First-Time Dog Owner Tips:
Like a lot of people, I jumped into dog ownership a little too soon. I thought I was ready. It was a bumpy ride, but I learned a lot! These are some of the most important tips for first time dog owners that I discovered in the first year of dog ownership. I had saved up, researched dog training, and had a shortlist of names for my new friend. When I got my dog, I was amazed at how much I didn’t know.
Dogs Get Anxious Too
The week after I adopted my dog, I was in a panic. She was anxious, destructive, and trying to run away every chance she got. Her personality was so much different than it seemed in the shelter, I actually thought about returning her. I’m so glad I didn’t! Over time, she calmed down and opened up. Today, she’s a mellow, cuddly dog that’s full of personality. Now I realize that getting adopted was a big change and my dog was simply anxious. It’s common for anxiety to cause behavioral problems or sickness in dogs immediately after adoption, so if it happens to you, don’t worry! Dogtime explains what you can do to help.
Having a Dog Costs More Than You Think
It’s easy to budget for the everyday expenses of having a dog, such as food, treats, and check-ups at the vet. However, I wasn’t prepared for my dog tearing apart the couch the first day I left her alone or getting sick after eating something strange. Unexpected expenses add a lot to the cost of pet ownership and the first time dog owners are unprepared for it. I’m lucky I’ve always been able to afford my dog’s emergencies, but it taught me to always keep a pet emergency fund just in case.
Dogs are Messy
It’s not just the fur everywhere — it’s the dirty paws tracking in who-knows-what, the smell after your dog rolls in something weird, the puddle around the water bowl. Dogs make messes constantly! At first, I made the mistake of not buying cleaning products before messes happened. Now I know messes are inevitable, so I keep cleaning supplies in stock. That way, I’m not looking up the best way to clean urine odor out of the carpet in the middle of the night!
Personality Is Super Important
I’m lucky that my dog is as lazy as I am. She likes to go on walks, hikes, and run alongside my bike, but she also likes to sleep in and spend hours napping in sunbeams. When I spend time with dogs more high-energy than mine, I’m amazed at how much work it is to keep them entertained! It’s great for a person who’s super active, but I can’t keep up with high-energy breeds. Before you choose a dog, a potential first time dog owner should make sure its breed matches your own lifestyle. Canine Journal names some high- and low-energy breeds to help you out.
Always Hide the Trash Can
I can’t tell you how many times my dog got into the trash before I finally put every trash can in the house behind closed doors — that includes trash cans with lids! Dogs digging through the trash isn’t just frustrating, it’s also dangerous. If your dog eats something he can’t digest, it could lead to an intestinal obstruction that’s potentially fatal. I’m lucky that never happened to us, but now I always keep trash in a closet or cabinet.
Getting a Dog is Like Adopting a Best Friend
Seriously — having a dog is the best. Yes, even with the mess, and the expense, and the new couch. It’s all worth it to have a canine pal that’s always up for an adventure (or at least ready to entertain you by doing something goofy). As long as you’re prepared for the responsibility of dog ownership (and it’s a big one!), adopting your first dog is a great choice.
Every potential first time dog owner must do their own research to understand the challenges that they may potentially face and assess if they are ready for it. I hope this article helps them partially in part to understand better.
Credit: Photo by Valerie Elash on Unsplash