Overcoming Challenges: A First Time Puppy Owner Guide
Puppies can be a lot like babies. They can’t be left alone, they can’t feed themselves, and they need support when it comes to growing up. When it comes to raising a pup, there are a few key details you need to know before making the commitment. Check out the first time puppy owner tips below to help you on your journey of first time puppy parenting.
Tips to Consider When Adopting a Puppy for The First Time
Food: Choosing a pet food at any stage of a dog’s life can take some time, especially as a first-time dog owner. Making the right choice based on your pup's needs is key. But you don’t have to go it alone! Reaching out to the professionals is the best option. Work with your shelter and/or vet to decide the right diet for your dog.
- Housebreaking: Like babies, pups need to learn when and where to go, and this process takes time. There will be accidents, but the more time and patience you have with your pup in their early years, the quicker they will learn and respect the inside of your home. Make sure you are home to let them out or train them early with puppy pads. Repetition is key when it comes to training. The more consistent you are, the quicker they will catch on!
- Toys and More: Puppies love to chew. On everything. So, with that in mind, it’s important to prepare (or "puppy proof") your home. Move anything you don’t want to get chewed up and provide your pup with several options of toys, so they won’t go looking for your shoes. Move plants off the floor and consider blocking off sections of your home with doors or dividers to keep them in a small area until they begin to learn positive behaviors. You can also consider crate training to ensure your home stays in one piece while they learn how to behave.
- Healthcare: Just like humans, pups need a lot of checkups to ensure they are healthy. This is another cost to consider when determining if adopting a pup is right for you. They will need several shots in the first few years, plus annual checkups. And remember, just like humans, things happen. Puppies are rambunctious! Be sure to account for illnesses and accidents when it comes to budgeting for your pet. If this type of cost is something you can’t afford, it might not be the right time to adopt.
- Socialization: While children naturally learn to socialize in daycare and educational settings, it’s important to do the same with your new pup. Trips to the dog park, meeting with doggy/human friends, and doggy daycare are all ways to ensure your pooch knows how to positively interact with others. If your pup’s behavior isn’t progressing in a positive way, reach out to a training specialist. There are a lot of qualified people out there who can help your dog become a socializing champ!
- Exercise: Dogs have a lot of energy, and that means puppies have 10 times more. It’s important to either take time to walk/play with your dog and or provide them a space where they can run and play. More playtime to release their energy means less time chewing on your personal belongings.
Gentle Reminders for First Time Puppy Owners
Maybe you are in the first few months with a new puppy, or maybe you are considering adopting for the first time. In either case, it’s important to be realistic when it comes to taking care of a puppy. Check out the list below for some gentle reminders when it comes to all things puppy.
- Set Realistic Expectations: When our friends get a new puppy, we see all the cute pictures on social media. We want to squeeze their faces and give them kisses! However, there is a lot more to the picture that is not being shown: the accidents on the carpet, the ripped-up papers, and the chewed-up shoes (and maybe you do occasionally see those pictures). But it's important to remember that all these behaviors are normal for a growing pup. With the cute pictures also comes a lot of responsibility and work.
- Patience is a Virtue: Puppies and humans can’t speak to each other. Therefore, routine and repetition are the only ways to get your point across to create positive behaviors and foster healthy relationships. It’s easy to get frustrated with a puppy who keeps pooping in the house, but they only know what they know. It’s okay to feel angry, but training a puppy takes time. The more patience you have and the more time you spend with your pup, the quicker they will begin to learn what they should and should not do.
- When in Doubt, Reach Out: Just as future parents read all the baby books and take classes, pup parents can do the same! There is limitless information on the web, on top of well-trained vets and doggy daycares that can help you with prepping your home and training your furry friend. Read the books, check out puppy blogs, and contact trained professionals in your area. Just like parenting kids, it takes a village with pups, too!
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