by Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow
Are you thinking of adopting a new dog or your first dog? Here are five important things that you should be prepared for:
1. Pick a Vet and Make an Appointment – Even though your new dog might be healthy and have all of its vaccinations, it is important that you make a visit to the vet in the first couple of weeks of owning your dog. It is important that you create a relationship with a veterinarian so that they are able to get a good baseline on your dog. This includes getting a complete weight, blood work and a health check so when your pet is examined again, they will know if there are any changes in your dog’s health.
2. Sign Up for a Training Class – It is important to build a good bond and vocabulary with your new dog, so enroll your pet in a training class to help with this. You will want the entire family to attend so they can all learn to communicate with your new four-legged family member in the same way. A basic obedience class where your dog will learn sit, down and other important commands is crucial to starting off on the right paw. Also, make sure that your training class is a reward-based class so you build a positive bond.
3. Be Prepared for Some Accidents – Even if you have been told your pet is potty trained, they are not potty trained in your house with your schedule. Be prepared for your new dog to have some accidents in the house until they learn. Make sure to take them out on a regular schedule, feed them twice a day around the same time and don’t let them roam the house. If you have trouble, you can ask the trainer how to help you.
4. Exercise – Make sure your pet gets at least one 30-minute walk per day, but preferably two. Whether they are a large dog or a small dog, not getting enough exercise will lead to behavior problems like chewing, barking and digging. It is important that they are able to get out excess energy so behavior issues don’t start.
5. Crate Train – If your dog isn’t crate trained, work with a trainer on how to crate train your dog. When you leave the house, you will want a safe, comfortable place for your new dog to stay so they can’t get into the trash and do other bad behaviors while you are gone. Once your dog settles in, you can work to keep your dog out of the crate, but the first six months would be a good target for letting them get adjusted.