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5 Tips for First-Time Dog Parents

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BEING A DOG OWNER

Article by Kate Baxendale

Photography by Stock Images + Provided

So, you've adopted a dog for the first time. Congratulations! You've just added a wonderful companion to your family. While owning a dog is so rewarding, there are some things you should know for this partnership to go smoothly. Here are five tips for being a first-time dog parent.

1. Patience is Key

Remember, this is new for both of you. Your dog will need time to adjust to his new home and may be timid at first. Other dogs may feel right at home from the start. Be patient with your new companion and try to understand his feelings. Be gentle and reassuring.

2. Find the Right Dog Food

Feeding your dog the appropriate dog food is essential to his overall health. Ask the adoption center or breeder what type of food your dog has been eating and decide if you want to continue with that type or brand. Check with your veterinarian to see if this food meets your dog's nutritional needs.

3. Find a Good Veterinarian

Finding a veterinarian you can trust is an essential part of dog ownership. The breeder or adoption agency can usually recommend some names, or you can ask your friends and family where they take their beloved pets. It's a good idea to schedule a wellness visit for your dog soon after adoption to ensure he has no underlying health issues and that he is up to date on vaccinations and other routine medications.

4. Begin Dog Training

This is an important step in solidifying behavioral expectations with your dog. Many dogs from a shelter may already know basic commands like "sit," "stay" and "come." You'll also want to work on leash training, how to behave when guests arrive or the doorbell rings and how to alert you when he needs to go outside for a potty break.

READ MORE: How to Train a Dog

5. Prepare for Behavioral Problems

Have realistic expectations about your dog's behavior, especially at first. Problems can include simple issues like excessive barking or chewing inappropriate items. Other issues can be more serious like separation anxiety and accidents. Do your homework to prepare yourself for when things don't go as planned.

READ MORE: Common Dog Behavior Issues

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