Beginner Tips for Dog Owners

Getting a dog is a decision for life – at least for a long period of time, which can easily last 18 years. You should carefully consider beforehand whether you want to and can take on this responsibility. Here are a few tips for getting started!

The perfect home

Dogs cannot be kept everywhere. It is ideal if he does not have to live in a small apartment, but has plenty of room to run around and a garden. But of course there is also the possibility to keep a dog happy in a flat. You should clarify in advance whether your landlord allows this. You should also choose a breed that does not bark so often and loudly – otherwise you will quickly get into trouble with the neighbor. Furthermore, it should be clarified who takes care of the dog and when, so that the dog does not have to be alone all day. Dogs that are keen on exercise and sports are perfect for life in the country. The best thing to do is to ask breeders about the respective requirements and characteristics of the individual breeds.

Welcome, dog!

Once you have decided on a dog, you should know one thing: Dogs are pack animals – they need a lot of company. Unlike many small animals, dogs do not necessarily need a companion to be happy. Humans are also accepted as part of the pack and as true friends. From the beginning you should spend a lot of time with your four-legged friend and educate him. Mostly it takes several weeks until your dog has learned that he has to do his business outside. Experienced dog owners can often train their dog on their own, for beginners it is really important to attend a dog school. In many places there is now also the dog-handler’s license, which masters and mistresses must take at the beginning. For many dogs it is a great pleasure to play with other dogs in the park. Maybe you can find other nice four-legged friends in your neighborhood with whom you can do something?

Keep an eye on costs

Right at the beginning you should get an overview of the costs for your new roommate. Which insurances are necessary? How much do you need monthly for food and equipment? Your local authority can tell you how much dog tax you have to pay annually for your four-legged friend. Be sure to set aside some money: visits to the vet are not exactly cheap.

You are going to need a lot of things, like a good dog bed or a house. Check top lists of dog products for that and don’t trade quality for lower prices – because you’ll have to replace products more often if they have lower quality and end up spending more.

Getting started with the common everyday life

With the arrival of the dog everything is new. It takes time for the new family to grow together and find a common everyday life. You make it easier for your dog and yourself if you try to incorporate fixed rituals and procedures into the day. Fixed sleeping and feeding places in the apartment provide orientation. Introduce fixed times for daily walks. In the beginning it also helps if you don’t always change rounds, but rather follow familiar paths again and again. Later on, when your four-legged friend has settled in, you can vary – this makes it more fun and encourages his spirit of discovery.

Explore the surroundings

Already in the first few days you will discover your surroundings in a completely new way: Which neighbor likes dogs? Who is afraid of them? Where do other dogs live and how well do you get along with them? At which places on the daily walk does it become dangerous for your quadruped? Step by step you will perceive your environment from the perspective of a dog owner. The better you get to know your dog, the sooner you will know when to keep the leash a little shorter. Take your time for this round of introductions – it’s best if the whole family doesn’t take turns with your four-legged friend immediately, but if he has a permanent reference person. This person can then quickly estimate when your dog is ready to go out with the others.

Do dogs have feelings?

What does a dog actually feel?

 Actually, I’ve wanted to write the blog article about ‘Do dogs have feelings?’ that’s been floating around in my head for a long time.

Of course, I already answered this question in the pre-Sophie era, but more in the direction of ‘dog is afraid/ is happy/feels lonely/ has fun’.

Since Sophie adopted us as leash bearer, I can only laugh about this limited view. Sophie has – pity. She feels and she suffers with us. No matter if it’s with other furry noses or with superhero lords and me. And at the moment there is a lot to feel and pity for Sophie.

For myself, the working day hasn’t changed at all, let alone the holidays, as some people call it cynically. Seven days a week I sit at my laptop for more or less long hours, desperately trying to revise my latest book for the ‘now but really’ last time. Yes, it’s not so easy to write a really smart thriller. In the meantime I don’t know who the culprit is anymore … 🙂

No, joking aside, the book is really heavy on my stomach, and every day that passes by makes me even more nervous. And then there’s the little dog blog, which is really a matter of the heart for me, and which deserves many more articles and photos.

Everything is different than before, definitely.

The pandemic, especially the lockdown, is restricting us all. What until a few weeks ago was a matter of course has now moved into the distant future. Instead, there is emptiness in our minds – roughly the same emptiness as in the toilet paper, flour and yeast shelves in the supermarket, which we enter with disposable gloves and a lousy feeling if possible only every week and a half.

On the other side it is quiet outside. Unusually quiet. Today is Easter Sunday, and like the days before, the sun is laughing from an (almost) cloudless sky. Normally the streets around our village, which lead to the northern Black Forest, would be really crazy. Day-trippers with bicycle racks on the roof, motorcyclists in a rattling convoy, convertible cruisers with more or less many horsepower. But it is quiet. Hardly a car on the road, let alone a motorcycle. Actually, I am always happy to have peace and quiet, but this ghostly, abnormal mood hits me in the head.

She feels the tension and the bad mood, and she doesn’t know how to deal with it. Master and mistress are funny, with their thoughts elsewhere, discuss and argue – and Sophie gets nervous. She hardly lets us out of her sight, and she needs to be stroked. Many strokes. Many strokes … It doesn’t matter if superhero master is desperately struggling through the pitfalls of the home office or if the helicopter mistress is crashing one deadline after the other.

And she keeps it just like mistress with the current moon phase: we are gaining weight. Both of us. And we’re doing it right. In the evening, the frustrating chocolate suddenly lands on the coffee table, and Sophie begs for one treat after another – if not from us, then from her fans on the street, who want to ‘at least give the dog a little pleasure’. We are standing several metres away from them according to the regulations and are inconsistent. Why do we always hold on to everything when we don’t even know if we’ll soon be able to …

And already we postpone the appointment ‘start a diet today’ just like all the other appointments. It can’t go on like this, of course. But even the once so relaxed walks through the nature reserve have now mutated into running the gauntlet: always keep your distance … Which is a real challenge in the afternoon at the latest, because for lack of leisure alternatives many people have discovered their love of walking, jogging and cycling. Right now the weather is just like on the famous Stachus. Which is probably deserted at the moment …

Sophie doesn’t really know what to think of all this hustle and bustle. Many strange dogs on ‘her’ track – and all of them are marking what they can do. Madame of course marks eagerly against it, but at some point all squeezing doesn’t help … With clenched teeth she trots home with us, where she first of all swallows her water bowl.

And then she wanders from one ‘Reserved for Sophie’ pillow to the next in order to keep an eye on the superhero master and the helicopter mistress at the same time, even though her eyes are always closed.

Actually I am dead tired …

Sophie is currently a ‘restless spirit’ not only during the day, but also at night. I always wanted to write a contribution about the topic ‘Can the dog go to bed?’ – note to me …

I’ll spoil it a little: Yes, Sophie can go to bed with me. Like all of her somewhat questionable habits, this is one of the habits we have ‘trained’ her for. That’s why we only complain very quietly when Sophie wakes up from her dreams night after night and needs immediate physical contact with the rest of the pack. But before that, the helicopter lady has to crawl through the whole dog for at least five minutes before Madame finally closes her eyes again and the wild dreaming continues – this time somewhere directly on our backs or feet.

The little mouse has had a lot of nightmares lately, it seems. At night she works through her worries during the day and is usually fit and alert again in the morning. In contrast to superhero masters and helicopter mistresses who have to sort out their cramped muscles and bent bones first.

Well, I can also sleep at right angles. It’s all a matter of goodwill.

Does my dog pity me?

For example in the morning, when we stagger out of bed with swollen eyes and calf cramps, while she was obviously able to sleep very well for at least the second part of the night thanks to extensive social hygiene?

Nope. No trace of pity.

At least not in this situation.

She shows her compassion in a different way. When visiting, she makes sure that all four- and two-legged friends are perfectly looked after – especially if the respective four- or two-legged friend is not feeling so well. People who don’t know Sophie so well are surprised that they suddenly have a treat in front of their feet. Dog mates can be happy about a freshly sucked bone, and if they don’t like it because of all the excitement, they get Sophie’s favorite toy. Preferably the totally loved crochet ball, which is already no longer recognizable as such.

When the mood barometer points to ‘relaxation’, Sophie finally relaxes (and collects her presents again) :-). But it is an obvious concern of hers that everyone feels comfortable. She really gives comfort – to us as well. And we all need it, as I said.

By the way, last week Sophie outdid herself again. When I was finally able to get some sleep after a sleepless night, suddenly something sharp-edged, sharp-edged, sticky and damp on my arm tore me from the longed-for peace. Half asleep I felt – a dried pig’s ear. Carefully pre-chewed and thickly salivated. And Sophie stood beside the bed and smiled radiantly at me from her wildly tousled dog’s face.

No, of course I didn’t eat the ear, but gave it back to her with a big kiss on the little pig-head. After all, it’s the gesture that counts…

Thank you, darling. It’ll be all right…

So, that’s it for today, this memorably different Easter Sunday. High time for a cuddle evening together on the sofa. Since the lock down situation is spreading fear and worries everywhere, it’s even more important to remember the essential things in life – and these have a lot to do with feelings at the moment, don’t you think?

I wish you and your pelt-nose that you get through this special time well and above all healthy. There will also be other, better times, for sure! In this sense, take care of yourself – and take care of yourself AND the others …