Collaborative Post¦ Have you and your family recently made the rather large decision that the time is right for you to adopt a dog? This is a big step in any family’s life, as it’s so much more than just a bundle of fur that you will be bringing home. You are essentially adding a whole other family member to the household with their own personality, needs, and wants. Not only that, but there will be a transition period for all, and plenty of training to be done.
So, before you go ahead and pick out your first family dog, here are some basics that you will want to be aware of.
Do Your Research on Breeds
The first tip is to make sure you put in the time and do your research on breeds. Picking out a puppy simply because ‘it’s cute’ is not the ideal way to go about things. Each breed is unique and has its own set of characteristics. Some of these characteristics will fit better with your family and lifestyle than others.
You also have to be well aware of the fact that puppies will grow, so you want to be sure the breed you pick is an ideal size for your home, your garden and outdoor space. You also have to know that you can handle them.
Perhaps you’ve decided against a puppy and would rather adopt an adult dog? If this is the case, at least you already know the size of dog you are getting but bear in mind they may already have had some training in place or none. So, you may need to re-train them or start from scratch, the key is to be compassionate to their needs and be patient.
How Do You Plan to Train Your Dog?
Speaking of training, this is something that all dogs – no matter the size, breed, or age – require. Training doesn’t just make life easier for you and your family; it also makes life easier for the dog. They will then be aware of the expectations and know what ‘proper behaviour’ looks like.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing the training on your own at home, as a first-time dog owner it can feel a bit intimidating. If you’re feeling in over your head, you can consider hiring a personal trainer, taking your dog to training classes (usually a group setting), or even buying some training books and watching videos to better understand methods and techniques.
Training shouldn’t be thought of as just a puppy thing; training is something you can keep up with their entire life, as at times you may need to teach them new commands and tricks, or they may just need some refreshing.
Housetraining Will be the First Hurdle
In terms of training, your first hurdle will be the one that is likely the toughest – and that is housebreaking your new dog. Obviously this applies more to puppies, but even older dogs that are new to your home will need some level of housebreaking.
There are all kinds of techniques and ways to go about this type of training, so reading as much material as possible, and speaking to other dog owners is wise to do in advance. Keep in mind that you may have to be flexible and change up your methods if things aren’t working.
Patience and understanding will be necessary in order to get through the housebreaking stage.
Do You Plan on Using a Crate?
One training technique you can use is crate training. This can help to address housebreaking, separation anxiety, destructive behaviour, and more. The crate is meant to be your dog’s safe space, where they can rest, feel secure, and comfortable. Crates should never be used as a punishment, rather it is a way to help control your dog’s behaviour to keep them out of trouble.
Again, this is a topic that you can read up on and find valuable tips and techniques.
Find a Local Vet
One of the first things you’ll need to do with your new family member is take them to the vet for a general check-up. Since this is your first dog, it may be wise to ask friends and family if there is a vet that they can recommend that is nearby. Word of mouth can be very insightful when looking for a vet. You can also read reviews and comments online.
Consider Pet Insurance
As a new pet owner, you may not yet be aware of the cost of vet bills, whether it be for routine check-ups or those unforeseen emergencies that can occur. With that in mind, pet insurance from a provider like Everypaw may offer a bit of financial protection in cases where your dog becomes injured or ill. Familiarising yourself with what pet insurance is and how it works is something dog owners may wish to do.
You’re Ready to Take on the Challenge
By using these tips and doing all your research in advance, you will be more than ready to take on the challenge of bringing home your very first family dog.