The bond that a dog owner has with their pet is extraordinary. There’s simply nothing quite like it. Having the chance to experience this kind of love is one of the many reasons why people get a dog in the first place. If you have never bought a dog before or if you are concerned that you may make some mistakes when you do finally take the plunge, then this is the guide for you.
Getting a Dog Before You Are Truly Ready
If you are contemplating getting a dog then it can be too tempting to act quickly. You may see a dog you like at the animal shelter and just not be able to say no. You might also see a litter of puppies online, and not be able to resist. Either way, one thing you need to be mindful of is that getting a dog is a huge responsibility. It’s also a long-term commitment. There are a lot of things that you need to give thought to, such as if you have enough time in your schedule to walk and care for your dog, or if you have room for a dog. Money is also a very important factor. Can you even afford the dog? Think about things such as dog treats, vaccinations, grooming, check-ups and more. If you don’t feel as though you have the money for this then you shouldn’t be getting a dog. Considering things like this will help you to make the right decision and it will also give you the chance to look at every angle properly.
Not Creating a House Training Plan
If you get an older dog then you might not have to give much thought to house training. That being said, new dog owners and those who intend on adopting a younger dog will need to look into it. If you do not train your dog to use the bathroom outdoors early on, then they will have accidents in the house. It will also become difficult for you to leave them, even for very short periods. If you want to help yourself and your dog then one thing you can do is create a schedule for your dog. Get everyone on board and make sure that the whole family is on board. When you bring your new dog home, make it clear where they should be going to the bathroom and also make sure that you take them out for regular bathroom breaks. Use positive reinforcement and make sure that you crate-train them. The crate can be a very useful tool when it comes to training. It takes advantage of your dog’s denning instinct. Dogs are more likely to use the bathroom away from where they sleep, so if you crate-train them, this gives them a higher chance of being successful when using the bathroom. It also gives them somewhere to relax and call their own, so make sure that you keep this in mind.
Not Socializing Your Dog
If you don’t socialize your dog then this is another huge mistake. Early socialization can be a great way for you to create healthy and balanced relationships for your dog. If your dog is socialized properly then this can help them to stop being anxious later in life. It also stops them from developing aggressive behaviors later in life. As a new dog owner, you ideally want to socialize your dog with several different sights, sounds and positive experiences. Keep track of those experiences as your dog grows. You can try activities such as walking down the street and visiting a pet store. You can also play with your dog and arrange puppy play dates. Going to the dog park can be good, but at the same time, it can encourage your dog to develop unhealthy relationships. If you want to do something about this then one thing you can do is give your dog time off-lead in an enclosed area with dogs who they have met before. If you let your dog off the lead with zero recall and if you allow them to run up to every dog they see then this can lead to them being attacked later on in life. You never know when they are going to approach the wrong dog and if you call them away and they don’t listen, it would unfortunately be your fault as your dog is off-lead. Keep your dog leashed until they have solid recall and then work your way up, so you can set the foundation of socialization before you let them run free.
Skipping Basic Training
If you are a first-time dog owner then you may find that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the fun and exciting things you can do. You may skip out on some of the rules for your dog too. All canines benefit from some form of basic training. While some dogs need more training than others, you do have to remember to meet their basic needs. Basic training does include socialization as listed above, but at the same time, it also includes leash training. This is great as it helps you to create a routine for them and it also helps them to experience rewarding behavior. Teaching your dog commands such as sit, stay and even come will help them to become a well-mannered companion and it will also help them to feel supported when navigating unfamiliar situations. Whether you decide to train your dog yourself or whether you take them to a trainer, you do need to make sure that you give it your all here.
If this is your first dog, or even if you have been a pet parent for quite some time, you might think that a few extra treats or scraps won’t be an issue for your dog. The truth is that pet obesity is a huge issue and even just a bit of extra weight can bring about a huge range of health issues. This includes joint pain and injuries as they age. Conversely, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will reduce the chances of them developing diabetes and respiratory disease. It can even ward off certain types of cancer. If possible, you will want to ward off extra treats and table scraps as much as possible. You can talk with your vet about the options that are available for your dog and you can also find out the safest way for you to get your dog to shift the pounds if you are adopting one that is already overweight.
Not Getting Walked Enough
Dogs have different energy levels at the end of the day. Each pup will have different needs but if you give them enough exercise then this will stop them from developing behavioral issues or weight issues. As you might expect, a dog that isn’t walking enough may take their energy out in other ways, such as chewing or barking at distractions. Your dog should be getting half an hour of walks every day and ideally, you should also try and include running, playing and training in this. Labradors and golden retrievers are incredibly loyal, easy to train and obedient. That being said, they need a lot more exercise than let’s say, a chihuahua, so make sure that you give some thought to your breed of dog, and that you take the time to find one that suits your lifestyle requirements. High-energy breeds are much more likely to act out if they are not given the time and attention that they need, so be mindful of this and give them the training that they deserve, as well as wearing them out during the day. If you have a garden then this is great, as it means you can give them exercise without having to constantly walk them. If you have a garden, why not consider a sliding patio door with a dog door built in to make things easier for yourself?
Forgetting about Vet Visits
You have probably gathered by now that regular vet visits are so important and they can also help your dog to stay healthy. You will need to think about spaying or neutering where possible and you will also need to give some thought to their annual vaccination appointments too. Even though your dog would probably prefer to skip the appointments, taking them is so important when it comes to their preventative care. When you take your dog to the vets, they will do a physical exam while checking over your dog’s heart. If there is cause for concern then your vet will be able to address this and suggest options for treatment. During these visits, your vet will give your dog a vaccination booster as well as discussing treatment for fleas and worms. Things like this are so important if you take your dog to daycare, as they will be meeting a lot of other dogs and therefore will be exposed to more parasites.
As your dog gets older, vet visits will become even more imperative. This is especially the case as they get older. If you can keep them healthy then this allows them to spend more time with you, so it’s crucial to consider this.