Tips for First Time Dog Owners
It has been one year, since I got my furry pupper friend Oscar. He is a yellow Labrador retriever, super friendly and smart, but at times also quite stubborn. At the moment, he is going through puberty which means that some days, he will be the biggest troublemaker there is. On others, however, he is just the perfect and cutest good-boy out there.
Over this last year, I learnt a lot about raising a puppy and the early stages of puberty. Maybe, some of you are thinking about getting a dog or already have one and are looking for some tips and tricks to make everyone’s life easier. So here are 5 things I learned along the way. If you find this interesting and want to more, just let me know and I can do more specific posts and updates.
Always be calm and your dog will be too.
This can be so hard at times, trust me. Sometimes, you might be nervous, because you just let your little pupper off the leash for the first time, or you might be angry at them, because they just chewed off one of your shoelaces (or multiple ones, that happens, trust me). In every scenario that might present itself, always try and be as calm as possible. If you have to tell them off, do so, but be calm and determined, instead screaming at them. Your dog will adopt your behaviour as you are their role model. And also, they go along a lot better with what you say when you are calm instead of being a fury.
Praising works better then telling them off.
Don’t get me wrong. When your pupper did something wrong, let them know. But do so nicely and don’t shout. However, when your dog has something in their mouth they should not be having, try encouraging them nicely to show and bring it to you. This works a lot better than yelling at them and being upset, because in that case, your dog will most likely swallow what it has in their mouth in protest to you telling them off. Same thing for when your dog won’t react to you calling them to come to you. Don’t get angry at them, because chances are they won’t this way. If you are, however, calling them nicely, making yourself interesting by showing them a treat are showing them you want to play, they will come a lot easier. And when they finally come to you, make sure to praise them and tell your dog how good they did, so next time, they will do so a lot quicker.
If you allow it once, they’ll always remember.
Be consequent. This can be so hard at times, because we all know the effect those puppy eyes can have on us. However, being strict with your dog is important. I don’t support the “dogs shouldn’t be on any couch or bed”- or “dogs don’t belong in certain rooms of the house” theories. Just be clear of what you want your dog to do and what you don’t want your dog to do. If your dog is allowed on the sofa (mine is), that is absolutely fine. If you don’t, that is perfectly fine as well. Just be sure of the fact that if you let them do it once, they will always remember this and want to do it again. And to be honest, If you allow it this one time, and then suddenly don’t the other for no reason, that seems really unfair to your dog, who won’t be able to understand your change of mind.
Less training is more training.
Training with your dog is important. They should know certain commands like “sit”, “wait” and “lay down”, just for their own safety at times. Also, dogs are very smart being so they want to learn and they want to impress you. If you don’t challenge them a bit at times, they will get bored. However, it is not beneficial to train for hours and hours each day. Especially with young dogs, five to ten minutes in the morning and then again five to ten minutes in the afternoon is really enough. You don’t want your dog to get confused.
What to do when your dog pulls on the leash.
This one is rather specific, but something my dog still struggles with (which is also quite normal for his age). As I said, dogs are really intelligent, which means they explore a lot. So if you are walking your pupper and they want to check something out or see another dog, they will pull on the leash. This can get really annoying. What I found helps and works best is simply stopping when they start pulling. Just wait and stand there until the come to a halt as well and then continue the walk. I know, this might seem like such an annoying thing to do, but trust me, your dog will understand it quite quickly and stop pulling after 5-10 minutes of your walk. Try this exercise with them and don’t pull them back really harshly as some people do. You could seriously hurt your dog.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me directly. Also, if you want to read about other things about owning a dog, just tell me and I will write some more posts. Oh, and please let me know about tips and tricks you learned when having a dog, I would love to know.