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6 Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

by Gloria Louden
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Deciding to have a dog for the first time can be very exciting, but it is also a big responsibility. While all dogs may deserve a home, not every dog is perfect for you.

To make sure you find the right canine for your household, there are several things to think about before spending all your cash on smart dog toys and tasty treats for training. While there are undoubtedly good times ahead with the right planning, following these tips can help you ensure that you not only choose the right dog but also that you are ready.

1. Do Your Research

With so many breeds out there, doing your research matters. Different dogs have different temperaments and factors such as children, home size and lifestyle can make a big difference in the breed that is best for you. In addition, pure breed dogs are definitely not the only canines in need of homes. Be sure to check out the furry friends at your local animal shelter, too.

2. Prepare Your Home

After deciding on a dog, the next this to do is to prepare your home. Take a look around your living space and ask yourself what a dog might chew, eat or destroy whenever it becomes restless or you are at work. Because this is your first time having a dog, it can be helpful to talk to other dog owners for advice on how they prepped their homes.

3. Choose High-Quality Food

You may think all dog foods are the same, but that is not the case. When choosing dog food, be sure to read the label and if possible, look for ingredients that are good for your dog’s teeth, fur and overall health. Keep in mind, some dogs also have special dietary needs. This is especially true for older dogs who come from a shelter. If you are unsure, ask a veterinarian for his or her input.

4. Find a Veterinarian

Speaking of veterinarians, this is something else you need to think about. Soon after bringing your new dog home, you should take your furry friend to a local veterinarian who can perform a comprehensive health assessment and give any necessary vaccinations. In most states, there are laws that require all dogs to be current on vaccinations such as rabies.

5. Learn How To Communicate

Dogs are similar to humans in the fact that they have different communication needs and preferences. If you want to form a close bond with your dog, it can be helpful to learn how to communicate in a way that dogs understand. From giving commands to being affectionate, there are numerous ways that you can interact with your dog to bring you closer together.

6. Prepare for Setbacks

At the end of the day, owning a dog requires a lot of patience. Even with the best efforts to train, there are always going to be some setbacks and disappointments along the way. Preparing for these times with a positive attitude can make having a dog much more enjoyable.

Although dogs are man’s best friend, that friendship works best with some effort from the human side, too. Use these tips for guidance.

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