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3 Key Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

30 April 2021

Adopting a new furry friend is one of the best feelings in the world. However, it can be quite daunting if you’ve never owned a pet before. But don’t fret! We at Urban Paws like to give as much help to new dog owners as possible.

So, here are our top three tips and tricks for how to properly choose and care for your dog if you’re a total novice.

Separation training is important for dog owners to consider

At the moment, many people are working from home due to the ongoing pandemic. One advantage of this difficult situation has been the level of contact with our pets. However, when we’re able to stop working remotely and head back into the world, our dogs may find it difficult to adapt.

It’s for this reason that we recommend separation training. Fortunately, you can do this yourself at home quite easily. Just leave your dog in a safe room with some of their favourite toys for a couple of minutes at a time. The new environment may initially be overwhelming, but letting them know that home is a safe space is essential to help them deal with separation anxiety.

Start with five minutes per day until your dog is comfortable enough to be left on their own. Pet separation anxiety can be quite traumatic for a dog, so find out more about how to deal with it here.

Which breed is right for a first-time owner?

There is no right answer to how to choose your first dog. However, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider, including exercise needs, size, shedding, and personality. First, take a look at your accommodation. All dog breeds require outdoor time, and a garden is essential, even if they only use it sparingly. Additionally, breeds like the Greyhound or Whippet will require a lot more space for a proper runaround, so you’ll need to consider that if adding a sighthound to your family.

Size is also an issue. A tiny house may not be able to accommodate a Great Dane or St Bernard without them bumping into everything, for example. Equally, you should consider that some breeds will shed more than others. Additionally, if you are allergic to dogs, you may want to consider hypoallergenic Mixed Breeds like the Cockapoo or Labradoodle.

However, personality is the most important factor. Some breeds are naturally more independent, boisterous, or prone to aggression. It is important that you do your research and find a suitable dog for a first-time pet owner. For example, Dachshunds, Cockapoos, and Pugs make much better first dogs than Siberian Huskies or Shiba Inus.

It is also important to remember how many abandoned dogs are currently living in dog shelters. Many of these dogs are Mixed Breeds, so it will be more difficult to work out their personality, shedding, etc. However, you should always try to “adopt not shop“. Saving a rescue dog’s life is fulfilling and providing they’re suitable for your accommodation, you’ll be adopting a lifelong friend.

Setting boundaries is essential for new dogs

Once you’ve adopted your new dog, boundaries must immediately be set and maintained. The difficulty with owning such adorable looking animals is we tend to want to spoil them. It is essential that no matter how big their eyes and how hard they beg, you set a structured routine and stick to it.

This means if you want to keep upstairs as a “no dog zone”, you’ve got to be strict. Equally, if you’re looking to train your dog, you must stick to regular training sessions. Finally, to keep your dog healthy, avoid feeding them leftovers and scraps under the table – no matter how tempting it might be!

Exercise is obviously essential, so keeping a regular schedule of walks and runs is an excellent way to keep your new pooch happy and healthy. First-time dog owners should always remember to walk their dogs consistently. On the plus side, it’s good for you too!

Owning your first dog can certainly be daunting. However, it’s also one of the most fulfilling, amazing experiences. Just treat them as one of the family and remember their needs. And as with anything; if in doubt, ask your fellow dog owners!

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