaved dog may run off when tempted by food or another dog. This could put your dog in danger. Also, it’s illegal to let your dog out without a leash. You could end up with a fine. You may even end up liable if your dog causes damage to another dog or a person.
11. Avoid feeding your dog people food
Dogs have a unique digestive system. Dog food is made to satisfy the dog’s hunger while also keeping him healthy. Sure, your dog may enjoy a piece of your steak. The steak may not even be bad for your furry friend. However, this will teach the dog to eat anything they see on your plate or the kitchen counter. They may not get a piece of steak next time. Next time, they may get chocolate. Chocolate is notoriously bad for dogs and has even killed dogs in large quantities. Avoid the problem by not allowing the dog to eat human food at all.
12. Start leash training right away
Training your dog to walk on a leash is one of the more important things your dog needs to learn. It is best to begin this training as soon as you get your new dog. Regardless of their age, dogs need to learn how to properly walk on a leash without pulling. The sooner you begin this training the easier it will be.
13. Take plenty of pictures
Your dog will live in your memory for years after he goes to the giant farm in the sky. However, some of those memories will fade. Keep them as vibrant as possible by taking plenty of pictures. The pictures will help you remember every mark on your dog and every memory you shared together.
14. Meet other dog owners
Get out there and meet other dog owners. You will always have something in common in your dogs. Also, you can learn from each other on how to better raise your dogs. You may also be able to help each other when you need a dog sitter. Finally, your dog may even make a friend.
15. Avoid the outfits
You don’t like being told what to wear. Your dog probably doesn’t, either. It can be hard to resist the cute, little costumes around Halloween, but you shouldn’t force outfits on your dog if they don’t like them. If your dog bites at the outfits or seems uncomfortable, it’s best to avoid the outfits all together. Even for the rare dogs who do like dressing up, you should make a point to pick loose outfits that won’t suffocate them or cause danger in any way.
16. Go to a professional trainer
Some dogs are more difficult than others. If your dog keeps having accidents, destroying items in your house, or showing aggressive behavior, they need to out learn these behaviors. If you aren’t finding success yourself, try going to a professional. There are trainers who can help teach your dog how to behave properly. They may even be able to help watch your dog for you during the day.
17. Be patient
Being a dog owner requires patience. You need to take the time to train your dog and bond with your dog. You also need to be patient enough to take care of them for years. It can take quite a lot of time and energy. However, if you are patient enough, your dog will be happy and comfortable. You may even learn how to be more patient in your own life.
18. Teach your dog some fun tricks
While commands like sit and stay are vital do stop there. There is a lot of fun to have when training your dog to do some fun things. Tricks like roll over, play dead, speak, are lots of fun to show off to friends. Additionally, the more you work with your dog the closer you will grow. Teaching your dog additional tricks will improve their skill as well as your bond. It is definitely worth it.
There are a number of tips for new dog owners that can help you provide a good life for your dog. The more effort you put into your role as a dog owner, the better outcome you will see.
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