(Disclaimer- The Title of the Blog Article is ‘The Challenges Of A First Time Dog Owner’. However, it should have been entitled correctly and humanely as ‘The Challenges Of A First-time dog owner’. I believe that any individual never ‘owns’ a dog or for that matter any living being. If you are getting any pet or animal, you become a guardian or a parent, as I prefer it to be.)
- Do you walk your dog every day?
- How often do you have to feed him?
- What is the doctor’s schedule like?
- Must be pretty expensive no?
- Do you get any free time after caring for the dog?
In the past couple of years, I have been asked questions like these countless times. To be very honest, before I had a furry friend of my own, I was the one asking these questions to other pet parents.
The past few years have been quite a roller coaster ride, Shifting cities, new jobs, getting married, and becoming a new pet parent. You might say that I have been keeping pretty busy.
When I finally decided to move to my home town, I wanted to fulfill a lifelong desire- getting a dog! I have always been fascinated with them for as long as I could remember.
In this blog article, I will try to list down some of the major challenges that I faced myself when it came to being a first-time dog owner.
Deciding On The Kind Of Dog Breed You Want To Start As A First Time Dog Owner
This is quite a tough and important decision that you have to make. Most of us like to go for bigger breeds. Personally, I had always believed that I would always go for breeds like a Rottweiler, Doberman, or a German Shepherd.
However, you need to understand that there are so many considerations you have to take when deciding on a breed.
I decided to go for the cutest Labrador Retriever puppy ever. To be honest, my decision was guided in a major way about Labradors being the ideal family pet, good with children and adults alike, and requiring very little grooming.
In other words, the bigger the breed, the bigger is the levels of maintenance.
If you are thinking about being a first-time dog owner, you should ideally go for smaller to medium breeds. This is far less taxing.
You need to remember that it is not about the size of the dog that matters. It is more about whether you will be able to give it the care and attention it needs as a first-time dog owner.
5 Things To Know Before You Become A First Time Dog Owner
1. It Is A Lot Of Responsibility
How difficult can raise a puppy be right? Well to be honest it takes a lot of time, energy, effort, care, and attention! If you are under the impression that you do not need to be responsible, think again.
Caring for a small puppy, his or her food habits, vaccines, and exercises call for a lot of responsibility. For many, this is the biggest challenge of a first-time dog owner. In some ways, this is comparable to raising a human child. If you are not ready to be a very hands-on, 24×7 dog parent, you should think twice about getting a dog.
2. You Need To Budget In The Costs
Raising a puppy or having a dog is not a very easy proposition financially. When the puppy is young, you will have to spend more money in terms of its vaccines, puppy food, cleaning equipment (they poop and pee everywhere!) and doctor visits, and so on.
It is true that the expenditures come down by a little bit after your puppy becomes an adult dog. However, the reduction in expenditure is quite marginal in nature. If you are not prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars extra every month, now might not be the right time to get one.
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3. Puppies Need A Lot Of Care And Concern
If you want all the cuteness minus all the problems, you are in for a rude surprise. Yes, puppies can be incredibly cute and do silly things. But they can also pee and poop multiple times a day in your house. In addition, they need strict monitoring and attention at all times.
Puppies tend to eat up anything and everything they find on the floor. Their inquisitive nature makes them smell and eat it. This is why you need to be careful of leaving things around the house, especially covering the garbage areas and bins.
4. Check To See Whether Everyone In Your Family Is On Board With Your Decision
You might love dogs, but what about your fiancée who you are getting married to in the next couple of months? It is unfortunate that many people have to give up on their pets as other family members are not favorably disposed of them.
This is why it is important that you talk to everyone in the household before you decide to add a new family member (not the fiancée, but the dog!). Almost everyone will be responsible for the new member and hence you need to ask them about their comfortability.
5. Are You Ready For A Lifetime Worth Of Commitment And Dedication?
I read a very heartening quote just a few days back on Instagram. It went like this ‘while a dog might just occupy a small duration of your lifetime, for them you occupy their entire lifetime’. A dog is going to be dependent on your left, right, and center.
From daily morning and evening walks to doctor visits, giving food, and ten other responsibilities, it is a lot of commitment. This commitment is not like going to the gym for six months or a year. It is a commitment you make for your pet’s entire lifetime!
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How To Train Yourself To Be The Best First-Time Dog Owner?
Let us assume that you have read through the article and are willing to make the commitment. You would need help and guidance to train yourself. Right? Well, in this section, we are going to ease the challenges of first-time dog owners by pointing out some great tips, that yours truly would be offering-
- Read up and do all kinds of research about the breed you are planning to get. This means knowing about their grooming needs, exercise needs, training, nutrition, and so on. The better research you do, the lesser are the chances of being blindsided by a problem that comes up unexpectedly.
- Try zeroing in on a good veterinarian in your area. As a dog parent, you need to consider the physical distance of the location of the clinic from your home. You also need to study up on the vet and see how experienced, skilled and affordable he or she really is. This is something that should be done before you get a puppy and not afterward.
- Shop the essentials prior to getting a puppy. You do not have to wait till the first time your puppy pees on the living room floor to run outside and get wet wipes. Everything from cleaning equipment, to food, medicines, and other accessories like collars, beds, etc. should be bought before you get the puppy home.
- Be patient and willing to forgive your puppy’s destructive actions. Puppies tend to chew on everything from the sofa to bed cushions, shoes, and any other kind of furniture you have in the house. While their behavior might seem to make you angry, you need to remember that they are puppies and do not understand what they are doing.
- It is also important to be prepared for your beloved puppy to fall sick. Normal puppy sicknesses include upset tummies, indigestion, fever, etc. Puppies might also experience sickness post a vaccine shot, which is quite normal. It is important to contact your vet immediately every time you feel that the puppy is not at its active best.
The Bottom Line
If you want to experience all the cuddles, snuggles, and love from your dog, you need to be prepared to put in all the effort. Being a first-time dog owner is not easy. On the contrary, it is probably one of the toughest things you will ever experience.
There might be times when you will start rethinking your decision to get a dog in the first place. Don’t feel scared or ashamed. Most of us have been there and thought about the same. The key is to give yourself some time, calm down and start all over again.
By following the pointers, tips, and challenges mentioned in the blog article, you will be in a much better position to raise the puppy. If you have any specific requests, questions or queries, feel free to shoot right away. I will be more than happy to help anxious first-time dog owners in the comments section.