Have you just got your first dog? They will bring so much enjoyment to your life so you’re right to be excited. But if you haven’t had a dog before then you may be tearing your hair out after a few days and wondering what you have done.
Don’t worry – they are youngsters and just need training and guidance, much like young children do. They will quickly become the loving companion you were hoping for and not the menace that they perhaps are at the moment.
Here’s some of the best advice that you need to hear when you are a first time dog owner:
Do create a routine and stick to it:
Dogs thrive off routine, so create one early on and stick to it. This includes meals and walks at the same time every day – or as close to it as possible. They also need a bedtime routine so they know, for example, when they go out for a wee and then have a treat it’s time to get into their bed and settle down for the night.
You must start training straight away:
When that cute bundle of fur is looking up at you with their puppy dog eyes – all you’ll want to do is snuggle and let them get away with everything. But, training needs to start straight away and you need to be strict with it and consistent – don’t give into those eyes, however difficult it may be. Spend some time on this everyday – starting with basic commands – and you’ll strengthen your bond too. Join a dog training class as soon as you can to help and start socialising your pup as well.
You will get there but you have to be patient and persistent:
From crate to toilet training – puppies are not going to learn the first time. Even when you think they’ve got it, you might have a bad night or an accident in the house. You need to be persistent – what you mustn’t do is give in. Crate training, for example, is beneficial for both you and your dog but if they cry at night and you take them upstairs with you – or sleep downstairs with them – they will start to expect this. All this will do is make the training take a lot longer and be much harder. You’ll both make mistakes along the way and it may take a little while but you will get there.
Restrict how much access your dog has to the home:
A gate is a great way to restrict how much access your dog has. This partly means, if there are any accidents, they are in one place. It also helps to avoid separation anxiety as they get used to being alone while still being able to see and smell that you are there. Just make sure they have everything they need in the room with them – water, toys and their bed. This isn’t a punishment – in fact, it will probably become the space they feel most safe and comfortable in.
Do your research – the information you need is out there:
Don’t try to just muddle through – the benefit of having the internet at our fingertips is that all the advice and support we need is out there. If you are having an issue with your dog you’ll find information online that will help you get through it. Does your dog bark constantly? Then you can take a look at this guide to help stop excessive barking, for example. It’s much easier than you might think and you’ll no doubt find a simple solution you hadn’t thought of.
Buy a range of toys – you’ll need them:
Toys are hugely beneficial to dogs of all ages but especially puppies. You can get mentally stimulating toys that will keep them occupied and amused for hours. You can also get chew toys that are good for their teeth and will stop them chewing on your furniture instead.
Don’t underestimate how hard it will be:
If you get a dog thinking it is going to be easy then you will be in for a shock. It will be difficult, you will have sleepless nights and lose your patience when they chew your favourite shoe or wee in the house again. But, you will get past this and it will be rewarding to watch them learn and grow. Soon, this will be a distant memory and you’ll have a well-behaved pooch that brings so many benefits to your life that you’ll quickly forgive and forget any bad behaviour early on.
Follow this advice and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of owning a dog – even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.