Raising a pet is not always easy, especially for first-time owners. Luckily, there are a lot of tips for new dog owners that can help those who are still adjusting to having a canine around the house. Take a look at the list of the best tips below and see which ones are applicable in helping you build a better relationship with your canine friend.
Efficacious Tips for New Dog Owners
Listen to your dog
As it is with people, don’t push your dog to meet other dogs, animals, or even persons. Don’t insist that he say hello, because dogs too have to get a feel of those that they meet. Respect your dog’s wants, especially when it concerns social skills. Forcing them to socialize with those that they don’t want to can lead to bigger problems later on.
High-quality food helps
Always be mindful about everything you let your pet consume. Although many people believe that feeding their dog scraps and left-overs is okay, it is essential that dogs get the right nutrients they need, many of which are fortified into high-quality dog food. Dog diets vary by breed, so it is essential that you know what your dog needs for everyday life. The right diet could save you a lot in veterinary bills later on, so take time to learn from professionals what kind of food your dog needs to keep him happy and healthy.
Reward your dog with treats
Just because the bag says that it is loved by all dogs, it does not mean that your little companion likes it as much. Some dogs are actually very selective about their diet, and many prefer soft and chewy treats to hard and crunchy ones. Another one of the best tips for new dog owners out there is to observe what your dog likes; it is easier to discipline him when there are treats he loves on the line.
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When dog training, learn to be specific
When training your dog, remember that there is nothing wrong with telling a dog “no,” but they are less perceptive than humans, so you have to be clear about what you want and don’t want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize as well as adults do, so instead of telling him not to do something, a better alternative would be to ask him to do a specific thing. For instance, if he’s jumping around, you may want to tell him to “sit.” Tell him what to do instead of what not to do to avoid confusion.
Moreover, it is important to be consistent. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a family to raise a dog. You have to discuss with family members what commands to use so that everyone is on the same page. For instance, when asking him to get off the couch, you may use the word “off” while others are using “down,” so this could be confusing to him and will let him learn much slower than usual. Consistency is important in training.
Get what you reinforce
When your dog exhibits behavior that you don’t necessarily like, you may have to take a second thought on whether or not this has been reinforced by his previous owners or at the pound. For instance, when your dog brings you a toy and is persistent in his barking for you to throw it, you should keep yourself from doing so. Your behavior molds your dog’s behavior, and if he learns that persistence pays off in getting what he wants, he is going to run you thin until you do what he asks. So next time, just ignore his barking and ask your pet to do something else.
Know the line between bribery and reward
One of the best tips for new dog owners is to know the importance of reward. But using treats to get your dog to do what you want is often equated with bribery. If you have to use treats to get him to do what you want, then you can do so. However, you can also prefer that the interactions you have with your pet becomes a learning opportunity, so you may not want to use food very often. Reinforce behavior through praise, games, and walks—it’s one good way to strengthen your pet-human bond—but remember that he should be given a treat because of his good behavior, not be in good behavior because of a treat.
Give your dog freedom
Your pet should earn his freedom gradually. Many dog owners make a mistake of giving the new dog too much freedom too soon, and this can lead to many accidents. To avoid this, one of the most important tips for new dog owners is to close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house if you think it’s necessary. Keeping your dog tethered with a dog crate could help supervise him before you can set him off to the rest of your home.
Be affectionate with your dog
Dogs are loyal animals who love being loved by their human friend. What’s the use of all those good tips for new dog owners if you, in the first place, are not trying hard enough to get your pet closer to you. Showing affection to your dog, especially when he is doing the right thing, lets him know when he’s been good, so don’t forget to praise him as often as you can. Lastly, spend as much time as possible with your canine friend. Both of you need it.