Tips for the New Dog Owner

Whether you’re a homeowner, or hope to be – owning a pet too can be a big undertaking. However, we’ve got some tips that will help you through the process. The best advice I can give you as first-time homeowner and new pet owner is to give it time. It’s easy to give up after a few weeks, but your new pet probably isn’t yet acclimated to you and your home at that point. It takes time for acclimation, training, mistakes, and discipline to all set in.

Whether you’ve got a puppy or a new friend from the pound, these tips will get you started on understanding how to best care for your pet and home.

Plan/ schedule before your dog arrives:

  • More than likely your dog is already fixed, but if not and you don’t plan to breed, go ahead and get it taken care of. Puppies bounce back quickly and it usually gives them a better temperament as they grow.
  • Find your vet. If your dog came from a shelter, likely they received heartworm testing and treatment if needed. However, you’ll want to get any shots they need as well as treatment for fleas/ticks and any other medical issues that need attention.
  • Get food and supplies. Try to find out from the previous caretaker what the pup was eating, toys they like, or what positive reinforcement they respond to. Think of the basics like bed, leash, harness, treats, etc.

First days + weeks:

  • Does your new furry friend need to be crate trained? If so, start them out day one. You don’t want a huge crate because that will give them more room to go to the bathroom in the crate. Put a cushion in it and some toys to keep them busy.
  • If you have more than one pet or your dog is from a shelter, it may be a good practice to feed them alone in a separate room. This ensures they eat only their own food and that they are less likely to get aggressive about their food.
  • Try a dog wash station/ kiddie pool. Some pet stores have a wash station made for dog baths. These will serve you much better than your home – especially for big dogs. You can also buy an inexpensive kiddie pool to wash your dog in. This will save you from the mess!
  • Follow a schedule. Your new pet needs to know what to expect from you. Strays or animals that weren’t loved well may not know they’re going to be fed, let out, or given attention. Using a schedule also helps you remember!
  • Give your new friend some exercise! Dogs really need some walking. It helps their aggression, lifespan, and overall attitude. It’s also nice to have company on your walk!

Be patient with yourself and with your new dog! It all takes time and training. There’s so much to learn. Good luck!

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