Any dog owner will tell you — there’s nothing more special than a bond between a human and his/her dog. The games, the cuddling, the walks, and the way that dog becomes a part of your family is irreplaceable. But if you’re seriously considering getting a family pup, you have to be smart, too.
Bringing a furry friend into the family isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. There’s poop to be picked up, vet bills to pay, bad behavior to correct, and daily responsibilities that have to be shared between all members of the family. Don’t be discouraged, though! With a little bit of research and preparation, you can easily add a dog to your family and have that special bond you always dreamed of.
Step 1: Focus on Behavior Training
Getting a new pup may mean that a little bit of training is in order. Dogs do hundreds of behaviors from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep. Some aren’t bothersome (like playing harmlessly with toys), some are difficult (like eating our shoes), and some behaviors are just a part of everyday life (like drinking water). As owners, it’s important to reward the right behaviors.
Depending on your dog and his or her energy levels, it’s also important to find productive ways for your dog to get exercise. If you’re thinking about getting a lab puppy, for example, check out Lucky Labs and ask their experts about how much physical activity these active pups should get. This will help you to prepare a “schedule” and get your family on the same page for training.
Step 2 – Avoid Problem Areas
If you’re thinking about getting a family pup, you need to be smart about boundaries before you bring the dog home. If there are rooms or items that are off-limits, be sure to address these things before you let your dog roam freely. For example, before the dog eats your shoes, you can avoid this problem altogether by placing shoes and other items out of reach and offering bones and other chewtoys instead. Managing the environment is helpful (and necessary)!
Step 3: Limit their Privileges
This may sound harsh, but limiting privledges is a great suggestion, especially for new dog owners. Set up rules and limits on privledges from the start. For example, collect the dog’s bowl of food after 20 minutes have passed and he/she has not eaten. Gather up all his/her toys that are forgotten or broken. And ignore unwanted behavior (excluding biological needs and health reasons, of course). If your dog is acting crazy, reward him/her when calm.
You can give meaning to your new pup’s life by teaching him/her to use good behavior. You’ll be amazed at how fast your dog learns!
Step 4: Build a Relationship
It is up to you to become the most crucial element of your dog’s life. Use the above tools also consider working with a trainer who will guide you and help you solve possible problems. As you and your family get more acquainted with your dog and his/her needs, do fun things together, be supportive of the pup’s health, and invest in your time together!
Dogs offer companionship as well as many health benefits. They can help relieve stress and even allow us to fight depression! Dogs help with anxiety, and some studies have found that dogs can even help us sleep better!
Step 5: Be Patient
One of the most commonly asked questions by new dog owners or those thinking about getting a family pup is “How long will it take for my dog to bond with me?” Unfortunately, there’s no “set” answer. But as you set up your schedule, get to know your dog, and spend quality time together, the bond will come.
Your new puppy is going to be, generally, a happy little soul. Puppies have a limited range of experiences in the world and assuming all their interactions with humans were positive, they will be generally open, friendly, and approach you easily. When you take a puppy home at the age of about eight weeks or a little older, at first, he will be a bit shy and uncertain about their new life situation. Be patient! With the right handling and care, your new puppy should start to bond with you in just a few days.
Featured Image Credit: Sabina Fatila