Dogs are some of the most amazing animals known to man, and it’s no surprise they’re also among the most popular pets on the planet, with tens of millions of dog owners in the US alone and countless more in other countries worldwide.
Our canine companions can bring a lot of joy into our lives, giving truth to the classic phrase “A dog is a man’s best friend,” and they really do brighten up our days, with some studies even suggesting that dog ownership can reduce stress and extend life expectancy.
With so many wonderful reasons to bring a dog home to your family, you might be ready to take the plunge and find a pup from a breeder or visit a local shelter. Still, it’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared, ready to deal with any eventuality.
Dogs can be a lot of fun, but they can be hard work too, and every dog is different, with its own personality and character, so you can’t just assume that everything will go smoothly. To help out, here are some useful tips to ensure your new dog gets settled in quickly.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SOCIALIZATION AND TRAINING
This tip is especially relevant if you’ve chosen to get a puppy from a breeder and want to raise it correctly, but it’s also important to keep in mind if you’ve bought an older dog or adopted a rescue dog too; you need to make sure you assume your responsibilities when it comes to training and socializing your new pet.
Dogs lacking in socialization can get very scared if they go out for a walk and see another dog nearby or even bite a stranger that comes to your door. Similarly, those lacking in training may not understand the rules of the home or obey your commands, which can lead to all kinds of issues, so be sure to sign up for some local classes or take training into your own hands if you’re able.
BUY ALL THE ESSENTIALS IN ADVANCE
One of the most important things to do before you even bring your new friend home is to visit a pet store or head online and order all the things you need. If you’re unsure where to start, check out some new dog checklists that cover all the essential items you need to buy.
Typically, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got food and water bowls for your pet, some dry and wet food to feed it, a leash and collar to keep it safe, a bed where it can feel safe and cozy upon arrival, and potentially a carrier, as well as a few toys.
BE READY FOR PROBLEMS
A common mistake that many first-time dog owners often make is to simply assume that their dog will be perfectly behaved upon arrival, ready to dive right into the family home and form unbreakable bonds with every member of the family. While this scene might sometimes occur in movies or TV, it’s not always the case in real life.
As stated earlier, every dog is unique. They have their own character traits and personalities, and it can take time for them to settle into new homes. They might be a little shy or scared at first, or they could have some accidents before they settle in. Be ready for this, acknowledge that the process might have a few little bumps in the road, but stick with it, and you’ll be rewarded in the end.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Statistics show that there are 70 million homeless dogs in the US today. In many cases, a lot of those dogs were initially adopted or purchased by people who planned to keep them forever, but ended up getting rid of them because they later realized they just weren’t willing or able to keep up with all the responsibilities that come along with dog ownership, or perhaps they just hadn’t prepared properly.
This is why it’s important to do your research and take this decision seriously. Dogs are living, breathing, feeling beings that shouldn’t be treated as toys or novelties. Doing your research beforehand will help you find out which breeds are suited to your lifestyle, as well as learning more about what you’ll have to do and finding local vets that can help out too.
Dog ownership can be wonderfully rewarding, but it’s vital to understand that it’s also a big responsibility too! Ensure you’re prepared by following these top tips to help your new canine companion have the best chance of becoming part of the family pack.