Dog ownership is one of the most beautiful and worth-the-shot experiences in life. Having a dog in your family would definitely change your life story excitingly. However, that idea is also intimidating, especially to first-time dog owners. All the concerns regarding bringing a new fur baby home will be more manageable if you get the proper preparation.
Here are 9 helpful tips we would like to share with new dog owners or other dog parents who are about to get a new one, so you guys can have better preparation to welcome the new family member thoughtfully.
1. Do Your Research And Get Yourself Ready
If you are reading this, you have already taken the first step on the right path to potentially become a top-notch dog parent. Just like before we put our hand on any task or assignment, careful research in advance will give us some essential head-ups and helpful knowledge. It's always a handful when first-time doing something, especially new dog owners. You may want to spend more time learning which dog breed is suitable for first-time owners. Taking a look at the list of 10 popular dog breeds in the US may be helpful for you. Also, the necessary dog accessories must be considered and entirely provided before introducing the four-legged friend to other family members.
Get the idea right: Taking care of a dog requires a lot of physical and mental preparations and sacrifices. You can't just expect a dog to make your mental life better without putting any effort into petting them right. Having a dog will be no different than having a baby. They will always ask for extra care, time, and serious responsibility to raise them right. You may have a life where you are busy with your work, house chores, friends, and colleagues, but your dog only has you.
Look for a big picture: When getting a dog, you will live with them for quite a long time, so make sure you get the suitable one for your lifestyle and family condition. If you live with your family members, you should note the age of the members, especially babies and elders, to get the breed that will fit in right. The best idea is to talk to the shelter staff about your preference, lifestyle, and special situation (if any). They really understand the dogs and can help you choose a good match.
Understand your financial condition: Getting a dog in fact, costs more than you might think. From quality food, treats, to vaccines and checkups and dog accessories require a certain budget. The involved cost impacts significantly on the commitments in dog ownership. So make sure you understand your responsibility of being a dog owner.
2. PREP YOUR HOME
From the living room to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, you need to get everything in place for your four-legged baby to use. Some indispensable supplies you need to put on your shopping list include a pet crate, food and water bowls, a dog bed, a dog door, and yard fences.
Once you're done shopping, it's time to arrange everything in the right place for your new fur baby.
The dog crate should be placed in the coziest area in your house, e.g., the living room, to feel the family vibe and believe that they are also a part of it.
On the other hand, a dog bed should be in your bedroom. Sleeping with you would be their best moment of the day. It also helps strengthen the bond between the two of you.
You need to make space for a food and water station somewhere in the kitchen. It would be easier for you when feeding and refilling water for them and facilitating them to have more experience enjoying the meal while the family is having a meal in the kitchen.
Consider building a proper fence if you have a backyard where your dog can run around freely.
There are some suggestions to help you create a dog-friendly backyard on a budget that may help you with this problem. Also, to make the house more friendly to your new dog, you can buy some dog toys and put them around where your dog can see and play easily.
3. The First Day Experience Is Important
Moving to your house is a totally new environment for your dog; hence they will feel anxious. Some first training will help both of you understand each other and live together more happily.
If you want to limit the space where your dog can go, you should make it clear on the first day. Use a small plastic fence to create a secure place for your dog to play in. Having a dog crate is also the best practice to help your paws get along with the new house easier. Whenever you have to leave your dog alone, you can get them to sleep or hang in their crate.
In addition, your new dog may pee around to mark the place, so potty training is a must-do on the first-day to-do list. Using potty pads is, so far, the most effective way to help your dog do it in the right place.
Potty training tips: Your dog peeing on the floor right when getting into the house is unavoidable. You should take a potty pad to absorb that (just to get the smell) and put it in place (indoor or outdoor) where you want your dog to go in the future. Take your dog to that place and let them smell the pad one more time. You can tell them this is their potty zone. They might not understand you right away, but at least they get the idea that you are trying to relate this smell and this place somehow.
The first night sleeping at the new house is sometimes more challenging than you might think. Your dog will cry, bark or howl all night. This can go even worse for a week. Hence, if possible, you can place a dog bed in your bedroom and let them sleep with you. One more way is to get them to feel safe and joyful with their area or crate. You should play with them in their zone so they know it is a safe and nice place to live and sleep. Before their bedtime, it'd be better if you sit in front of their crate and comfort them, so they don't feel like being trapped or left alone suddenly.
4. Contact Professional Vet
To ensure your new paws' health is in good condition, you should find a reliable and professional vet as a regular place for you and your pet to come when needed. A new dog, especially puppies will require careful overall checkups, vaccinations, and nutrition advice from experts.
It will be a handful at first, but precise healthcare at their very first age significantly supports their health for a long way. Getting your puppy fully vaccinated will prevent them from all the early-age diseases that can risk them a life.
Plus, you should also ask your vet about what good dog food to get for your new pup to make sure it is suitable and nutritious.
5. Research and Preparation Food
When shopping for dog food and treats at a pet store, you can ask the store staff to get proper products. The food and nutrition demand varies depending on your dog's breed, size, and age.
First-time dog owners also need to remember this crucial note: not all the fruit, vegetables, and snacks that humans enjoy are edible to your dogs. You can check out other articles in our pet care category to learn more about what should and shouldn't feed your dogs.
The dog food bowl is important as well. Consider choosing stainless steel or ceramic dog food bowls to protect their health better.
6. Get To Know Each Other
A lot of first-time dog parents think it may be too soon to teach their new dog commands on the first days, but in fact, those are necessary. The first thing your dog should know is the "No" or "Stop" command. This is how you will communicate with your dog later. To help your dog understand where they can and can't go or do in this new house, a warm-up training with the "No" command is very effective.
After deciding which part of the house your dog can play in, you should take them there and let them get familiar with the playgrounds like the backyard, or nearby park. Of course, you guys should spend quality time there, so he can understand these are nice and safe places to go.
7. Creating A Healthy Routine
The first couple of weeks is the golden time to create a healthy routine with your new dog. You can choose in the morning or late afternoon (or both if possible) to have some exercise with your dog like running in the park or jogging around the neighborhood. These should also be their pee-pee and poo-poo time as well so that you don't have to worry about "accidents" happening when you are not at home.
Later on, the exercise time can be a training time as well. This is when you guys learn how to communicate with each other better than ever. It also strengthens the bond for new dog parents to be closer to their fur babies.
You should also schedule their grooming time, especially if your dog is a long-coat breed. Grooming time for your dog is similar to your spa time. It helps them relax, get their coat to look better and softer, get their paw trimmed down, and even meet new friends.
8. Consider A Microchip
A microchip is just a rice size that was inserted under the loose skin of your dog's shoulder blades. It holds your dog's ID number, so the vet or shelter can scan and get all the necessary information.
If you adopt your dog from a shelter, they would probably have it. If not, you should ask them to get one for your new dog as a protection just in case they go missing. Several dog and owners reunited cases were reported thanks to these microchips.
9. Relax and Enjoy The Moment
We know that your new dog will feel anxious and stress when first moving to your house, but as first-time dog owners or parents, you're nervous and even scared as well. Besides all the excitement, you and your dog still have a lot of things to learn from each other. Hence, don't force yourself to be perfect; nobody is born to be dog parents at first. But you'll get there soon, day by day playing, cuddling, running, and growing old with your dogs. A whole new life chapter is awaiting ahead for you guys to experience.