If you’re thinking about getting a dog for the first time, you need to consider the decision very carefully. It is not a decision that is easy to undo. Make sure you consider the responsibilities you will be taking on before you get your new dog.
If you have been thinking about getting a dog for the first time, you can easily be swayed into making a decision. When you see a well-behaved dog being walked down the street, it is easy to fall for the myth.
The myth is that all dogs are well-behaved and looking after them has to be easy. Especially if this will be your first dog, they do not come as perfect little dogs, straight out of the box!
On this page
- Responsibilities to Consider Before Getting a Dog For The First Time
- Dog Training
- Dog Health
- Still Unsure About Getting a Dog For The First Time?
- What Will Happen To Your Dog When You’re Gone?
- Final Considerations About Your First Dog
Responsibilities to Consider Before Getting a Dog For The First Time
It’s natural that you would love having a dog. Dogs have been great pets for thousands of years. You may love the idea of getting your first dog, but you have to remember that you are also taking on some responsibility when you bring a new dog into your house. Here are some ways you can handle those responsibilities.
Dogs Need Attention
Dogs need more attention than you probably expect. Many people have busy lives and even go to work all day, leaving their dog home alone. Many dogs do not like being left alone. It is often not easy to know this until you have left your dog alone. Often with unfortunate consequences.
When you are around, always give your dog plenty of attention and affection. Don’t spend all your free time watching TV and ignoring your dog. When your dog behaves properly, make sure you let the dog know you are happy and give them some affection.
This will help reinforce the good behaviour and the dog will try to behave in this manner for positive attention.
Also, consider your dog or puppy’s first few weeks with you. It is not a case of bringing a dog home and then going to work the next day leaving it home alone.
Dogs Chew. Who Knew?
Yes, it can surprise some people but your dog may chew. They may not chew everything but maybe a specific material. My dog chews plastic. Nothing else. But clothes pegs have a very short lifespan in our house.
If your young dog is teething and gnawing at everything, buy him a fun chew toy and keep it in the fridge. Not only does this provide him with a good alternative to your furniture, but the cold will help to make his gums feel better. Most younger dogs gnaw out of necessity, not poor manners.
Dogs can chew out of boredom. So keep them supplied with chew toys and buy them the occasional chew treat.
Child Safety Around Dogs
Any dog can snap at, or even bite, any child. Never allow your dog to be alone with small children, no matter how much you trust his temperament. Many little kids have been attacked by family dogs who have otherwise never demonstrated a tendency towards violence. Sleeping dogs may be woken by a toddler and react negatively or some other offence is committed against the animal that sets him off.
If you rehome a dog from a dogs home, check how they are with children if you ever have any visitors. If they say the dog can’t be with children under 10 for example, then don’t risk it. They know more about the dogs’ history than you do. Even if you have set your heart on that specific dog from the dogs home, there will be others.
Even if your dog has perfect manners when they arrive, most new dogs need some form of training. They need to get used to you and your behaviours. You may need to do a little dog training. Or a lot!
Train Your Dog or Get a Professional Trainer?
Not everyone is good at training dogs, so quit trying if you see things are not going as well as planned. Instead of beating yourself up about it, get in touch with a trainer in your area.
Take it from me, if the training is not going well you will get stressed and cross. Then you will have more luck training your bath mat. Since dog trainers have more experience with dogs, it may be much easier for them to train yours.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog. You should congratulate your dog when it displays good behaviour, for instance by giving it a treat or petting it. Talk to your dog in a soft voice and make sure you praise it every time the good behaviour is displayed.
If you are getting a dog for the first time, you may not realise how much you have to consider your dogs’ health and grooming.
You Need to Groom Your New Dog
Consider how much you are willing or able to groom a dog. Then find a suitable breed of dog. Do you need a hypoallergenic dog? Then consider a poodle or some type of terrier. Most dogs need some form of grooming.
Groom for about five minutes and then stop and move on to another activity. Eventually, start adding two or three minutes to your total grooming time until your pet is able to handle a full session.
Dog Breed-Specific Health or Weight Problems
Some dogs are more likely to suffer from health problems and so you should know what to look out for in your dog. Take the time to read up on your breed so that you don’t get any surprises down the road. You should inquire with your vet about how you can care for your dog the right way.
Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Plenty of dogs are overweight, and just like humans, this can lead to health issues. People tend to overfeed their dogs, and many also feed them table scraps. Some breeds of dogs are prone to putting on weight so be aware of this.
A dog doesn’t need as many calories as most people think; talk to your vet about how much you should feed him each day, and what food is most suitable. A vet will advise you based on his size, age and lifestyle.
Help Your Doggy Dentist
Keep your dog’s teeth in tip-top condition. Just like humans, a dog can suffer from toothache, gum disease and even tooth loss. Regular brushing will ensure that his teeth and gums stay healthy and strong. Without regular brushing, it is estimated that dental disease will affect up to 80% of dogs by the age of three. As well as dental cleaning by a vet, make sure that you brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
Your dog needs healthy teeth and you should brush them regularly. This helps to prevent dental problems and gum disease but also prevents other illnesses. Infections in the mouth can spread to other areas of the dog’s body, like the kidneys and the heart. Pet stores sell special toothpaste for dogs. Brushing your dogs’ teeth is a fun activity that you can both enjoy. Or not.
Still Unsure About Getting a Dog For The First Time?
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, but aren’t sure you want to make the commitment, try serving as a foster home. Shelters for abused or homeless dogs are often looking for temporary homes, called foster homes, where dogs can live until they are adopted by a permanent home.
You can give one a home for a while to help the cause and you can also keep the dog if you like it!
What Will Happen To Your Dog When You’re Gone?
Don’t forget about your dog when writing your will. Many pets end up being fought over or neglected completely because specific instructions were not given regarding their care. Include a clause that clearly directs your loved ones on what to do with your dog so that he’s well taken care of. There are charities that will care for your dog in the event of your death too.
Final Considerations About Your First Dog
Having a dog isn’t all fun and games. You have to give yourself some time to really think about what you’re doing, and to act accordingly. There is a lot involved in caring for a dog. But it is very worthwhile when you look at your happy dog.
You can use the tips here to help you to know what you need to consider. You can always have a happy dog if you take the time to give it a little thought first.
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