Being a first-time dog owner is an exciting journey you should be excited about. Unlike humans, dogs provide truly unconditional love and affection, and will never talk behind your back or betray you. They’ll never hold a grudge— heck they don’t even have bad moods! However, along with this unique companionship also comes a considerable amount of responsibility.
From keeping your pets safe from external dangers, to attending regular vet visits, there are some things it helps to know ahead of time. To help you navigate the process of pet parenthood, here are some of the best tips for first-time dog owners.
Know the Breed
Before you even consider bringing a dog home, make sure that you know the kind of breed that you’ve chosen. Different breeds will align with different lifestyles and living spaces. You want to consider all sorts of factors, from what kind of grooming needs your dog will have, to what their energy levels are like.
If you choose an extremely active dog and you have a fairly sedentary lifestyle then this is only going to lead to challenges. Think of dogs like spouses— you need to make sure you’re compatible if you want a healthy and loving relationship where everyone is fulfilled.
A consistent routine is a must for helping your dog feel secure and safe. Dogs thrive on routine, which is why you must keep a schedule. Help your dogs predict when the next time they’ll get fed is, and when they can expect to go for a walk. Consistency is especially critical during the beginning stages of bringing them home. In order for them to adjust, you must provide consistency to help build trust and reinforce good behavior.
It’s important that you expose your dogs to social environments early on. Dogs are naturally social creatures— as long as you teach them to be when they’re puppies. Socialization is critical to avoid issues later down the road like aggression or fearfulness. Make sure that you lay out the ground rules for socialization right away. In other words, don’t tolerate biting, jumping, or not coming when you call them. (This is where treats come in handy!)
Provide Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is a fundamental part of being a dog parent. Consult with your veterinarian to decide what the best brand and type of food for your dog is. The best kind of food for your dog will vary depending on factors like their age, and activity level.
Remember, the earlier in a dog’s life they receive proper nutrition, the more they’ll benefit from it for years to come. The early stages of their life are when they’re developing their muscles and bones, so well rounded nutrition is a must!