Sharing your life with a dog is an exciting and rewarding journey. There’s nothing quite like the bond between human and canine: unconditional love, special memories, and a lifelong friendship. For first-time dog owners, there are a lot of unknowns – and maybe a little anxiety — that come with this relationship. Here are a few guidelines:
- Stock up on the essentials – It’s perfectly okay to raid the pet store and stock up on a variety of doggy essentials! Your dog will need basic things like food and water bowls, a doggy bed, and a collar and leash, but he’ll also love to get his paws on a neat toy or two, too! Tennis balls, a Frisbee, and a Kong or chew toys are a good place to start, until you figure out what your dog prefers. If you’ve adopted through Get Your Pet and live near a Pet Valu store, you can take advantage of money-saving coupons valuable to Pet Valu in-store shoppers.
- Training is important – Training takes time and patience, but it’s easier to prevent a bad habit from forming than to break one. If the idea of training your dog yourself seems overwhelming, there are plenty of options for professional training. Puppy classes, basic obedience classes, or even one-on-one behavioral lessons with a professional dog trainer are all great ways to go. Find out which is right for you and your pup in this blog about obedience training. It’s worth looking into, especially for first time dog owners.
- The vet is your friend – Part of being a responsible pet owner is being proactive and in tune with your pet’s medical needs. You’ll need to keep track of things like vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, and any other medical issues that may arise over time. You’ll want to get familiar with what’s “normal” for your dog and pay close attention to any changes in energy level or weight, injuries, or other physical changes.
- Pet insurance is a good idea – We believe pet insurance is a great idea for any Guardian. All adoptions through Get Your Pet come with a certificate for 30 days of pet insurance from Trupanion (offer varies in CA). Depending on your needs and means, there are options for pet insurance that can cover veterinary costs for illness or accidents, death, or even theft. It’s a good idea to do some research to find out what’s right for you and your dog.
- Exercise is key – Beyond the basics, dogs need plenty of exercise in order to stay healthy and happy. Do not underestimate how important this is! Make time in your schedule for regular exercise, whether that be a daily walk, a game of fetch in the backyard, or some other stimulating activity that will help your dog release his energy in a healthy way. Not only does it keep your dog active and healthy, it can help to prevent destructive behavior at home.
- Discipline isn’t a bad thing – It’s important to set boundaries and make the rules clear. Being a doggy parent may require you to stand your ground and enforce the rules just like you would with a child. It’s normal for puppies to test your resolve and see what they can get away with. Don’t be afraid to be firm – dogs are pack animals, and often look to a leader to take charge and set boundaries. Establishing this dynamic is crucial in a dog’s younger years, and will benefit the relationship for years to come
- Don’t forget to check out more about our adoption package and what it includes, here.