It's time to say goodbye to 2019, and say hello to a whole new decade! Now some of you may have been lucky over the holidays, finding a new furry friend hiding under your tree. Getting a new dog seems exciting, but are you really ready to take care of them?
Don't worry, you're not alone! We've got just the right tips for you to forge that friendship with fido, and start the new year on the right paw!
Not all dogs are the same. Different dogs require different things, so try to look into what your furry friend needs. Big hunting breeds need more physical exercise and training, while small toy breeds can easily get injured. Puppies tend to have sharp teeth and an abundance of energy, while older dogs may need more trips to the vet.
Do your research and find out what works best for your dog. Some things might work with other dogs, but not with your own. So get to know your furball, and don't be afraid to speak to a vet. They'll be more than happy to help you take care of your new furry friend.
Stock up on dog supplies. The dog aisle in the pet store can be quite overwhelming, but if you know what you're getting, it becomes less daunting. Here's a quick list of things that you definitely have to get:
Dog Collar with Tag - get a tag where you can put your name, address, and phone number; if your furry friend ever gets lost, people will know who they can contact;
Lead - depending on your dog, you can get a normal lead or a flex lead; get a spare one too, just in case your dog manages to break one;
Dog Food - buy the brand your dog is already used to, or consult your vet on what dog food is best for your furry friend;
Pet Bowls - some dogs are allergic to plastic, so you might want to buy ceramic or stainless steel dog bowls;
Dog Bed - consider your dog's size and get them a soft, comfy bed they can stretch out on;
Toys - dogs can get bored, so keep them occupied with dog toys; get strong, durable ones that can survive some tough play; you don't want your furball to start playing with your couch cushions instead;
Crate - getting your dog a crate can make house training so much easier; there are a lot of crate options, so get what's best for your furball;
Bath Supplies - your dog needs to bathe, and they need shampoo specifically for dogs; don't forget to get nail clippers, towels, brushes, and a toothbrush;
Once you've got these supplies, you're basically good to go. You might need to get additional supplies in the long-run, but for now it's best to have the essentials stocked and ready.
For you and your furry friend's safety, make sure to dog-proof your house. Make sure all loose electrical cords are tucked or taped to baseboards, and that your household cleaners are stored in places your dog can't reach. You might want hide your breakables in a cabinet or closet, and move your houseplants away from your dog's space.
Set designated places for your furball's crate and dog bowls. You can block off the area with baby gates to keep your dog from getting their paws on anything off-limits. Don't forget to set a potty spot. You don't want fido making your whole house their toilet.
Build a bond with your furry pal. Develop your bond through activities like taking walks, going to the dog park, playing fetch, or even bathroom breaks! Any time you spend with your furry friend helps strengthen your bond with them, helping you earn their love, trust, and respect.
Another way to build a bond is my establishing a routine and sticking to it. Consistency is good for your furball, since they'll know what to expect every day. Your dog can learn to rely on routines, teaching them that they can trust you to do your part in taking care of them.
It's good to establish a bond with your fur baby, but don't let them get too dependent. A sure way to keep your dog from being too dependent is through training. You can start training at home by teaching your dog simple commands like "sit" or "stay". When your furry friend obeys or does something good, reward him with a treat or a good snuggle. If he's misbehaving or becomes too overexcited, ignore them until they settle.
If you feel like your furball needs more training - then enroll them in a class. Think about what you'd want your dog to learn from training, and find a trainer or class that suits you best. Ask around your neighborhood and friends for which trainer they recommend, but make sure that your trainer has all the certifications. Involve yourself in your dog's training as much as possible. They are your pet after all, not the trainer's.
Be mindful of your dog's health. Dogs are not toys, they are an ongoing commitment. As a dog owner it's vital for you to understand and manage your dog's healthcare. You have to be aware of your dogs needs as they go through their lives by your side.
The first and most important step to keeping your dog healthy is to find the right vet. Just like finding a trainer, you can ask around for referrals from their previous clients, making sure the vet you choose is certified. Registering with a vet will be a big help for you and your furry friend. They help not only with vaccinations and check-ups, but they can also make personal recommendations suited to your dog.
Taking care of a dog is a learning process, but we hope these tips can help start out. Always keep in mind that your dog is a living being, and just like you they have their own unique needs. Be prepared for whatever comes your way, and be there for your furry friend.
You can go through many dogs in your lifetime, but your dog only has you. Fill their days with endless love, so that when they finally cross the rainbow bridge, they'll go knowing their life was a happy one.
Big thank you to all these re-barkable references:
75 Ways To Be A Responsible Dog Owner
43 Tips for New Puppy Owners
New Dog Owner's Guide
8 Top Tips for New Dog Owners
Tips for First Time Dog Owners