First Time Dog Owner
So you’ve taken the plunge into unconditional love and loyal companionship and decided to become a first time dog owner – congratulations! There are few things in life that offer as much joy as owning a dog! With all the excitement that comes with having a new fur pal, there is also the commitment of time, energy, and money.
To make this a momentous experience for everyone, you want to do your research before bringing home your new canine companion. Which breed of dog is best for you? Should you get a puppy or a rescue? And what exactly should you expect in this new relationship? Grab a pen and paper – we have all the answers you need to become a first time dog owner!
Choosing the right breed
If you have never owned a dog before, there are many things to consider when choosing which dog breed is right for you. The most important thing to consider? Your lifestyle! Dogs are great companions because they become an integral part of your life and family. Just like humans, some dogs are content lying around all day, while others like (and need!) lots of exercise and movement. So first, evaluate your own lifestyle and then take a look at this list to see which dog breed matches your personality and lifestyle the best.
- Outdoor Enthusiast: If exploring the wilderness and long nature walks are your thing, then there are several dog breeds that will perfectly complement your energy! Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers make great canine companions for outdoor enthusiasts with their innate high energy and desire to move. However, if you have them as a puppy, just remember to limit their exercise to five minutes for every month of age for less impact on their developing joints! The “working dog” breeds like to do just that – work! – so be sure you have the time to commit to their lifestyle, too!
- Lazy Loungers: You yourself may not be a lazy person, but you may work a lot. If your evenings and weekends are dedicated to relaxing and resting from the busyness of work, you will want to consider a dog breed that can appreciate the same! Dachshunds, Pugs, and King Charles Spaniels are just a few breeds that love a lounging lifestyle. All dogs need mental and physical stimulation but these breeds do not require a ton of exercise and can happily keep your spot on the couch warm until you get home!
- Hypoallergenic: If you long to own a dog but suffer from pet allergies, fear not! – there are still several dog breeds to consider! There is no one dog breed that we can guarantee as completely safe for people with allergies. However, many breeds don’t shed as much or have as much dander so it’s easier for mild allergy sufferers to handle. Dog breeds such as Maltese, Lhasa Apso, and Poodles are great options as they are all relatively low-shedders. Always consult with your doctor first before getting a dog to make sure you are not putting your own health at risk.
- The Family Pet: Have the kids been begging you to get a dog? When deciding on a canine companion for the family, it’s important to consider the lifestyle of the family as a whole, rather than just yourself! There are many dog breeds that are kid friendly, but some will do better when it comes to the playful energies of our children! Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Sheepdogs all make excellent family dogs as they are gentle in nature and easy to train. These dog breeds have a perfect balance of energy and cuddle requirements that make them ideal companions for every member of the family!
Expectations of first time dog owners
Understanding the expectations of dog ownership is crucial in your decision making process and can also vary depending on where you decide to get your dog from. Are you adopting a rescue dog from the shelter? Or have you fallen in love with a puppy from a breeder? As a first time dog owner, you undoubtedly want to make sure your new canine companion loves your home as much as you do! Here are some things to expect when bringing home your new dog:
Shelters across the country are filled with sweet, soul-loving dogs that are ready and willing to become your new best friend! It’s important to remember that many of these dogs may have had a rough start to life. So, while still loyal in nature, some rescue dogs may be hesitant at first homecoming to relax into a routine straight away.
The first few weeks at home with rescue dogs will be the “get to know each other” phase where they are understanding you and vice versa. You will want to spend lots of time together in these first few weeks to establish a foundation of trust. Adjust your schedule so you can fit in devoted time for training and playing alike. Dogs, like many people, are creatures of habit! The more you can establish a consistent schedule initially, the quicker your bond with your new dog will strengthen.
Unlike adult rescue dogs, puppies do not have much of a past history! These adorable pint-sized pals are learning everything all at once, which will include the rules of the house. Like adopted dogs who may be older, puppies need a lot of extra attention in the initial months of coming home. In addition to moving your schedule around to spend more quality time together, puppies also require focus on potty training, crate training, and social interactions.
Tips for success
Stepping into the role of “first time dog owner” can feel overwhelming and like a huge undertaking if you are not prepared. Fortunately, we have compiled this list of successful tips that will help you both adjust easily!
Dog’s Domain: Dogs are denning animals and like to retreat for sleep and a sense of comfort. So before the pitter patter of puppy (or adult!) paws hit your floor, be sure you have selected a certain place in your home that is just theirs.
Vet Visit: Even if the breeder or shelter provides you with past medical records of your new dog, you want to go ahead and establish a relationship with your dog’s doctor. Just like humans have doctor check-ups, our four-legged friends need medical care, too. In fact, most vets will accept appointments prior to becoming a pet parent so you can ask any questions about breed, care, and overall responsibility.
Consistency is Key: Dogs love routines! So establish early on a schedule for walks, playtime, and feeding. You also want to be consistent in your commands and rewards when teaching new behaviors – adults and puppies alike! Yes, even old dogs can learn new tricks!
Exercise Everyday: Walk, walk, walk! Dogs are not meant to be indoors all day, every day! All dogs, big and small, enjoy a nice walk and this is a great way to familiarize your new best friend with the neighborhood. Walking is also a great bonding experience for you and your dog to enjoy some quality time together!
Basic Dog Supplies
As a first time dog owner, you may be tempted to buy ALL the dog toys, accessories, and gadgets on the market! But remember, most dogs are simple. They like to sleep, eat, walk, and play. Here is a list of the basic essentials that you will need to have on hand as a first time dog owner:
A comfortable and durable dog bed is one of the most, if not THE most, important item to have before bringing your new dog home! Dogs crave a space of their own where they can feel safe and secure. They also like to sleep a lot, so make sure you identify a bed that will suit their style and needs.
Good nutrition is a key factor in being a responsible dog owner, so you will need durable and easy to clean dog bowls to keep fido fed and watered!
Having a durable and sturdy dog leash is important for both the safety and enjoyment of walks! And pack some extra patience on the first few walks as your dog may be getting used to that as well!
Whether you are a first time dog owner of an adult dog or puppy, all dogs like to play with toys! A great way to bond quickly with your new fur friend is through interactive play! So be sure to have a few chew toys and balls on hand to quickly enhance that activity!
First time dog owners experience something that pet parents all over the world know all too well – pure, unconditional love! While it requires work, time, and plenty of patience, owning a dog is one of the greatest joys in life! The fact that you have found yourself here – gaining insight and information – is an excellent indicator that you are already going to be an amazing pet parent!
This entry was posted in Dogs