How I Became a Better Dog Owner
Being a responsible first-time dog owner is important and necessary if you want your dog to live to their full "potential".
Our understanding of dogs and their inner world is continuously expanding and improving, so, even if you were an expert in puppy-raising, there are always new things to learn to make your dog live an even happier life.
When I adopted Lenni back in 2020, I had no idea about the different things that I would have to change and readapt in order for him to feel safe and loved.
After lots of reading and practice, I finally managed to summarise what ended up helping me the most in understanding my Fluffy Friend.
I was able to assure that his needs were being met while integrating them into my daily life.
Of course, this is no easy task!
In this blog post, I'll give you 5 helpful tips that will help you become the best pet parent that you can be regarding multiple day-to-day situations.
Are you ready?
Here we go!
1. Think, then adopt
Before bringing your Fluffy Friend home, new dog owners should do some research on the type of dog that they want to get first.
Think about your daily routine and your lifestyle, and try to find a dog breed that best suits you.
If you live with family members, you would need to think about how your new puppy will adjust to new people.
Of course, you might also need to ask your family members if they are willing to welcome a new canine companion into your household.
With these in mind, developing a close relationship with your doggie will be much easier in the long run.
A rather active dog can be a good match for you if you're really active as well and spend a lot of time outside.
In the case that you’re less active, there are also lots of breeds that are known for being less sporty and don't require a lot of physical activity, such as the English bulldog, the Pug, the Maltese…
It’s very common to blame pet dogs for certain behaviours instead of realising that it was our mistake for not understanding the breed or what they actually need.
Remember that you’re making a long-term commitment when you choose your pet and that learning about your dog and his special requirements is a responsibility we have as pet owners.
Before getting household pets, a good dog owner should be familiar with how much physical exercise, grooming, and outside time they require.
2. Invest your time in building a healthy bond
We have a sweet spot in our hearts for our Fluffy Friends.
Pets and people have developed over time in ways that are mutually beneficial.
Basically, every time you pet your dog, your brain releases all the happy hormones!
That’s why our second tip is to invest some of your time every day to connect with your dog.
Discover your pet's needs and how they want to be treated.
For example, some dogs want to be picked up or carried in particular ways, some others, not at all.
While holding your Fluffy Friend, pay attention to his body language.
He probably appreciates what you're doing if he appears at ease.
If your dog tenses up, flees the area, behaves aggressively, and starts panting or looking at you as if he’s uncomfortable, you might have done something that’s not appreciated at that moment.
Try to watch out for these signs and understand what he’s trying to communicate to you.
This way, your new best friend will feel safe, understood, trusted and cared for.
3. Recognize anxiety and learn to treat it
It may be challenging even for the best dog owners to recognize the signs of a troubled pet.
Cortisol, the hormone associated with aggressive reactions, is elevated in stressed animals.
Excessive licking or yawning, trembling, eye clenching or panting would be the signs to watch out for in your doggie’s behaviour.
Getting rid of your dog’s anxiety is the way to go when it comes to reducing stress.
There are several techniques that a good owner could implement to help your doggie feel relaxed.
For example, if you’re going to be gone for a long period of time or have a busy schedule, see to it that your pet is taken care of.
You can leave the care of your dog to a pet sitter, a doggy daycare, veterinary care, or a trusted family member who already has a strong bond with your pet.
Additionally, pheromone sprays, automated treat dispensers, pet-friendly TV channels, chewing toys can keep your pet relaxed and occupied during your absence.
Basically, your Fluffy Friend will feel less anxious about circumstances outside their control with less stimulation received from the outside world.
The best thing to do is to make sure your dog has his own safe space at home where he can unwind and be comfortable on his own.
4. Visit the vet regularly
Of course, we’re not saying that you should go to the vet every time some minor inconvenience happens, but it’s very important to keep your vet appointments.
Normally, if your dog is generally healthy, has no health issues, and doesn’t need medical care, it’s enough to go to the vet once a year for a check-up.
Sometimes, depending on the breed and the circumstances, you might have to neuter your dog.
As a good pet owner, this is a tough decision, so make sure your vet informs you about the process.
Not every dog needs to be neutered, not even all males, as people often think.
As we say, every dog is different!
You might also want to consider getting pet insurance to lessen the cost of vet dog care.
The most important thing is to analyse your particular situation and be thoroughly informed before making a decision.
5. Socialise your Fluffy Friend
While some breeds have a tougher time interacting with others, dogs are naturally social beings, just like us!
First, make sure that you meet with other dogs on a neutral site where no one feels threatened.
When dogs are brought to a new home where there might be another dog, there could be some territorial fights.
The ideal place to organise dog meetings is, for example, a dog park.
There, you will most probably find other dogs that are already used to interacting with other dogs, which will make it easier for your Fluffy Friend to learn to socialise.
If you notice any signs of aggression in your dog towards others, you might want to train with him first.
Anyone who has ever owned a dog is likely already aware of one basic fact: owning a dog is different from owning a cat or any other animal.
Dogs require more care and work than other pets in almost every manner!
Of course, there are thousands of things that a good dog parent will have to change and adapt once your doggie gets home.
With these 5 tips and best practices, I wanted to give you a brief introduction to the most important aspects, based on what I found out over time.
Make a list and do some research before getting a new Fluffy Friend
Take the time to connect with your new pet and strengthen the bond
Watch out for anxiety signs and, if given, learn to treat them
Make sure you don’t miss any appointments with the vet
Let your doggie socialise with other breeds of dogs and/or pets
Do you struggle when it comes to understanding your Fluffy Friend?
What helped you manage the situation at home?
As a fellow dog lover, I would love to know your thoughts on this subject!
Write in the comments below how you communicate with your pooch, so that we can all learn from each other!
For now, I advise you to…
… stay Fluffy ;)
Your MrFluffyFriend Team
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Words from our author
As a pet owner, I often found myself in a very frustrating situation: going to the internet and finding multiple unhelpful and redundant articles about the care and training of pets.
My mission is to create a community blog where you can find all types of information, training tips and tricks, focusing on natural and organic ways of pet-owning and training.
Understanding your pet is like understanding a whole new world - and I want us to discover it together!