Living with a puppy can be great fun, but it is also a great responsibility too! It is also a bit like being a human parent, in that the experience is different for everyone, and how everyone approaches it will be rather different from case to case as well.
However, regardless of how puppy ownership looks for you and how you choose to go about it, all puppy parents need a few core skills, which can be learned and developed, but that you need to have the basics for in place before you bring your new pup home.
With this in mind, this article will tell you about five essential skills that you need to master before you buy a puppy and bring them home. Read on to learn more.
Puppies are fun, entertaining and very loving, which are all good things, and having one can be very rewarding. But many first-time puppy buyers have a really rose tinted view of how puppies learn and understand things, and fail to realise that training and managing a puppy can be quite exasperating.
Whether you’re trying to teach your puppy their first command, toilet train them, or order them off the sofa for the hundredth time, consistency and patience is essential, and can be hard to find!
At times you will be tempted to lose your temper, think your pup is wilfully being a pain, or be tired and decide it’s just not worth the effort to correct a bad behaviour just that once. However, you need to draw on your reserves of patience because failing to be consistent just once can undo all of your former work, and set back your pup’s learning.
You also need to be able to teach them things calmly and consistently, even if they seem to develop selective deafness.
“Puppy dog eyes” is a phrase for a reason. The eyes of puppies are proportionately larger than those of adult dogs, and are soulful and designed to tug on the heart strings! This is an evolutionary trait to help pups to bond with their parents and owners and encourage others to care for them and treat them kindly.
They are also really effective at helping puppies (and dogs of all ages) to get their own way!
If your puppy is begging for your sandwich or trying to talk you into opening the treats jar, they will know exactly how to go about this effectively by turning on the charm.
However, giving into them when they do this does them a disservice, as you will overfeed them, feed them the wrong diet, and ultimately affect their health.
This means that all puppy owners need to learn tough love; the power to say no or stand firm when it is in the pup’s best interests, even if the pup doesn’t agree!
Common sense is essential for puppy owners, and you will have to make decisions for your puppy that you may not have an immediate frame of reference or guidance for.
You are the grown-up and the responsible party in your relationship (whether you feel like it or not!) and so you have to make and enforce the rules, and make decisions for your pup in their best interests.
For instance, feeding them the right diet, choosing the right type of toys, and puppy-proofing your house to keep them safe and entertained.
You also need to learn to keep you calm and master your own emotions where it comes to your puppy too, otherwise you do them a disservice once more. We’ve already mentioned not falling for puppy dog eyes, but you also need to know when you need to be firm and sensible; for instance if your dog is panicking due to fireworks, you might want to hug and comfort them as this distresses you.
However, to actually help your pup, you need to lead from the front and show them there is nothing to fear, by remaining business like and calm.
If you need your dog to take a pill, babying them won’t help either!
Finally, puppy ownership and dog ownership is expensive, and even if you think you’ve done all of your sums correctly, you will probably find you’re underestimating the expense to a degree.
Even if you’ve accounted for every penny you will spend, you do need to be able to budget properly for your pup, to ensure you can cover all of their costs now and in the future.
This means not only things like the cost of their food and other goods being deducted when you get paid each month, but planning ahead for vaccinations too, veterinary care and pet insurance, and perhaps putting some funds into a reserve for an emergency.