As you’re bound to become a fur parent soon, we bet that you’re now looking for tips for first-time puppy owners to ensure that you will do everything right and you are properly guided before taking the parenting plunge.
It’s a serious commitment
Dogs live up to an average of 13 years. That’s more than a decade of your life. Are you really sure you’re ready to make that commitment? It’s kind of like raising a baby who can barely stand up, then after a few years turns into a toddler who brings chaos around the house. Here’s the clincher: dogs grow old, but never really grow up.
Owning a pet dog would have to be one of the best things a person can experience in their lifetime. But pretty much like child-rearing, raising dogs is a life-long commitment that owners must be a hundred percent prepared for in every aspect. Here’s everything you need to know before welcoming a new pup into your home.
1. Find the right breed
Your would-be dog’s breed matters if you want to nurture a harmonious relationship with them. It boils down to what kind of dog you want and need — a big, cuddly one; or a pup small enough to fit into your purse? Do you prefer a dog that has a short coat over one that has a long coat? A guard dog, or a hunting dog? If you have special needs, an emotional support or service dog can help make life a whole lot easier for you.
Consider also the size of your home, and whether you live alone or with companions. Are you or some people at home allergic to pet dander? Make sure that everyone is on the same page with regard to having a new pup, and all needs of the entire household are addressed.
2. Prepare your resources ahead of time.
For a hassle-free first-time-parenting experience, we recommend preparing all of your pup’s essentials in advance. Better have them now than go to the store at the very last minute when you finally need the items. These include their toiletries, vitamins, toys, treats, outdoor gear, clothing, and accessories — we know you’re excited for those twinning moments with your new dog!
3. Secure their medical and grooming needs.
Proper care is crucial for puppies during their first few months of life. Check for the nearest pet healthcare provider and groomer in your area as well as the services they offer. Don’t forget to get their contact details — keep these handy for when the need arises.
Puppies should receive their core shots for canine parvovirus, rabies, canine hepatitis, and canine distemper. It’s important to stick to your pup’s vaccination schedule to ensure that they are protected from organisms that can make them seriously ill. However, a new dog given to you may already have received their first round of shots, so keep in mind to ask for their vaccination record if that will be the case.
4. Prep your yard!
Puppies are cute (fur)balls of energy that don’t seem to know what rest is. They’re always excited and constantly need activities to spend their boundless energy on. So included in this list of new dog owner tips is transforming your yard or back garden to a spacious play area for your pup. You may mount DIY obstacles, create mini-game stations, or anything else your dog might like doing. Lucky you if you have an outdoor swimming pool!
Aside from exercising, playtime is a good opportunity to teach them obedience to basic commands such as “sit”, “stand”, and “jump”. It is also through training that you can find out what unique tricks they can do, or any quirky behavior they might have.
Yard activities are a great alternative to the usual park trips and playground exercise (though these are good as well). Prep your yard well — your pup will soon thank you for it!
5. Give them a space of their own.
Much like prepping your yard for daily play and exercise, you should also set aside a spot in your home where your pup can stay, rest, and sleep. Crates are a good option during the early days, but dog cushions will also be great as they’re growing up. Furthermore, confining your pup in a crate or exercise pen in the first few weeks helps contain them (and the mess) as they’re not yet house- and potty-trained. Place potty pads inside the crate or confinement area to help keep it clean and sanitary. Be ready for a lot of “accidents”!
6. Sign up for puppy socialization classes.
Dogs need a healthy social life as early as a few months old! Puppy socialization classes will help them interact with other young dogs, gain sensory experiences, and be comfortable with sharing space. But it’s important to note that socialization must be introduced slowly so your pup won’t get overwhelmed or worse, traumatized.
Plus it’s an opportunity for you to rub elbows with other dog owners! Depending on the current restrictions in your area, you may sign up for in-person classes or attend a virtual one. Ideally, though, all puppies participating in the classes have updated vaccinations to lower the risk of disease spread.
7. Create a routine and stick to it.
Change is exciting and uncomfortable at the same time, and owners bear the responsibility of making the transition easier for new pups.
To help them adjust, establish a daily routine you both can follow. For example, take them for a quick walk after breakfast, then allow them to stay for a bit in their resting spot. If you will be out for the whole day, safely leave them behind with some treats until a trusted caretaker arrives. Take them for another walk or playtime in the yard when you come home, give dinner, then lounge around in the living room. A routine will help your pup get accustomed to their new environment, and lessen their anxiety brought about by changes.
Adjustments take time.
…and lots and lots of patience.
So those are our tips for first-time puppy owners! Being a fur parent is not a walk in the park (pun intended). Your new puppies will rely on you for everything even as they grow older, so you should really be in it for the long run. You must be willing to spend most of your time taking care of them and providing for their needs.
Now follow our suggestions above and proceed to puppy-proofing your home, stat! We hope you love every minute of your new journey as fur moms/dads!