Getting A Puppy: 9 Things To Consider
Getting a puppy can seem like an overwhelming and outright daunting task. However, there is no reason you need to face it unprepared or alone. Here are some tips every new owner should know before they get started.
Set realistic goals
While this may seem like an obvious first step, it’s important to understand the limitations of both you and your new dog. Training takes time, repetition, and above all else patience. Understand training is a process, one that is unique to every dog and every family.
A common mistake for new and old dog owners alike is failing to practice what they’re learning outside of full training sessions. You only need to spend a few minutes out of every day practicing basic commands with your pup. This is important to show them that these new manners and habits are expected around the clock, not just during training time. You can do these little drills before or after playtime, or even dinner time.
Make it fun! (For you and your dog)
Dogs learn when they’re stimulated and there’s no better way to stimulate them than play. Reward your pets with praise or treats for a job well done and try to maintain a fun and high-energy environment during your training. If your dog sees how pleased you are with each new success, it’ll begin to associate the commands with fun. It’s a crucial step in not only training but bonding with your canine.
Get your household on the same page
While everyone in your family isn’t required to join in on the training, it is important that they understand the rules you wish to imprint on your dog. Before you begin your training, meet with your family or roommates to explain your rules and expectations for your dog such as not letting them into certain rooms of the home, whether they’re allowed on the furniture, or how many treats they’re allowed to have.
Consider using marker words
A marker word is something trainers use to let the dog know when they’ve done the right thing. They’re short and simple like “yes” or “good boy!” Over time, they’ll condition the dog to know what’s right based on the response. It’s important to stick with your marker word once you have chosen it, this will encourage your pup to learn it faster. Alternatively, you may use a clicker instead of a word.
Remember that they won’t be little forever
A common mistake for dog owners is allowing their puppy to get away with certain habits due to their size or cuteness factor. While jumping on you may be endearing now, it could be quite the hassle at their full size to you and any company. Try to consider everything your puppy does and ask yourself if you’d still enjoy it when they’re fully grown. Even something as simple as crawling in your lap could be quite an issue if they grow into a medium or large breed.
Learn the Basics of Body Language
Dogs have their own language and every dog has their own personality. Try to learn the basics of dog language like when they’re stressed, playful, happy, or scared. This can be invaluable when bonding with your pup and during your training. The faster you understand them, the faster they’ll understand you.
Don’t forget to puppy proof
Before you bring your companion home, look around. Think about what’s on their level that they could chew on, crawl into, or eat. Think about where they could go if left unsupervised and what trouble might be waiting there. Finally, inspect your yard diligently, make sure there are no crawl spaces under your home or a broken part of the fence that they could access. Dogs are clever, and they love to explore so keep that in mind when proofing your house.
Lastly, don’t be scared to ask for help
You might be starting to gather that raising a new puppy can be a daunting task, luckily there are plenty of resources and experts out there for you. Don’t hesitate to call or visit your veterinarian, the staff of Andes-Starley is here for you and your new friend. They can assist you with everything from routine check-ups to grooming, as well as provide you with an online community with tons of helpful information.
Owning a puppy is a worthwhile endeavor and a friendship you can always rely on no matter the situation. Hopefully, these tips have helped you prepare for the wonderful journey you and your new furry companion are about to embark on.