When you bring a new fur baby into your home, lots of questions can start coming up real quick. What is the best way to handle him? What form of discipline should you use? How often should you take him to the vet? What is okay for him to eat? Especially if you’re a first time doggy parent, it can be hard to know what the dos and don’ts of dog parenting are.
We’re here to help!
When you bring your fur baby home, the game of trial and error begins as you start to gauge your pup’s personality and behavioral traits. You also start learning how to communicate with him and how he tries to communicate with you.
Dogs are very intelligent and more often than not, there are some things you can choose to do that may seem okay, but can actually come across completely wrong to your dog. Your dog depends on you to take care of him and direct him. You never want to break that trust, especially during the first phases of your puppy parenthood.
Here is a list of things you should definitely NOT do to your dog, especially when he’s new to the family:
#1. Don’t Neglect Medical Care
Taking your dog to the vet regularly can help ensure that he is up to date on all his shots, that his health is good and that his dental care is on point. An annual visit to the vet is recommended. Be sure to also be on the lookout for any odd behavior or symptoms that may indicate injury or a medical condition – if this ends up being the case, more frequent vet visits may be necessary.
#2. Don’t Use Physical Punishment
Physical punishment for your dog not only can cause your dog harm, but also teaches him to fear you, rather than respect you. Dogs also don’t have a concept of time. A mistake they made several hours ago will be forgotten soon after it happened and will not be what’s on your dog’s mind when you finally discover the accident and come give him a spanking. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement tactics for good behavior. Try rewarding good behavior with gold level treats and redirecting them from unwanted behaviors.
#3. Don’t Let Them Eat Just Anything
Most people know that chocolate isn’t good for dogs, but are you aware of all the other foods and plants that can be potentially harmful to them? Azaleas, alcohol, wild mushrooms, avocados, tulips, grapes, macadamia nuts, tomato plants and more are all on the list of things you should never let your dog eat. Even before you bring your fur baby home, do some research to make sure you know what should never be given to your dog as a snack. It’s also important to know what you CAN feed your growing ball of fluff. Most people resort to a generic kibble food found in your pet store. But because of all the chemicals and additives in these dog foods, it can cause more harm than actual nutrition. Maybe think about a raw food option instead!
#4. Don’t Take Puppies And Untrained Dogs To Dog Parks
Taking puppies and untrained dogs to dog parks can lead to either your dog getting picked on and bullied, or your dog growing into a bully, or even both. Once your dog is trained, dog parks can be a fun endeavor, but at the beginning of your puppy parenthood phase, dog parks should be kept out of the picture. Dog parks can also be risky for your dog’s health if they aren’t up to date on shots yet and properly socialized.
If you choose to use a harness on your dog, be sure to take it off after walks and outings before you let your dog roam around the yard on his own or play around the house. Leaving the harness on can ultimately become a safety hazard for your dog as it can get caught on things or in his jaw. If they encounter another dog, it can also become an unfair disadvantage for your dog and lead to them getting hurt during doggy roughhousing.
#6. Don’t Punish For Indoor Accidents
Similar to why physical punishment isn’t a good idea to use on your dog, punishment through yelling, rubbing his nose in the accident, or other forms of physical punishment when he has an accident in the house can actually cultivate fear and anxiety in your dog. Instead, you should focus on using positive reinforcement when your dog performs good behavior and goes potty outside or in appropriate places, etc. This helps guide them and also helps them learn more quickly what’s expected of them.
#7. Don’t Skimp On Stimulation
How would you feel staying in the same spot all day for hours or even days on end, without any physical activity or mental stimulation? You might go a little crazy, right? The same goes for your dog. Dogs need physical exercise and playtime every day and shouldn’t be left in crates and enclosed spaces for long periods at a time. Make sure you know your fur baby’s exercise needs and make it a priority in his day to day routine.
Be the best pet-parent you can be!
Getting attached to and loving dogs isn’t difficult at all, but that doesn’t mean that they are easy to care for. If you are a new doggy parent, make sure you are prepared for taking care of your new pup. Or if you’re already a doggy parent and find that you have some of the habits listed above, consider changing things up a bit and trying some new techniques.
What tips or thoughts do you have about puppy parenting? Do you have any further questions about the dos and don’t of doggy parenthood that we can help answer? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you and help support you however we can!