5 Lessons They Don’t Teach You About Owning Your First Dog

For many people, owning a dog is not only a beautiful way to enjoy their first pet, but a means of completing their family unit. Many have fond memories of the dogs they grew up with, or the pooches they’ve developed relationships with over time. Dogs are not only fiercely loyal, but have vibrant and loving personalities.

That said, owning a dog is also a real responsibility. If improperly trained, dogs can misbehave at best or become dangerous at worst. As a first-time dog-owner, it’s always worth purchasing your first puppy from a verified breeder instead of opting for a shelter or rescue dog, as they may require more work to keep up with.

But you’ve likely heard all this advice before. You know to train your dog, to buy from a reliable source, and that it takes time for them to potty-train in your garden. You probably don’t need those lessons relayed to you yet again, even if you are a first-time owner.

So, let’s avoid wasting your time and instead focus on the lessons that many owners implicitly know, but rarely if ever tell new owners to consider. Without further ado, let’s go:

The Gender Does Matter

It’s important to note that yes, the gender of your dog does matter. That’s not to say your boy dog will be 100% aggressive at all times, or that your girl dog will be really good at singing, more that the differences in how you care for them are important.

For example, it’s important to remember that the general physical size of the dog will differ between genders. They may also have certain health considerations based on sex, such as the reproductive organs of a female potentially gathering a uterine infection, or a male having testicular cancer. Usually, being sprayed or neutered can help. In general, male dogs tend to be more territorial but females can be more independent and when in heat, sometimes more placid.

Of course, there are always outliers, and it’s not as if this is going to have a huge effect, as the individual personality of your dog matters. But just keep the sex you purchase in mind. For more information, visit this link.

All Breeds Can Develop Health Problems, But Some More Than Others

It’s important to be mindful of the health issues that certain dogs may have. For example, pugs tend to have real breathing issues or can struggle with their joints, because they’ve been bred into a relatively unorthodox form, as harsh as that may sound to say.

Health issues are in no way limited to pugs though, as dachshunds can suffer thanks to their long backs, labradors may suffer from eye conditions or hip and elbow dysplasia. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are wonderful dogs but are known to struggle with heart conditions.

This isn’t said to demoralize you, only to be aware that each breed may present its own problems. Thankfully, that pet would have lived anyway, and now they have such a great and attentive owner, their general standard and length of living will rise considerably. So, never doubt your role in caring for them.

Trust & Bonding May Take Time To Develop

Some people assume that their dog is going to be enamored with them from day one, and yes, sometimes that can be the case. However, each dog has his or her own personality, particularly once they develop from puppies.

So, if you’re not raising a puppy from childhood, it could be that a dog takes a little time to warm to you. It’s nothing you’re doing wrong. You’ve no doubt had mistaken impressions of people before, but you could reason your way out of it when you noticed that your fears were unfounded. Dogs won’t have that rational cognitive thought process, so simply showing you’re no threat, that you have boundaries, that you’ll give them food and warmth, will sooner or later show them that you’re one of the good guys.

Don’t worry – your dog doesn’t hate you. Dogs are mostly loyal to a fault, and so these defenses will be overcome relatively quick. It’s easy for pet owners to think they’re doing something wrong, so don’t worry, you’re likely not.

You May Need To Dog-Proof Your Home

It’s important to not only prepare space for the dog to be comfortable, but also ensure your home is properly curated for an active and enthusiastic pooch. Your dog might not know the house rules just yet, and so it’s good to place newspaper in the room they sleep in case they have an accident overnight, at least until they’re potty-trained.

You can also place protective covers on your sofas if they seem to be scratching, implement a doggy door that lets them out at the right times, or even place safety gates meant for infants at the top and bottom of the stairs to prevent them from climbing and hurting their joints, or falling and hurting their everything.

Extendable Leashes Are Helpful

Getting used to managing a dog, especially a mid-size to large dog, takes a little time. What if you’re in the park with them and they run at another dog, only to be friendly, but run nonetheless? Well, you’re likely to fly forward, especially if you’re a smaller person, and perhaps even suffer injuries.

That’s why it’s good to purchase an extendable leash that provides some give and warning as they move forward. Of course, you’ll be paying for training to ensure they don’t run away, or that they respect your authority, but in the early days then yes, it’s good to have the right equipment.

When they run on an extendable leash, then they’ll run without pulling you, and you can slowly add resistance while you get your proper footing and are able to call them and hold them back. This is just one step on the journey to care for your dog, but certainly a worthwhile step to take.

With this advice, you’re sure to get ready for all consequences of keeping a dog, not just those they tell you about.

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