When we got our dog Lexi three years ago she was the first dog that we had ever had. I literally knew nothing about owning a dog so I spent a long time doing research to make sure that I was prepared for making such a big change to our lives. Of course, we couldn't live without Lexi now, she is the perfect dog for our family and has settled in so well and I'm glad that I did my research and was as prepared as I could be. Lords and Labradors has some great tips for first time dog owners and I thought I would share some of my favourites from their list, as well as some of my own, so read on if you're about to bring home a little furry friend for the first time.
Research the breed
It's really important to research which breed of dog will suit your family. Some dogs are bigger and more energetic and will require more exercise and play. You need to consider if you have enough time to commit to this. Rain or shine your dog will need to be exercised outside, but the length and distance will depend upon the breed and temperment.
If you have children you will want to research which dogs have gentle temperments. Of course you won't want to leave your dog and children along at all but going for a breed that has a reputation of being better with children is a good idea.
There are also quite a few breeds available now that are hypoallergenic, so these are a great choice if you are sensitive or allergic to pet hair.
Book Puppy Training Classes
I can't stress enough how important it is to train your dog and to start doing this straight away. Dogs are really intelligent and they respond so well to training and setting boundaries. If you start training from the beginning it will make your life much easier than trying to stamp out bad habits. Have a look into local classes and get recommendations from friends with dogs.
It's also important to consider doing some separation training at home. At the moment when we are spending so much time at home your puppy will get used to having everyone around all the time. Separation training will be important for when life gets back to normal and they need to spend a little time on their own. You can try to put them into a different room for short periods of time, gradually increasing it until they are happy to be left for a short time.
Stock up on essential gear for your new dog
There are a few bit that you will need to have ready for when your puppy comes home. It will need a bed, blanket, food, food and water bowls, lead, harness, puppy training pads, dog shampoo, toothbrush and dog toothpaste, brush and training treats. We got a crate for crate training too. Make a list of things that you will need and make sure that you have them all ready for when you pick up your new pet.
Have your pet insured
Your new dog will be part of your family from the minute you get them and you will want to make sure that they are well cared for. Vet bills can be really expensive so it is worth getting the best insurance that you can afford from the beginning to prepare for any unexpected illnesses or injuries.
Enjoy every minute
Like I said, the minute your pet comes home they will be part of your family, you will have so much fun, so many wonderful memories, enjoy every minute of it, it's such a lovely time.
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