Learning how to adult is a process. College? Check. New job, new apartment? Check and check. Now that you’re out in the world and #adulting, the obvious next step is parenthood. Pet parenthood, that is. Being a dog mom or dad is an incredibly rewarding experience, but like so much else in life, it definitely takes some practice to get it right.
Before you bring your furry companion home, make sure you’re prepared to face the challenges of dog parenthood with these 6 essential tips:
While your medicine cabinet doesn’t have to rival a fully-stocked hospital, it’s generally a good idea to keep a few essentials for treating common human injuries on hand-- bandages, aspirin, maybe some disinfectant. When you welcome a four-legged friend into your home, you’re taking responsibility for their well being, which means you need to be prepared to handle their bumps and bruises as well.
So what pet care basics should you have on hand? A wide variety of dog wound care and first aid treatments are available to consumers. Here are our top 3:
When you see your best (human) friend, you can probably tell whether they’re having a great day, a terrible day, or something in between before they even open their mouth to say hi to you. You can tell by whether they are smiling or frowning, whether they are slouching or standing up straight, and a variety of other factors to indicate how they’re feeling.
Similarly, you can tell a lot about how your pet is feeling based on his or her body language. Reading up on canine body language will help you better understand your furry friend’s needs.
For most dogs, one long training session isn’t going to be particularly effective. You’ll want to invest in a good dog trainer who will train your pet over multiple sessions. It can get a little bit pricey to find the right person to help you train your dog, but it’s definitely worth it.
Plus, since shorter training sessions tend to be more effective, training your dog doesn’t have to be some awful, time-consuming chore. Small investments of time and energy really build up, and you’ll find that a series of shorter expert training sessions delivers great results over time.
Some people believe that being friendly and affectionate with their dog is a no-go. The thinking is that in order to show your dog that you’re the leader of the pack, you need to demonstrate your superiority by using discretion when doling out head pats and belly rubs.
In reality, this is completely unnecessary.
Building a relationship with your dog is just like building any other relationship: you get out what you give. That means that the best way to form a strong, trusting relationship with your pet is to give them positive attention. Developing this sort of rapport with your pet will make them more eager to comply with your requests than trying to assert your dominance will.
Let me preface this by pointing out that a dog’s physical activity needs are dependent on a variety of factors: breed, age, fitness level, size, etc. However, walking is a great way to get your dog (and yourself, as an added bonus) up and moving.
In addition to giving your pet some much-needed exercise and helping younger or more excitable dogs burn off some extra energy, going for walks with your dogs is an amazing opportunity to bond with your pet.
Socializing your dog is super important. It’s so important, in fact, that we’re going to say it again: socializing your dog is super important. Socializing-- or introducing your dog to new people, places, things, and experiences-- is essential to helping them interact appropriately with the world around them.
Proper socialization helps your dog feel comfortable in more situations, which reduces the stress placed on them when you do things together. It also limits the chances that your dog responds poorly when introduced to new people, other dogs, and small children.
Learning how to be a dog mom or dad takes some practice. With these tips, you’ll be ahead of the game, which means you can start enjoying a strong relationship with your dog sooner.
What do you wish you had known when you adopted your first dog? Let us know in the comments!
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