Bringing a new puppy or dog home is usually joyful. If you're thinking of getting a dog for the first time, you definitely have a lot of questions. Doing your study and research before selecting a dog may help you find the perfect match, and learning how to be a responsible dog owner can allow you and your new dog to share many happy years of companionship.
Dog Owner Responsibilities
Dog ownership has many fantastic advantages, but don't buy a dog without first understanding the obligations that come with it. When you bring a dog home, whether it's a little puppy or a full-grown adult, plan on caring for it for the rest of its life. Depending on the size and type of the dog, your new companion might live for ten to fifteen years or longer. Where will you be in ten years, and what will your life be like? Before getting a new puppy, be sure you're ready for a long-term commitment.
If you're interested in a purebred dog, do some research on the breed or breeds that interest you. Aside from their appearance, what do you enjoy about those breeds? You want to select a breed that has qualities that are compatible with your personal lifestyle, space, and money. For example, various breeds have distinct energy levels and activity needs. Do you want a dog to join you on your daily jogs or weekend hikes? Or would you rather have a laid-back partner to hang out with at home? Consider a breed's shedding patterns, grooming needs, trainability, and temperament.
Picking Between Puppy or Adult?
Most people consider getting a puppy but do not rule out adopting an adult dog. Puppies are cute, but they are a tremendous amount of work. They require intensive socialization and training throughout their first year of life in order to mature into confident, well-behaved adult canines. Potty training may sometimes be difficult, especially for some breeds. Furthermore, it might be impossible to predict how a puppy will grow up to appear and act, especially with mixed breeds. When you're staring at a little puppy, you can only guess about its mature size, activity level, coat type, and disposition.
Adopting an older dog is frequently simpler. Many individuals are already housebroken and may have had some rudimentary obedience training. In terms of size, energy level, coat, and personality, what you see is what you get with mature dogs. Adults may be as lovely, caring, and entertaining as their younger counterparts.
Where Can You Get a New Dog?
When it comes to adding a new dog to the family, you have two major options: purchasing a puppy from a breeder or adopting a puppy or adult dog from either an animal shelter or rescue group.
Getting A Dog From A Breeder
If you want a purebred dog, buying from a respectable breeder is your best bet. Purchasing a purebred dog online is dangerous because many puppies offered online come from puppy traders or puppy mills. These puppies are often ill-bred and may have health or behavioral difficulties. A reputable breeder, on the other hand, is concerned about the health of their dogs and puppies. Such breeders do not sell puppies with the click of a mouse. They want to speak with puppy buyers so they know their puppies are going to good homes.
The American Kennel Club, which lists genuine dog breeders in good standing on its website, is a wonderful place to start looking for a breeder. If at all feasible, try to find a breeder within a reasonable distance so you may see their mature dogs. Puppy shoppers are advised to interview breeders in order to find evidence of appropriate breeding and healthy puppies. Some characteristics to look for in a trustworthy breeder include:
- Participates in aesthetic dog shows or performance activities with their dogs
- Performs breed-specific health tests on mature dogs before breeding them and will present you the results.
- Provides health assurance for the pups
- Breeds for health and disposition
- Breeds a small number of litters every year (puppies are not always available)
- Allows each female dog to have one litter every year
- Keeps the puppies with their mother and siblings until they are at least 8 weeks old (12 weeks for toy breeds)
Adopting From A Rescue Organization
If you desire a mixed-breed puppy or an adult purebred or mixed-breed dog, your local animal shelter or rescue group will have numerous animals waiting for new homes. Puppies are regularly available, but you may not know much about the parents. Breed-specific rescue organizations can help you identify purebred dogs, although popular breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers can also be found in shelters. Adopting a dog might make you feel especially good since you are saving a life and assisting in the reduction of homeless pet overpopulation.
Bringing Your New Dog Home
It's time to bring your new puppy or dog home once you've chosen it. It is strongly encouraged and frequently required in a breeder's contract, to take your new puppy or adult dog to a veterinarian for a wellness checkup within the first three days of ownership. Follow these tried-and-true recommendations to make your pet's move to its new home as easy as possible. Allow your dog to explore at its own speed, make interactions calm and friendly, and allow your pup to be alone time to nap and relax, either in a cage or a soft couch in the corner of the family room, on a regular basis.
Whether you bring home a newborn puppy or an older adult dog, it may take a few days or even several weeks for your new dog to adjust to its new surroundings and feel at ease with you and your family. Don't be concerned if it takes some time for your new puppy to warm up to you—it will happen eventually! You may be tempted to bring all of your friends, family, and neighbors over to see your new puppy, but don't do it too soon. A large gathering of people might be intimidating for a dog that is unfamiliar with you or your house. Limit your guests to one or two at a time until your dog feels more at ease.
Making a schedule for your dog will help them adapt faster. A dog finds it comfortable to know what to expect each day. Serve meals at the same time each day, go for daily walks or other outside excursions, and organize brief exercise sessions. Also, express and enforce home rules clearly and gently (for example, no dogs on the sofa), and lavishly praise and treat your dog for doing the right thing.
If your new dog appears to be suffering from significant fear or anxiety, or if it remains uneasy many weeks after you bring it home, consult your vet about anti-anxiety medications, behavioral training, or other recommendations to help your dog relax.