Getting a dog for the first time is a big deal! You aren’t just getting a goldfish, nor are you getting a cat that is more or less reasonably self-sufficient. Dogs are very social creatures with advanced needs. They need to be cared for on a hands-on basis and brought up in a stable household. If you don’t care for them properly, they will act out. Try not walking a dog for a few days, and you can see just how they release their pent-up energy because it will likely be chewed up and strewn around your house.
Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, but it is one that can be instrumental in family bonding and in child development. Taking care of a dog can help teach children social skills, and can help them learn responsibility. For the parents, owning a dog can help them stay active, fit, and even be more social and meet fellow dog walkers. Dogs are family members through-and-through, but there are a few things you need to know before you bring one into your home.
Different Breed Personalities
The first thing to note is that not every dog is right for every family. Every breed has its own personality markers and behavior. Large dogs, for example, need a strong and firm upbringing and plenty of exercise and care. They are better suited for active families that have a detached home or live more remotely, as they have more opportunities to roam free and get their much-needed exercise. City-based families that live in apartments, on the other hand, will find a small or medium sized dog much better suited for their lifestyle.
Small and big dogs are not all the same, however. The same applies to small and medium-sized dogs. Hunting dogs, for example, need to be outdoors and active in order to be happy, no matter their size. Toy dogs, on the other hand, will be satisfied with one short walk in the morning and can be content just to go out afterward as they need to relieve themselves. There are excitable dogs and calm dogs, aggressive dogs and friendly dogs, and it all depends on the breed. Choose the right breed, and your family will bring in a great family member. Choose the wrong one that you cannot take care of, and you will find there will be many compatibility clashes.
Where You Get Your Dog Matters
Where you get your dog is also important. Under no circumstances will you ever want to support a puppy mill. What these mills do is essentially breed their adults until they die from exhaustion. It is a terrible life and cruel to the dogs that do not get sold on as puppies to loving homes. Opt for pet stores that actively condone these practices and work closely with reputable breeders, reputable breeders themselves, or adopt a dog. As sad as it is, many puppies will be abandoned during the holidays, as they are given as gifts only for their new owners to realize that they are not a good fit soon afterward and put them up for adoption.
Your First Vet Visit
Once you have your new puppy, you will want to go to the vet. Ideally, your puppy will have had vet visits throughout their life so far so that all you need to do is set up a schedule for their vaccinations. If not, you will need to get them checked out and microchipped before then registering your dog with the local authorities.
Getting the Right Toys and Equipment
The first step when you bring your new puppy home is to stock up on some supplies. Where you get these supplies will matter. While puppy pads and poop bags can probably be bought online, there is no replacement for being in-store for the tactile items. That is why every new puppy should then be brought to a great pet store like Kellyville Pets so that you can stock up on:
- Toys That Can Be Chewed
- A Dog Bed
- Puppy Pads
- Poop Bags
- Dog Bowls
The Importance of Puppy Training
Chances are, your local pet store will also have puppy training classes. For first-time dog owners, this is an absolute must. Training a dog is relatively easy, but there is a lot that can go wrong without the right tools and know-how. Going to a puppy training class can give your puppy the basics, and teach you how to carry on their training at home.
Be Firm with the Rules
When you want your dog to behave in a certain way, you need to be firm with the rules. If they are not allowed on the couch, always discipline them when they jump up. Don’t make concessions, because that will only confuse them. Be firm and fair, and your dog will learn fast. All they want to do, after all, is please you.
What to Remember with Discipline
Dogs don’t have a long attention span, so don’t keep punishing them for something they did even an hour before. Tell them off the first time, then move on and show love. Positive reinforcement is always the best when it comes to training. Anything else is simply abusing because unlike children, dogs will not understand. They will assume your continued punishment is for the behavior they are exhibiting at that moment, not for something they did earlier in the day.
A dog can bring so much joy to you and your family’s life. It can help you all grow, stay in shape, and be a bundle of love that doesn’t stop until the day they finally pass on. How well you train them and take care of them, however, is critical. You need to take care of your new dog as well as you would a child. Their needs are advanced, but caring for them can quickly become a joy and a great teaching tool for children.