Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of dog ownership is the day you bring home that new dog! I myself just brought home a floppy little guy a few weeks ago (pictured below). If you have brought home a new dog, you have experienced the range of emotions that come from bringing a puppy or rescue home. It can seem overwhelming to think about the responsibility of caring for a new dog. You may wonder what to do the moment your dog walks into your house and pees on your favorite rug. If you are feeling that way, this blog is perfect for you.
By no means do I claim to be a dog whisperer or trainer, but through my personal experience, I feel I can offer some useful insight.
One of the most important aspects of dog ownership is having the right tools for the job. Some of these basic items to get you started include: leash, collar, tag, kennel, poop bags, water and food bowls, and of course, food. Another thing that has been extremely helpful for myself and my new puppy Harvey, is to have plenty of toys at your disposal (this helps dogs through the chewing phase). Kong makes a great line of chewy toys for all sorts of dog types. Along with that, these first few weeks I have really enjoyed using a dog carrier. It’s a great tool to use when going to and from places and keeping your dog away from things they shouldn't be in. Also, it is especially good for socializing young dogs who don’t have all their shots yet. You can find many free helpful tools out there to help you have the right start with your pup. Google and Youtube are a great place to start if you find yourself needing help with certain behaviors the first few days.
It can seem daunting to picture yourself picking dog poop up off of your floor for the next 10-20 years. If you are feeling “pooped” out, don't worry! A simple action to alleviate stress is coming up with a game plan. Picture your dog at age 5 and write down a few simple things you would love to see happen with your dog. It could be anything from learning how to play fetch to walking off-leash or maybe competing in doggy competitions! By doing this, it will bring hope that you can have an amazing experience with your dog. Whatever your game plan may be, remember that long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.
As the pee puddles settle early on, you may be feeling happy and exhausted. I remember thinking after day one, what have I gotten myself into?? Being a single person, all the responsibility of caring for this dog falls on me. Focusing on keeping it simple with your puppy with help you with the basics. Help your pup learn his or her name, learn how to sit, and how to go potty outside. Be patient and loving with your dog. Whatever the situation was before, it was different and therefore most things will be new. Help them learn that everything good comes from you (Treats and praise help dogs learn this quickly). The simple things will go a long way with your pup!
If you aren’t having fun then you are definitely doing something wrong! A dog's life is already too short to not be enjoying every single moment together. If you have a puppy, enjoy the puppy breath and cuddles for as long as you can. The world is becoming more and more dog friendly every day which means you can spend more time with your pup. The more you involve your dog in your life the happier both of you will be!
I hope these tips are helpful as you navigate the journey of being a new dog parent!