SURVIVAL TIPS FOR NEW DOG OWNERS
CARING FOR YOUR DOG
New dog owners learning to care for their dog shouldn’t have to find the process challenging. Indeed, the whole experience can be joyful and awe-inspiring. But first, let me congratulate you on adding a dog as a new member of the family. And also let me share my new dog owners survival tips. Having a new pet is rewarding, but it also comes with a share of hard work. Bringing a new dog home, especially if you’re a new dog owner is often overwhelming at times. So, make sure you and your family take plenty of time to prepare for the new arrival. This way, the dog or puppy’s transition into a family member will be a much smoother operation, especially if you include plenty of research into your preparations.
GETTING YOUR HOME READY
Getting your home ready for your new pup requires careful consideration and manoeuvring. So, I have put together these helpful new dog owners survival tips to guide you through those first few weeks as a new dog parent.
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT IS ONE OF THE IMPORTANT NEW DOG OWNERS SURVIVAL TIPS
Often a new dog will get overwhelmed when introduced into a new home and family. And you may find it difficult to know how to act when trying to keep them calm and reduce their anxiety. Different dogs will obviously react in varying ways to any new environment and homing situations. While some may appear fearful others will be relaxed and adjust to their new life quickly. Some may get comfortable within a day or two, while others may take a longer period of time even months to adjust. Of course, it will depend on many factors, such as their breed, temperament, and past experiences.
You may find that the adjustment period associated with an older dog is often longer. It’s not difficult to understand why, especially if your new dog has spent some time in a dog shelter. But on the plus side of adopting an older dog, you may find him to be relatively easy to handle because of his previous training. On the other hand, Puppies can get used to a new environment quite quickly but will often require more of your attention as they will require more training.
So, you must make sure you and your family are well prepared before bringing home your new canine pal. Go through a few different scenarios you think you may face, ask other dog owners for any tips and don’t forget to contact your local veterinarian if you need questions answered. Being prepared and getting off to a good start is one of the best new dog owners survival tips, and don’t forget the most important principle to observe is patience!
MEET YOUR DOG’S BASIC NEEDS
Being a new dog owner comes with learning basic dog care routines and adapting them to your lifestyle. This involves everything from proper nutrition, adequate shelter, physical care, and social interaction.
Most domestic pets will need help with their grooming and care for their bodies. Dogs, especially those with long hair will need regular grooming, bathing, oral hygiene and ear care. And we mustn’t forget that many dogs, depending on their lifestyles, may also need regular clipping of their nails. Many good groomers can help to keep your pet looking its best. Of course, these new dog owners survival tips are basic, you can, according to your budget expand on this list. But do remember, if money is short, don’t feel you have to get the most expensive, trendy things for your new pet. He won’t care a toss if all his equipment is second hand, so long as he is loved.
Getting food specially formulated for your dogs will be a huge plus on your side. Many new pet owners often mistake human food is also OK for their dogs when some foods are dangerous to our dogs. Learn the basics of dog nutrition from a veterinary or literature and information available at your pet store. There’s no one right answer when it comes to dog food. The rule to follow is that if your dog is doing well on a certain type of nutrition and it’s well balanced, then it’s a good option to stick with it.
A safe environment
Consider where your pet will live. Your will need to ensure that your dog has adequate shelter and that it is safe for the dog whether it is living inside or outside the house (my personal view is that if you get a dog as part of the family, he’s just that! Why would anybody think it’s OK to make a family member sleep outside?) You will need to protect your dog from extreme heat and cold, direct sunlight, high humidity, heavy rain, wind, snow, and ice. Your garden or yard must be dog-proofed so that he can’t get out and neither can he have any uninvited guests! Also, as a safety measure, ensure your dog has a proper ID tag and chipped.
Getting dog supplies
Other new dog owners survival tips are to make your home dog friendly. He’ll need a comfy bed, a feeding bowl and water bowl and a few toys—a leash, harness or collar. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to spend a fortune, especially if your buddy is a puppy, they grow so quickly you’ll need to increase his collar/harness and maybe his bed depending on how big he gets.
Physical exercise is an important part of a dog’s life and is crucial for both his mental and physical health. Taking your dog for walks or runs regularly is a good way of maintaining both yours and your dog’s health. Obviously, if your new puppy is very young, he won’t be able to mix with other dogs until all his vaccinations have been given. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t require exercising, when in fact, it is vital for his growing mind and body. Suppose you have got a garden or yard use that area for exercise and use the time as mini-training sessions such as his first two vital commands and house training. If you don’t have the outside space, you can play doggie games inside, that again can be in the form of mini-training sessions, you can have fun teaching him to sit or stay.
For your pet to feel secure in his new home, he needs to be a part of a group that is his new family. Your dog will need some form of leadership. He’ll look to you to know what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour and what is expected of him with the family group. You must be ready to take the mantle of the team leader. Doing this will help your dog learn to respect and bond with you, which will make your relationship stronger.
Hygiene and grooming
It is important to keep your dog in a clean state, and your house will also benefit from this. Bathe your dog when he needs one but not so regularly that it damages the dogs’ skin by stripping out the fur’s naturals oils. A good alternative is to brush your dog regularly to get rid of any dirt or dander, which can build-up and make your dog smelly. Make it a daily routine which will help the bonding process, and you can check your dog for any parasites or lumps and bumps.
Never use human shampoos and also be aware that some dog shampoos may also irritate your dog’s skin. So, seek advice on the best dog shampoo most suitable for your dog’s skin type.
Factors that will dictate how often you should bathe your dog will include:
- The length of dog hair.
- Your dog’s daily activities.
- The weather.
- How adventurous your dog is (love water and mud!)
Bathing, especially for puppies, should be a wonderful experience to make further them feel safe in their new home. Unfortunately, not all dogs like water, if your dog is one of those, check my post My dog is afraid of water, it’s one of my new dog owners survival tips. Choosing the best schedule of bathing your dog comes down to personal preference and your dog’s needs.
DOG TRAINING TIPS FOR NEW DOG OWNERS
Training is essential for a new dog or puppy. It gives the dog structure and helps with his obedience training and how he fits into the family group. Physical and mental training your dog is important for him to be fully engaged, and helps to enhance the bond between you both. Once you’ve developed a strong bond with your dog, you’ll find him easier to train, as he’ll always try to learn to please you. Schedule regular times for training your dog working through all the essential steps, including the first two basic commands you need to teach him.
It is important to run your dog through physical and behavioural exercises to get the most effective results out of the experience. It is more important to consider behavioural training, as it is the dogs’ overall discipline’s backbone.
No dog is perfect. At some point, you as a new dog owner will have to deal with some behavioural issue. Behavioural issues such as excessive barking or destructive chewing being the most common of issues. You may also encounter a more serious issue, such as aggression. All these can become serious problems if the new dog owner doesn’t identify the problems.
Another one of the new dog owners’ survival tips is that it is good to be well informed about dog behaviour problems. You will then be forewarned of any potential problems you may encounter. You can make plans to ensure your dog receives the appropriate training. Doing this will help minimize any unwelcome behaviours from developing and those that do develop can then be managed.
DOG HEALTH TIPS FOR NEW DOG OWNERS
Adhering to the above guidelines when taking care of your dog will significantly lower risks of health problems that may affect your dog, but some unseen health problems are bound to come up sooner or later. Regular check-ups at the vets are vital to ensure that any potential health problems can be identified and treated early. Often an early diagnosis will help achieve a better outcome. Pet health insurance is not one of the items you should skimp money on.
Some of the signs to look out for that may indicate the early onset of diseases include:
- Bad breath or drooling
- Excessive drinking or urination
- Appetite change associated with weight loss or gain
- Change in activity level (e.g., lack of interest in doing things they once did)
- Coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, or laboured breathing
- Dry or itchy skin, sores, lumps, or shaking of the head
- Sleeping more than normal, or other behaviour or attitude changes
- Stiffness or difficulty in rising or climbing stairs
- Dry, red, or cloudy eyes
- Frequent digestive upsets or change in bowel movements
A dog will often compensate for his lack of communication skills with physical and behavioural changes, indicating a health problem.
Diagnosis and treatment
As a new dog owner, you must learn how your dog behaves normally. By doing this, you are aware of changes in your dog behaviour and the signs your pet is trying to tell you when something is wrong. A veterinarian will make the diagnosis of your dog. He will then inform you of any actions required to get your dog back to good health. You can do little during the treatment of a dog as most of the work is left to the veterinarian other than carrying out their instructions.
As stated above, if all the above recommendations on how to take care of your new dog are followed to the letter, any health problems will usually be minimized.
Also, other preventive care screening measures can go a long way in ensuring your dog is healthy for most of its lifetime. Preventive care screening can detect early stages of diseases, and this is good as it will enable control and treatment of the disease in its earliest stage. Annual pet care screening is the best course of treatment your dog can get.
Spaying or neutering
Ensuring your is spayed or neutered is being a responsible dog owner. Staggering dog facts and trivia is that a dog, with the female dog and their offspring, and aren’t neutered or spayed, can collectively produce 67,000 dogs within six years. Resulting in an overload of unwanted dogs. So, this is obviously the best course of action to take if you want to avoid such things as extra expenses, and potential medical and behavioural changes to your dog.
Spaying procedure can be done as early as 2 months of age in a puppy, depending on your veterinarian’s advice.
PLANNING TO BREED FROM YOUR NEW DOG?
As a new dog owner and planning to breed from your new dog, isn’t advisable until you’ve gathered more experience, but if you insist ensure you always seek professional help. Most Vets and experienced dog breeders will be glad to give their advice on breeding and animal welfare. Dog breeding must be done responsibly by experienced breeders.
NEW DOG OWNERS SURVIVAL TIPS IS BE ATTENTIVE AND CONSISTENT
Your dog will need consistent attention and guidance to learn what is expected of him. Dogs want to please and rewarding them with treats and praise as they complete a task will help reinforce you’re pleased with their training progress. It will help to boost your dog’s morale and making him feel he’s fitting in. You will need to practise patience, empathy and kindness as well as treating your dog fairly to gain his trust. If your pet is adopted from the shelter, then it may take much longer until he starts to bond and trust you. But, I can assure you, hand on heart, once that bond and trust has developed you’ll never look back.
BE THE BEST DOG OWNER YOU CAN
All the above recommendations can seem a bit too much for new dog owners. But it is a worthy sacrifice that will make the life of you and your dog much more serene and happier. And these instructions don’t need to be followed forever. Just stick to them till your new dog gets used to you and his new environment. Soon you’ll be able to drop some of the practices which you deem unnecessary. Ensure to stick to the necessary ones that retain the trust built between you and your dog.
With constant care and attention, your experience with your new dog will be so much more rewarding.
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