As with any new parent the first step is to prepare your home for your furry new arrival. Here are a few tips I picked up along the way that a new doggie parent might find useful.
1. Rules are not made to be broken -
If you have children establish the rules with them before you bring puppy home. Will the dog be allowed on their bed, the dos and don'ts of feeding, etc. It’s also a good idea to figure out what rules you want to establish with the dog himself. The key to a well behaved dog is consistency, so be sure everyone is on the same page as far as rules go.
2. Don’t forget the essentials -
There are lots of extras out there for our furry friends but you want to make sure you have the essential supplies to start with. These essentials include: food and water bowls, safe chew toys, a collar and leash, an identification tag, grooming supplies, dog beds, and crate – if you plan on crate training you'll want to start from day one.
3. Prepare to adjust
Most dogs need time to adjust to their new surroundings be patient. Even older dogs may shy away from you at first, have an accident, and even get an upset tummy. If you’re bringing home a puppy, understand this will be just like bringing home a new baby. You’ll be up several times a night for potty breaks, battling teething, dealing with scared whines and wiping up poop! Just remember it’s all worth the love and joy a dog can bring into the home, as long as you understand what you're committing to.
When possible try and stick to the brand of food fed by previous owner, shelter or foster home. If you must switch make the change gradually by mixing the old food with new. Changing a dog's food abruptly can cause diarrhea, sometimes for several weeks.
5. Puppy Proof
Just like children, puppies can get into just about anything and will swallow just about anything! Keep electrical cords and plants out of reach and never leave a puppy unattended. I tell my kids all the time if the dog was able to get to it, to chew it, YOU should have picked it up.
Puppies can bring a lot of joy, but also require a lot of work and careful consideration. Remember if you like to travel or are away often you can just leave a dog behind. They are truly part of the family. It’s also good idea to establish a safe place to leave you pet if you want to go away before committing to ownership.
I almost forgot the most important thing! Find a vet your comfortable with. Your puppy will need a few visit within that first year and you want a vet lined up.
Do you have any tips for first time dog owners?
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