Tips for New Dog Owners

Rachel Rasmussen

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Congratulations! You just adopted your first dog and now you’re sitting at home with possibly very little idea of how to properly take care of it. If your family previously owned a dog, most likely your parents did the majority of taking care of the dog. But now it is all up to you. Luckily, here are some tips on taking care of the new member of your family.

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PREPARE ALL YOUR SUPPLIES

  • Make sure to have all the proper supplies for your new dog. This includes a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, toys, and make sure you order an identification tag right away.
  • It is also a good idea to get your dog a crate. It may make the training easier and give your dog a place of their own in your house. Make sure the crate is big enough so your dog can stand up, turn around, and sit in a normal position.

HAVE A SET OF HOUSE RULES

  • You shouldn’t wing the rules for your new dog. It’s chaotic for them, for you, and for any roommates you have. Deciding on house rules before you get the dog makes the transition process easier for everyone.
  • Some rules to think about are, who is going to walk the dog (dogs require exercise so make sure to walk or take them outside to play often), who is going to feed it and when, where the dog is going to sleep, if there are any rooms you want off-limits, is the dog allowed on beds and furniture, etc.

DO SOME RESEARCH

  • Figure out what vaccines you need for a dog. From there, find out from wherever you are adopting from what kinds of vaccines they give their dogs, if they give any at all. Also find out if they spay or neuter their dogs.
  • After that, schedule times for you to take your dog to a vet to get the proper vaccines and to get spayed or neutered.

PREPARE FOR HOUSE TRAINING

  • It’s best to assume your dog isn’t house trained and then go from there.
  • There are many ways to properly house train a dog, but just make sure you have structure to your training. Be consistent with your training and maintain a routine in your day-to-day life.
  • The more time spent on training daily, the better the outcome.

HOUSE TRAINING YOUR DOG

  • Make sure your dog knows you are the boss from day one.
  • Use a loud, disapproving voice when you catch your dog doing something you don’t want them doing.
  • Keep your cool while training. It takes time to train a dog and requires a lot of patience.
  • Reward and praise them every time they do well.
  • Figure out what motivates your dog to behave: treats, toys, praise or attention, etc.
  • Consider signing up for obedience classes to help with the training.

Remember that this is a huge adjustment for your dog too. Give them time to figure out their new environment and be patient with the entire process. In the end, you will be rewarded with a loyal companion that loves you unconditionally.