Whether you adopt a dog in a spur-of-the-moment decision or carefully calculate the pros and cons, the moment your new pup comes home will be the moment that the reality of becoming a dog owner sets in. No matter how much you’ve prepared, the weight of the responsibility may hit you all at once and overwhelm you. Don’t stress out over the early days of pet ownership—use these beginner tips for first-time dog owners to soothe your mind and prepare you for the incredible days ahead.
Pick Out a Vet Before You Adopt
When you’re in the planning state of dog adoption, one thing you must consider is the veterinarian that you’ll trust to keep your dog healthy throughout its life. Research reviews and credibility and see if you can plan a visit before settling for your go-to doctor. You’ll likely need to visit them soon after you adopt your new pal for vaccinations and to spay or neuter your new dog—especially if you’re adopting a puppy.
Some pet rescue organizations will require you to list a chosen vet in the adoption contract and may also require a vet visit within a time limit after adoption. Always read the contract in full before bringing your dog home.
Watch Your Emotions
Your dog will be extremely sensitive to its environment during the first few weeks of living with you. While disciplining dogs is an important task, avoid tense emotions or shouting—anything that can scare your dog may make it harder for it to adjust to its new home. Most discipline works just fine with a stern tone and time in its kennel rather than yelling.
Keep your emotions in check when doing activities that frustrate you or when interacting with other people. Dogs may scare at expressions of anger, even if you’re not mad at it.
Have a Plan for Where the Dog Goes When You’re Away
Everyone needs a vacation once in a while—even pet owners. Dogs need constant care, which makes it challenging to find care when you decide to leave town for a few days. Start by asking friends and family if they’d be open to dog-sitting during a vacation. If that’s not an option, look for pet-sitter services and dog boarders in your area.
Kennel-free dog boarding will give your dog plenty of time to socialize and play when you’re away, essentially providing it with a vacation of its own. Learn everything you can about the dog boarding services in your area, and find the one that would best fit your pup before the panic of vacation preparation settles in.
These three beginner tips for first-time dog owners primarily focus on planning ahead and staying cool under pressure. Create a healthy environment for your new dog, and you’ll be ready to handle any situation as your bond with each other tightens.