What do I need to know when caring for new dogs?

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Answered by: Karen, An Expert in the Care for Dogs and Puppies Category
Owning a new dog, especially a puppy, is an exciting challenge. Caring for new dogs, however, can become a real challenge. They are adorable, dependent, eager to please and will love you unconditionally if cared for well. However, raising a dog can be quite similar to raising children! They both require love, discipline, encouragement and structure. Both children and your new pet dog will need an unlimited supply of patience on your part.

Dogs are very fast learners. While they don't exactly "understand English", they are fully capable of learning as many as several hundred different words. With encouragement, verbally, and in the form of tasty food incentives, you will be well on your way to effectively communicating with your new best friend.

One should never use yelling or physical punishments to train a dog. Instead, when caring for new dogs, and training them, positive reinforcement is required. Praise the dog when they exhibit the desired behavior and offer a tasty, high value treat. Soon, they will exhibit the behavior, even when the praise and treats are absent.

Your new pet is going to require more than simply your love and guidance. A good, sturdy collar and leash, food and water, and bowls for both, vaccinations, vetinarian visits, identifying tags, toys, bedding, a crate, flea treatments and treats like rawhides, dog biscuits, etc. are just a few of the minimum requirements when caring for new dogs and training them. Vaccinations typically include heartworm tests and treatments, if heartworms are discovered. The rabies vaccination is required by law and distemper and parvo shots and booster shots may be indicated as well. Your home should be safe for your new pet as puppies love to eat everything they can find nearby, and they will simply chew on many items as well. It is your responsibility as an owner to ensure not only your new dog's safety, but also the safety of anyone else your pet encounters. If your pet bites or injures someone, you probably will be held responsible, so there are many different reasons besides simply your convenience and the pets safety that proper training and supervision are required. You should also ideally have your new pet spayed or neutered and consider having them microchipped.

While a huge responsibility, a dog is an excellent companion. You should expect years of laughter, happiness and comraderie, tempered with tears, worry and some degree of annoyance as well. Dogs look to you, their human guide to set healthy boundaries, train them , preferably with the additional help of obedience/training classes and someone to keep them safely out of harm's way. Simple commands like "sit", "stay", "down" and "come" are essential to training new dogs and are required learning. This is because they protect your pets' well-being, and are not simply commands meant to please their human counterparts. If your pet escapes your home, or runs into traffic, for example, and will not come to you when ordered to do so, their very life could be in danger as a result.

Good luck with your new furry companion! They represent a new chapter in your life full of love and life! Remember that your new pet is always learning from its environment, and from you, the owner. Don't encourage or allow bad behavior from your pet. Act with assertiveness and confidence around your pet because they should respect and obey you and see you as their master, not their minion! You need to be the dogs respected superior, so that they will listen when you issue commands and respond appropriately to your guidance. You will find this experience, training new dogs to be among the most fulfilling things you will ever experience in life.

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