Getting a new dog will probably be the most rewarding thing you ever do, but it’s also a huge responsibility. It’s going to be hard work so make sure you’re ready by doing as much research as possible. The more preparation and groundwork on dogs and training tips that you can do before you bring your dog home, the better. Here’s ten things every new dog owner should definitely know as a start…
1. Think about what you will feed your dog and how much they will need as they grow so they stay at a healthy weight.
2. Socialise your dog with lots of different types of dogs early on. Puppy/dog training and socialisation classes are perfect for this. When you are walking in the street ask other owners if your dog can say ‘hello’ to passing dogs.
3. Your dog will need plenty of exercise to keep it happy and healthy. Most dogs will need one to two hours each day but check depending on your dog's breed and age.
4. Try and decide on the house rules and training plan for your dog before bringing them home and make sure all family members agree to reinforcing them in a consistent way.
5. Your dog will need treating monthly against fleas and quarterly against worms (puppies need worming more regularly). Get a tailored plan for your dog and your treatments posted to you at exactly the right time every month by subscribing to one of our dog health boxes.
6. Don’t leave your dog on their own for too long and train them to get them used to be being left. It’s recommended that four hours is the maximum amount of time dogs should be routinely left on their own for.
7. They also need to be given the opportunity to frequently urinate outdoors.
8. Your dog needs to trust you, to know that you take the responsibility and are the ‘leader’ of their pack.
9. Make sure your dog will return when called (even with distractions) before you let them off the lead for the first time. Practice recall training with a long lead or in a fenced space.
10. Training will be harder and longer than you expect (it is an ongoing process). Ignore bad behaviour, reward good behaviour and give your dog attention when they are relaxed and calm.