14 Things New Dog Owners Should Know
Nothing will bring you more pleasure in life than owning a dog. But owning a dog is more responsibility than most people initially realize. Too many dogs are given to shelters every year simply because their owners didn't expect them to be so much work. So if your a new dog owner, or if your contemplating getting a dog there are a few important things you should know.
Dogs Are Emotional
Adult dogs have the emotional maturity of an average two year old human. They get angry, sad, happy, frustrated, excited and get anxiety just like us humans. It’s important that you learn to read your dog’s mood. Don’t yell at your dog, this shows poor leadership on your part and in time your dog will grow to disobey you, or worse hate you. A dog will begin to disobey you when they think you're a poor leader, this is their way of challenging you for pack leadership.
Dogs Require Atleast 30 Minutes of Activity Daily
Dogs get fat because of a poor diet and a lack of activity. A healthy dog will have a slim waistline. It’s important to keep your dog’s weight in check at an early age to prevent health conditions down the road. A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise will take their energy out on you or your belongings.
Dogs Crave Leadership
Dogs are pack animals and from a young age they learn their place in your pack. Your pack is your family unit. When you introduce a dog to a home, your dog will treat everyone as his/her pack. It’s important that every member of your household shows good leadership to your new dog so they can learn their place in the pack.
Dogs Need Training and Disapline at a Young Age
Puppies are lots of work; training should be a daily ritual between you and your new dog. Young puppies get frustrated and bored easily. Start by training them 10 minutes a day and as they get older you can increase your training sessions and times. The first year of training is critical for a dog. They love to learn and they aim to please. Be patient with them.
Dogs Need Regular Trips to the Vet
Puppies need lots of shots and as they mature they require regular visits to the vet. Dog’s like to investigate and put their mouths on everything. You have to be careful what you have laying around your house. Your dog could eat something toxic and you’ll find yourself making additional trips to the vet.
Know What Dogs Are Allergic To
It’s best not to feed your dog human food unless you have a good understanding of what they are allergic to and what foods are toxic to them. There are dozens of foods we eat every day that are extremely toxic to dogs. Because so few people are aware of the full list of toxic human foods, your vet is most likely to have you avoid feeding them human food all together.
Dogs Want To Please You
Dogs don’t want to make your life miserable. Dogs aim to please you. When a dog sees you as their leader, they will obey you and go out of their way to make you happy. Dogs have the ability to sense your mood and can even tell when you're not feeling well. When you're sick, expect your dog to stand by your side.
Potty Training Takes Time and Patience
Potty training your dog takes time and patience. Puppies can only hold their bladder for a few hours at a time. After they make a trip to the water bowl, expect them to need to go out 10 minutes later. When your dog does have an accident, take them outside, even if they already did their business. It’s beneficial to initially take them to one area outside so they can begin to mark their territory. Make sure you clean up dog urine on your floors and carpets or your dog will continue to pee in that area. Vinegar is cheap and works great to clean up dog urine because it eliminates their scent.
Dogs Don't Like Being Alone
Dogs are pack animals. They want to be around others in their pack to feel safe and protected. Once you establish your pack with your dog, they may get anxiety if they are away from you too long. If your dog is going to be home for long periods of time, you may want to consider a second dog so they have part of their pack with them.
Dogs Don't Sweat, They Pant
Dogs don’t sweat like humans do. Humans sweat to lower our body temperatures. Dogs pant to lower their body temperatures. When your dog is panting, it’s an indicator they are hot. During hot summer months, never leave your dog outside exposed to warm temperatures. Never leave your dog in a hot car either, unless you want another dog owner breaking your windows to help your dog out. Provide plenty of fresh water for your dog. Cool water helps lower their body temperature.
Dogs Have Personalities
Like humans, every dog has their own personality. Don’t expect one dog to behave like another dog. They each have their own quirks and they each excel at different activities.
Different Breeds Require Different Care
Every breed of dog has different requirements. Some dogs require little grooming, while others need grooming almost daily. Some dogs prefer not being active, while others want hours of physical activity daily.
Before you get a dog, learn about the differences in breeds. Choose a breed that fits your lifestyle. If you already have a dog, do some research on your breed so see what they were bred for. For example, Labrador Retrievers, which are the most popular breed in the U.S. were originally bred in Canada to be hunting water dogs. This is why Labs have webbed feet and love playing fetch.
It's important to understand what activities your dog was bred for so you can engage in activities that fulfill their instinctual desires.
Dogs Require Special Care
Unlike cats, dogs don’t clean or groom themselves. That is your responsibility as a good dog owner. Dental hygiene is also very important for dogs. From an early age, you should brush your dog’s teeth, bathe them on a regular basis, clean their ears and have their nails trimmed routinely.
Dogs Need Lots of Socialization
Because dogs are pack animals, they need to be around lots of other dogs and humans. Socializing your dog is a process where you introduce your dog to other humans and dogs. This process is important in a dogs development because it promotes a healthy temperament.
While it's true dogs require a great deal of attention, they also bring you a great deal of joy. Dogs are incredibly loyal animals. Owning a dog is a privilege. Show your dog the love they deserve and return you will receive a never ending supply of unconditional love.